Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo begins TODAY!

NaNoWriMo begins today and I was most pleasantly surprised to see some of my all time favorite tech folks participate in it as well. I cranked out about 1500 words at lunch time as Collie was chattering away and I really need to concentrate on my resume this afternoon.

I'm excited for this year though! Hopefully, I'll finish up a story Collie's been begging to get done. I've yet to submit my info for my book this year, but will hopefully get to it tonight. And my region is having a LOCAL event this year! Even better! Yep, I get to go write with a bunch of writing "geeks" at the local B&N this year. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looking for Tools...found the inspiration

Since I'm new to this whole writing deal, I'm behind the curve when it comes to tools. I've used a variety of computerized tools to track changes and manage project notes for software development, but none of those tools are really what I need to manage all my writing "stuff". So I'm on the search, and wondering if perhaps I should develop one of my own.

Here's my dilemma: today's weather's been wild, keeping me home for the day, with a painful head and running brain. I had lots of inspiration today as a result, and this brought about an entirely new story line for one of my characters which I jotted down on one of my mini computers for future reference. The problem with this is that I have lots of these little "virtual" post it notes on a variety of devices, including my BlackBerry (which I can't live without now). I also have some hand written notes in a variety of little notebooks, none of which I hope to be able to decipher 100%. I used to practice writing like a doctor - on purpose - and now my handwriting is almost illegible. At least I succeeded at something.

I found an nice online tool (free of course!) which I use to keep track of the who/when/why I send a letter to an agent or publisher. And while that's nice and readily available from "anywhere", when inspiration strikes I can't ensure that I'll have either 1) an internet connection and 2) a device capable of making such a connection readily available.

The old Microsoft briefcase came to mind, but that's not supported on all versions of Windows, and the open source iFolder project is a possibility with some custom programming, but nothing "out of the box" quite suits my needs. So I have to wonder "What do other writers do?".

I'd go to my old standby method of harassing MaryJanice Davidson and her assistant Tracy, but they're busy with a book tour and new announcements, so I hate to pester them right now. I might go the route of bugging Monica Ferris again (she's always a doll and answers me), but I'd really love to know from the folks in the trenches who also have a day job as to how they keep track of their various notes and story ideas.

Anyone have any suggestions? And of course all of this is hitting as NaNoWriMo rapidly approaches. Monday! NaNoWriMo starts next Monday already! And I've yet to focus on which character's going to win for this round.

Monday, October 18, 2010

An Odd Duck

Okay, so I'll heartily admit I'm an "Odd Duck" in more ways than one. Even the vast differences of my 3 main characters makes that obvious. But I'm feeling it more than ever now at the job I currently have (the thing that actually pays the bills) and am still - very impatiently - waiting to hear the news of who stays and who goes in our latest round of layoffs. I'm a pro at layoffs and fully expect to be one of the folks sent off to join the unemployment lines, but the fact that I'm the only one who appears to be concerned about it certainly singles me out even more.

And then there's the upcoming NaNoWriMo decisions that need to be made. Do I tackle Jess' book editing for this, or do I work on Collie, or even better do I work on Merie's story - which is most certainly the most controversial of the three series, even though it's the most fun to write. I'm beginning to feel at bit like MJD's latest book's primary character as I'm rather scattered to the winds at the moment.

PubIt! Barnes & Noble's electronic publishing is looking very attractive. I'm having a bit of trouble focusing on getting through all the legalese though and I spent absolutely no time on it this past weekend, so I'm hoping to get through it sometime this week so I can give you all a synopsis of what it's all about, who keeps the publishing rights vs. who keeps the copyrights and any other pertinent stuff. I am a bit boggled about the cover art though as I can't draw worth a damn even though I can picture it in my head. I'll have to shelf that for the time being though as I deal with the dueling personalities that are demanding I put "their" book first and use that for NaNoWriMo.

I wonder, has anyone else ever tackled more than one book in a single NaNoWriMo? This multiple characters thing is just so chaotic! It must be Alzheimer's or dementia kicking in just has to be!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Researching self publishing via B&N's PubIt!

I've been playing around with the idea of selling my book electronically for some time now. And I just found out about the Barnes & Noble's PubIt! service. Basically, you write and edit your book, get some cover art made up (wonder if I can convince the aunt to do something for free?) and upload the entire shebang to the PubIt! service at Barnes & Noble.

They have their own pricing scheme for which the majority of books will fall in the "we get 65%, you get 35%" category. The other category is they get 40% of the take. Not sure how they worked all that out or if that's kind of "standard", but it is an option to not having an agent. They'll even accept short stores, which may be where I start at...if I do this at all.

There are restrictions (of course) on what is acceptable material, and sad to say MaryJanice Davidson's Betsy series wouldn't make the cut as they would consider it "pornographic" in nature (due to the number of times Betsy gets graphically laid). I think Jess will fit into their requirements okay, but I still have to wade through all of the legalese and FAQs on the site before submitting anything.

And I'm not sure how the copyrights will work either and that's the stuff I'm the most concerned about. I want to make sure I'm not signing over control to B&N. Jess has her own strong opinions about who can/can't modify her language; she does have quite the repertoire of swear words, many which I don't use and end up with a headache as a result.

I'll be better about updating as I find out more about this potential option to get my book(s) published. I'm very intrigued by this new service and B&N says it will put the manuscripts into a common eReader format, but I'm not 100% convinced of that just yet.

In case you haven't heard about this service yet, here's the link to the B&N PubIt! service: Note: the link feature on blogger seems to be borked up on my blog atm

I'm also looking into what it would take to publish electronically via Amazon, and all the legalese that goes along with their service as well.

And I've been debating about chasing after MaryJanice's agent...if he can keep up with her, I wonder if he could handle another one that goes off on tangents at random times. Hmmm...... oh well, back to the day job.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Losing my a book signing

It's not as exotic as you might like to think. But last night was the first time I've ever been to a book signing event - ever. And it's the first time I'd asked anyone to sign a book for me, so technically speaking I gave up my book signing virginity to MaryJanice Davidson. Which is a bit odd when I think about it as my mom was an English major and my aunt is a published author, so you'd think I would have to been to something as a kid. As my grandmother would say with a shrug - it is what it is.

I dashed over to Lansing last night to see MaryJanice Davidson in person, and to ask many questions of course. She was a riot! She really does write like she talks. Should she need a "next career", I'd strongly suggest stand up comedian as she had me in tears last night. I couldn't help but think if we'd been in high school together we would have been friends (she's too young to have been in high school with me though). She switches tangents as quickly as I do, and it was a blast to keep up with her, and she's just so damn FUNNY!!

I had several questions about writing for her, and asked if she's thinking about updating her eBook Escape the Slush Pile - good news, she is! She kindly answered all the questions everyone threw at her. And then referring to me as the "aspriring author" she said she liked my bangs and to just ignore reviewers who pick on you about your hair. Some reviewers have apparently referred to her has having "soccer mom bangs". All of which made me laugh harder.

She did say she hates me though - jokingly of course - because of the positive responses I've had so far from agents. I wouldn't have received them though if it wasn't for her book, so it's kudos to her as well. Made me think that perhaps I should hit up her agent next, even though we're not in the same genre. At least I'd know he can handle my sense of humor.

And I was most surprised to hear she likes many of the same authors I do - most specifically John Sanford. I'm not sure what I was expecting her to like, but I was surprised to hear his name. And she's a Fan-girl (which I'm not) and had some great stories about "molesting" Laura K. Hamilton and Charlene Harris at a conference. The funny part about this for me is that I would never have read anything from Laura K. Hamilton if it wasn't for MaryJanice and here MaryJanice is a huge fan of Laura K. Odd how the world works sometimes.

Which reminds me of how I ended up reading a genre that is not normal for me. Anyone who knows me well knows I prefer thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi, and fantasy. I've been asked how I started with the Betsy books before and most people laugh when I tell them, but the truth is it was the book cover. Sometimes you can tell a book by it's cover. I was in the library to pick up the latest Carolyn Hart Death on Demand book when the book cover for Undead and Unwed caught my eye - it was the older cover, the cuter one. The title intrigued me, so I checked out the back cover and took it home. I devoured it in gales of laughter in a single night. I was hooked, and now I own them all...along with Fred and now Me, Myself, and Why.

All the humor and simply being around MJD has caused my girls to pipe up. So I guess it's back to writing for me, and I'll put at least Jess and Collie into NaNoWriMo...I'm not too sure about Merie though. She's the most fun to write, but she's also the most controversial. (And why I like writing her so much).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Dancing!

MaryJanice Davidson is in a nearby town today! About 10 hours from now I hope to be getting a book signed. This is the first time I've gone to a book signing, so it will be a new experience for me, and one I expect I'll enjoy. Plus it gave me an excuse to take a 1/2 day vacation, which makes the day even better!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ridiculously happy and humbled

Okay, so maybe it's not THAT big of a thing, but I was ridiculously giggly, happy dancing, blushing, and humbled to see a link to my little, insignificant blog on MaryJanice Davidson's website. Really?!?!?! MJD has stumbled across my blog? She and Tracy (her fearless assistant) are too busy for this, aren't they?

Even better yet - MJD will be in my state in just 4 short days for a book signing of MMY! Can't possibly explain in feeble little words how great that made my day.

I just had to gloat a little...a New York Times Bestseller posted a link to my itty-bitty blog (the only thing itty-bitty about me). Woo-hoo!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo is looming

National Novel Writing Month is on the horizon and I'm having a hard time picking a character to concentrate on for the competition. I may end up trying to tackle something to soothe both Jess and Collie. Merie would be WAY more fun, but I don't think they'd be too fond of some of the story lines and the possible Jihad (did I spell that correctly) that could arise as a result.

Just the thought of NaNoWriMo is helping cheer me up a bit, and I'm hoping all my "girls" chime in to let me know who should be my primary focus for this go-round.

It's also possible that I go completely off-track and instead write something about the challenges of being in an industry that is in more upheaval and turmoil than the UAW. Given that I may be on the unemployment lines soon myself, it might not be a bad thing to do. I've been through the process often enough to know how get my feet back under me, dust off my backside, put a smile on my face, and go job-hunting.

There's also the MaryJanice Davidson book signing coming up to look forward to. That could be a hoot, standing in line with other fans, talking about characters. I've never been to a book signing before and I love new adventures like that!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writing Moods

It's been a rough month with a lot of unexpected losses of pets and people. So I'm understandably not in a "chipper" mood.

I often wonder if other writers have to be in a specific mood or mindset in order to write effectively - or at all. Just writing this short bit of fluff is taking a lot of concerted effort.

On a more happy note though, MaryJanice Davidson will be at a signing near enough for me to get to "quickly" for her new book Me, Myself, and Why. I'm hoping to be able to get off of work to head over early and grab a spot in line. I'd love to be able to thank her in person for writing her book and for being willing to answer my myriad questions about her writing style. More importantly, I'd love a chance to shake Tracy's (her assistant) hand for being so generous to the fans and making sure questions don't go unanswered for too long.

I'm still looking for an agent, or an editor. I haven't heard a peep back from the last submission, so I'm done waiting and will hit a bunch at once after another go round of the current drafts. I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth the effort to chase down an agent or whether I should take the plunge and go the self-published route by trying to make it available on various eReaders.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Of Family Matters

It's been a busy month on the in-law side of things. First an Uncle passed, then my mother-in-law's best friend, followed shortly by my mother-in-law and then a "dog-in-law". (Hubby's Aunt's Goldie). Lots and lots to deal with none of it much too happy.

Due to this my characters have been uncharacteristically quiet of late. They're still there, ready to cause chaos in my head at a moment's notice, but they seem to understand I need time to deal with things and won't have much time to write yet. Or perhaps they know about the impending layoffs and are waiting to pounce once I'm on the unemployment line. Who knows? They do have minds of their own; which I find utterly fascinating.

Then today, I get told about a dinner table discussion about some responses I had to things my nephew's posted on a social media site. Jess had a bit of a hissy fit, not a long one, but a rant that would make a sailor blush during this conversation. (Granted, she's right, I haven't sat down to dinner with these people in at least 5 years). They aren't children either, they're both over 18. It's funny (in an odd way) that they even complained about it. First off, isn't the rule of thumb don't post anything on the internet that you don't want people to see? And second rule of thumb, if you can't take the heat of a response that you don't agree with, don't post stuff to the internet? Or perhaps I'm just showing my age as I've been on the "Internet" since back in the old ARPANET and FLASH days.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about how odd my family can truly be and how I SO don't fit their "expectations" of who I should be at all. Which may explain why my sister has now lost 5 copies of my book that she's supposed to be editing.

Which, in turn, brings me to the family I have built for myself, a.k.a. "The Family". It's an eclectic mix of very fun, wonderful, loving and accepting people. We don't have to see each other often to know we care about each other or to know what's going on in each other's lives. We treasure the time we have together and have great fun when we are together. And these are the people who step forward to help out on a moment's notice when tragedy hits and I unexpectedly need help in any number of ways. There are no expectations, no demands, just simple offers of assistance. And I happily do the same for them.

What does all of this have to with writing? Well, I've given up on asking my family for an honest evaluation of my writing. Instead I'm going to The Family to ask people for opinions, criticism, and input on my book. And I'm hoping to gain more insight from a new writer's group (well, new to me anyway) from people that aren't "family" and will not hesitate to give an honest opinion. Which in turn means this entire process is going to take a lot longer and I will hopefully learn a TON about writing, whether it be for pleasure or profit.

At any rate, I'm sure Jess will jump in at some point, demanding attention and kicking my virtual butt to get back to work on her storyline. And I really can't wait I do have such fun jumping into her world.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chatty Characters

There must be something about August that gets my characters all riled up. Perhaps it's the fact that school is due to start soon, perhaps it's the weather, maybe it's just because they want to be annoying. Either way, my head is chaotic at the moment.

I'm debating about posting some of the short stories on my blog. Mainly because Jess is so foul-mouthed that it would take me out of the PG-13 category, but there's a part of me that doesn't want to see someone try to snake off with my characters and hose up their voices. Because both Jess and Myrtle get REALLY cranky when their words are changed around. Just try to modify Jess' swearing too much and she'll give me a right royal headache.

Anyway, thought I'd add a short post, just to let people know I'm still alive, I just need many more hours in the day right now.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thoughtful wondering

I'm wondering how long it takes an agent to say "no thanks". Is 3 months long enough, or should I wait 6 before sending them something else? And why isn't there a writer's group in my local area?

More importantly, how useful is this blog really? I'm not sure how many people have even read this one. I have another one over at but am not finding that site very useful either. Maybe it's just cynicism striking me, or the busyness of my life. Either way I find myself thinking more along the lines of "is it worth it" than "what's the Coven up to today?" or "what's going to happen in Jess/Collie/Merie's world"?

Summer may not be helping either as I prefer to be outside playing on my tractor or working in my garden instead of in front of a keyboard. From time to time, the Coven or Merie or Jess or Collie reaches out and grabs my attention in a way that I have to stop what I'm doing and grab the closest writable device (including my BlackBerry) and write as fast as I can. The problem with that is finding the focus to go back and edit what I've written. And finding willing editors for Jess' book is difficult as well as most find it either: 1) offensive in language or 2) offensive in content. Which is fine with me as I didn't expect it to be a large market range; that's more of Collie's book.

So, if I lapse in posts and you would like to know where I'm at, nudge me with a comment.

Right now, I'm waiting to hear back from 3 agents and searching for an editor that might be interested in either Collie or Jess. Waiting, and waiting, and wondering.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Coven Women

Another new book has been started, just to quit Myrtle down a bit. I don't have a title for it yet, but she's insisting it will be yet another series. Oh dear, I already don't have enough time for everything. How many hours sleep does a human need?

This new book covers much of the back story of how the Coven came to be, the women in, all of a "certain age", and the "why" of their existence. It's been pretty fun to get started, in the same sense that Merie is fun for me to write. Lots of giggles as I type and see the story begin to form.

Once again there is no outline, no plot defined, no story boarding. Just straight from my brain to my keyboard. This book is like Merie, just for me at the moment, and a few cherished friends to read as the public most likely will take umbrage.

And I wonder often if I should keep blogging as more time is pulled away for other things in life. I haven't yet figured out how to add a counter to see how many unique visitors there are to this blog. Probably just the 3 that are followers. I can't imagine anyone else would find this blog all that interesting. If it's more than that it will be a happy surprise, as I don't consider myself all that unique, interesting, or memorable, although others tell me often I am.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Character Chaos

I need to double the hours of free time in my day. Now that summer's here, gardening is on the mind, I have a new video game addiction, lots of To Do's around the house, ad not enough time to write. Normally, getting a 1/2 hour to write would be enough to quiet my characters down, not so much any more.

Secondary characters in my main series are now demanding their OWN series. The Coven Women are becoming a lot more vocal and demanding, while Paul and Paxton have wedding changes to make, and Collie's world calls while Merie jumps in at inappropriate times to leave me laughing. Perhaps it's a good thing I don't have as much to do at work as I should at this time.

I am considering setting up a regular website to post a few chapters and offer the books for sale "as is" in electronic formats until I can find an agetn/publisher/editor. The money would come direct to me (a plus), but without knowing how to really advertise or publicize it properly then I may only sell one copy and that's it.

The short stories are done and one was submitted, only to find it's not the right "genre" for these folks. Too "mass market paperback" and not "literary" enough. Not a surprise, I do tend to write along lines for the masses and not for the eltist college types. (Yes, I can say that, I do have a degree and am working on a Master's - none in literature though).

For now, my sister is my editor, my friend's who read it love it, and I'm trying to wrap up Collie's first book. Perhaps I'll get that finished in the next NaNoWriMo competition. You never know, I might actually get it done and get some attention on it.

Waiting to hear back from editors and agents is long and boring. Sister's in Crime has conferences coming up in my area again; I'm saving my pennies in hopes of attending and getting some objective criticism on whether or not it's worth chasing a publishing deal on the Jess series. I can always hope and I might have a chance to meet a few authors that I enjoy. One never knows!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Life gets in the way

Well, it's official I'm getting old. I'm actually happily accepting it, but it comes with a few mean flashes paired with racing heart beats. All of that gets in the way of work (no big loss) and my writing (BIG loss). So I've been neglecting pretty much all of my writing.

I did however send my short story of Jess and Paul's coming out to my Aunt. She liked it, but it shifted too quickly and too darkly to a scene where Paul witnesses exactly how much ghosts can affect Jess' life. I'll have to work on making that shift happen more slowly. But I'd like to have another person, who doesn't mind the dark side of writing so much, take a look at it. My family is a bit sensitive to the darker pieces of my writing.

My short story on how Collie came to be is almost ready to pass on to my Aunt to see if she thinks it would work for GlimmerTrain. They're more on the intellectual side of writing, whereas I'm more of the "mass paperback" genre. :)

So life goes on, and I'm trying to get back on track with finding a "home" for Jess' series and finishing up the first books for Collie and Merie. And I'd better hurry up as the Coven Women from Jess are harassing me for their own book as well. Chaos reigns!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Short Stories and Mis-typed URLs

I've been working on short stories to submit to GlimmerTrain in the hopes that I'll get some credible feedback on my writing at some point. Both are off-shoots from my current story lines. I'm not sure if I'll ever figure out this writing thing, but if I don't write my head stays in a state of chaos. This summer will be interesting as I'll be picking up some free-lance work that will eat up the majority of my "free" time, but I need the cash, so Jess will have to wait.

Anyway, now where was I going with this? Oh yes! I was looking for some information regarding a potential agent and accidentally mis-typed their URL by adding typing an extra letter. Not that this is normally a problem but I was at my regular job when an inappropriate Asian site of a "male persuasion" popped up on my screen and I couldn't get the browser to shut properly. So, power off the wireless, run scans galore, and now I'm back on and hopefully virus-free, but we'll see. It may be time to backup my data and rebuild my laptop from scratch.

I've also been researching Vitamin D deficiency which is common for "women of a certain age" and which I now apparently have. That also leads to interesting odd pages popping up once in awhile. And being that I'm paranoid, I have to shut things down and do scans right away. Wonder if craziness comes with Vitamin D deficiencies? Hmmm...

Anyway, I'm hoping to have a lead on an editor soon. I missed out on getting to RT to meet MaryJanice and try to sponge knowledge off of her, so I'm hoping to get to the next SIC conference that's anywhere in my area while submitting stories to GlimmerTrain and other competitions.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend Shots

Time to fess up: all I got done was some rummaging around in QueryTracker and absolutely no editing done at all.

I did sleep a lot this weekend, and last Thursday. I needed it. I'm still sick, but feeling much, much better. And the apple-cinnamon-oatmeal muffins turned out just okay. They really didn't have the flavor I was hoping for, so I may do something different next time. The cranberry-orange ones turned out great though. I did burn the cinnamon-swirl and banana nut bread I made on Saturday so there's no "treats" in the house at the moment.

So my weekend was basically shot when it came to getting writing done. I only did one thing other than bake when I wasn't sleeping and that was going shooting. I'm working towards getting over my fear of guns (have a 22 pulled on you as a kid that is supposedly "unloaded" and you'll understand) and working towards getting my concealed weapons permit.

The guys at the gun shop told me I should try a revolver to back up my mouth as I tend to jam the semi-auto Smith & Wesson that we own when I'm shooting fast and I don't back down from gang bangers (who are notoriously lousy shots). So I tried some 38 specials. Huge kickback on those little pups and I didn't hit the target once. They are only good for short range though, so I may ask for some help next time we're in the shooting range. I'm also going to try out a Magnum to see if I do better with the longer barrels. I hit the bullseye every time when I use our S&W both with 22s and 45s, so it may be an issue of barrel length. Although I'm madly in love with this little Browning 22 revolver that will actually fit in my cleavage; it's adorable!

At some point I'll have to try out a rifle as that's what Jess prefers. Funny how I know that. She makes me laugh a lot as well, especially when she's swearing at men. Merie doesn't like guns, but she prefers them over tasers as all the electronic stuff we use know messes with her abilities. Why I have all female characters in my head I'll never know. Oh wait! I forgot about Paul..he's a main character as well, and now Paxton, Matt, and Stan are chiming in as well. (The guys get cranky when they feel they're being overlooked.) What have I started?

Perhaps it's time to settle into the recliner with some tea and write while watching House. Maybe then they'll quiet down a bit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lacking Enthusiasm

I've been sick. In a drawn out, boring kind of way. I hate viruses, especially when I can't get enough time off of real work to rest appropriately. It's been a month already, jeez why can't this bugger move on? If it was a computer virus I'd have already vanquished it, but this one has the stubbornness of the most vile dragon.

Ooo! Dragons! If you haven't already, you must go see "How to Train Your Dragon". Apparently it's not much like the book, but it's a great movie and the animation is awesome. Okay, enough about dragons.

Even gardening hasn't gotten my attention of late, so I'm trying my best to pull myself up by my non-existent boot straps and get that done along with some editing on Jess' story. I really want to get this done and published. Perhaps I'm asking for too much. I haven't gone about this in a "normal" fashion at all. But if you know me, normal is not something I'm much good at.

So I've made two goals for myself for this week. 1) Get back into the QueryTracker system and do some research on agents, and 2) at least get Chapter 1 in Jess' book edited. We'll see how I do. I figure they're small enough goals I should be able to get something done; at least I'm hoping that's how it will pan out.

Although, all I seem to be able to think about today is coming up with a workable recipe for apple-cinnamon-oatmeal muffins. Food usually does trump all for me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Agents, Editors, and Publishers - Oh My!

Still no word from Agent #2, which is fine. My sister's taking a crack at editing the book for me, so it's just as well I guess.

I've been digging through the various references that MaryJanice wrote about and am finding it a bit overwhelming. So many editors and publishers and agents to try to sift through and take a "best guess" at who to approach next. I'm hoping the Sisters-in-Crime group can give me some tidbits on that. After taxes get paid, I'm paying my membership fees to be a full-fledged Guppy and see if I can get any forward progress on this thing.

I did take some time and do a second go-round on the short stories I have for GlimmerTrain and plan to get them submitted in time for the May contest. I'm not sure my writing is in their style though, so I'll have to wait and see.

My Aunt shared one of her non-fiction pieces with me. I can see we have the same typos style, but our writing is different. Hers is more fluid, and richer in nature, whereas mine is blunt, a bit more quick and not nearly as graceful. Ann Rice has a style that is rich and dense, a type of writing that makes you feel like you're eating the book in a most indulgent style. My Aunt's is a lighter form of rich, more like a nice rich dessert mousse. (I must be hungry for chocolate.)

I'm getting ready to dig back into Collie's book in the never ending round-robin of "tag, you have to write about me next". Maybe Collie will get published first, only God in her infinite wisdom knows for certain. In any case, the girls still clamor for my attention and I feel like I'm really starting to get back into the swing of it again. Perhaps because my workload looks very light for the next few months, so I have more time to dedicate to putting their voices to electronic paper. Oh, and I can't forget the boys as Paul just chimed in that I haven't put nearly enough work into his piece of the story.

Do all writers have characters that talk to them? And I wonder, how many people actually read my ramblings? I was surprised to find that someone I have great respect for has been following a tech blog I work on, and even more so when I discovered several others who read it but don't officially "follow" it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Writing Excuses

Actually, this isn't my excuse for not writing more here, but rather a plug for a friend's podcast. It's all rather entertaining. He's self-published too, so I've been trying to take in as much information as I can.

I'm currently editing Jess' first book, while fending off Paul's constant demands for me to write about his wedding. I swear he's doing this just because I'm following after the SoulForce Equality Ride with more dedication than usual and he feels he's not get his fair share of attention as a result.

Anyway, back to the Writing Excuses information. You can find it at It's more than just a podcast, but I do love follow Howard. He's quit entertaining.

I haven't heard back from agent #2 and don't expect to any time soon. Instead I've decided to try a finding an editor. Once I get back from this tech conference, I'll be hitting up the local B&N for all those handy reference materials MaryJanice outlines in her book. And I'll be resubmitting to GlimmerTrain as well as looking for more competitions to try out.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Writing has taken a back seat

For the time being as I ramp up for a conference, my writing is on the back burner. I still need to edit and rewrite the submissions to GlimmerTrain and prep them for the April submissions deadline. I'm bummed I'm going to be missing a SINC conference that's close by as I'll be out of state. Maybe some other time.

I'm still very curious as to how other writers have come to writing. That is, have they always know they'd be a writer, or are there others out there like Maggie Sefton and myself, who never really considered it until our characters simply got "too loud" and we had to let them out?

It's fascinating to me. Especially as my Aunt had another article published..quite a fun one for me to read too. This is something I'm somewhat driven to do, just to keep the chaos out of my head. Is this how others do it? Or can they simply call up a story as they wish and pop something out for a deadline and make money doing so? Because I have to wait on Jess and Merie and Collie. All three have been surprisingly quiet of late, although Paul (Jess' BFF) and Bambi (Collie's lady-in-waiting for lack of a better term) have been chiming in quite a bit. Perhaps the "Big 3" are quiet because work's become a bit more tolerable and somewhat fun lately, but I never know. They'll gang rush me at some point and all I'll be able to focus on is getting their stories down before they get quiet again.

Or maybe this really is just the Alzheimer's and Dementia making an early appearance. :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Slight Reprieve and Sisters in Crime

I've been busy trying to gain access to a conference that I really need to go to, as a result the girls have been uncharacteristically quiet. Which is helpful as I've been busy at work fighting a variety of battles over upcoming projects.

I'm looking forward to them being vocal again. I've been giving Jess' book another once-over as it really does need to be edited. And I'm trying to figure out a way to swap out all the "bad words" in an effort to get my mom to edit it for me. She's fearless in her criticism and I really appreciate that.

The Sisters in Crime group is getting another "guppy" after I get back from the conference. The guppies is the group for newbies. I believe I've mentioned them before. But with wonderful authors like Monica Ferris on board, I expect to get a lot of good advice. They have virtual groups which is awesome, because there's no local group. Heck, even NaNoWriMo didn't have anyone from my "city" involved. Which was a bummer because I could have used the company.

There's only one writer's group that I have heard of in town so far, and if there's anyone related to work there, I have to be very cautious in what I show and discuss. Jess' mouth alone could get me into trouble. This is a part of living in the MidWest that I have trouble adjusting too. The fact that what you do after hours can directly impact your employment. On the coasts what you do in your own time is up to you - as long as it's legal and not in competition with your employer, they don't care.

I hope the girls return to their normal chattiness soon. I'd really like to get back to writing their stuff than trying to force a new story out about something unrelated to them. They normally keep me busy enough...I don't need additional characters running through my mind and demanding my attention.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Well, I submitted two stories to the GlimmerTrain February contest. Now it's wait and see what they say. According to their rules, I can post the stories here. I'll have to modify Jess' story for language to post here as I'm trying to leave this blog as PG as possible.

I don't expect to win as I didn't have a chance to edit them (busy weekend), so I suspect I'll rewrite one and submit it for next month's open fiction (no dollar winnings, but they'll review it again). And then maybe resubmit Collie's front story for the August contest. At least it gets me in front of someone new and objective.

This is still all rather surreal for me...I never expected to be in a search for something that I wrote to be published.

Have I mentioned how much I hate McAfee Anti-Virus? It pops up at the most inopportune time to announce it's downloading new patches and then takes over the CPU. One reason why I prefer writing on my Linux machine over my Windows boxes. (Sorry, the computer geek in me just jumped in...).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cool website that's useful!

Digging around yesterday I stumbled across QueryTracker ( I played around with it a little bit and found lots of info on my first pick agent, decided to join with the free membership, posted my rejection letter, and poked around a bit. I've since decided that I'll probably use it to track all of my queries after all. I was planning on just keeping them in my email, but as many times as I've accidentally deleted stuff, I figured this may be a safer bet.

Plus there's all sorts of helpful information, other authors on-line to chat with, and it's kind of a support group of sorts.

Now I just need to get off my duff and join Monica Ferris' Sisters-in-Crime group and become a guppy. After all they hold several conferences within driving distance for me and at a reasonable price, so for $15 for annual membership I figure it's worth the bucks.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MaryJanice is Right - Again!

I love MaryJanice Davidson's writing. Love the Betsy and Fred books, she's got a new serie's coming too that I can't wait to get my hands on. But mostly, I love her book Escape from the Slush Pile. It's like a crash course in publishing. Way cool!

I made the decision to approach agents of authors who's work I enjoy and who's style has a similar feel to Jess' book. In Escape from the Slush Pile MaryJanice talks about using the Internet to search for information on agents and publishing houses. She has an entire chapter devoted to it called Why the Internet Rocks. She's right - it does rock. And I've been working in tech since before the Internet; yes, there was a time before the Internet as we know it existed - it was called ARPANet.

Within in the span of 20 minutes, I found more information on my next targeted agents, and sent an email to one about the fact that her LinkedIn public profile directs people to her former agency (where she was a partner) and that she may want to change that. I also found lots of ratings for different agencies and agents so I now know who I don't want to send a query letter to.

It's also far easier than in the past to find ePublishers, submission requirements for the big print publishers like Bantam, Penguin, Avon, Harlequin (if you're a romance writer). Amazing stuff! Even better, I found I can get a copy of the Writer's Guide and other references MaryJanice suggests via my local library. Woo-hoo! (Yeah, I'm woo-hoo kind of gal at times...Gemini's have a complicated life).

I've also found a few folks that I trust to tell me the truth to read the book and let me know what needs fixing/tweaking/changing. Although Jess swears really bad, there were a few spots where I felt it may be masking the more interesting pieces of that particular piece of the story line. So we'll see how many changes are suggested, but cleaning up her mouth entirely won't work...because I'll never hear the end of it and she won't shut up long enough to let me sleep. If nothing else, Jess IS persistent.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Waiting Anew

Well, I sent out my second query letter to my second choice agent, who happens to represent Dakota Cassidy. Dakota writes paranormal romances, that are wickedly funny and make me laugh like MaryJanice's Betsy books. Oddly enough, Dakota lives in Texas, as does Victoria Laurie, and Jess' lives in Austin. (I'm taking that as a sign). I "think" I'm a similar style, but not 100% certain of that.

Anyway, I'll be waiting for a few weeks before hitting up the next agent. In the meantime, I'm wrapping up and proofing two short stories for the GlimmerTrain contest that are due on February 28th. I may do a short story on Merie, or one of the other Chosen and submit it as a regular submission at a later date to GlimmerTrain.

I'm also debating about joining in on a contest with the SouthWest Writers group in New Mexico. But I may hold off on that as I still need to join the Sisters In Crime "guppies" group for newbies. Monica Ferris is a big part of that group and they have conferences that are close enough (and cheap enough) for me to attend from time to time. And I love her hats!

Either way, I'll be waiting, and writing, and waiting for a few folks who are taking a stab at editing the first draft (did I mention that I haven't edited the book yet - I sent a first draft to my first agent pick) of the Jess book. I'll be trying to edit that as well, but Jess, Collie, and Merie are all clammoring for their stories to continue moving forward. So, I guess I'm off to write!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Short Story Contest

My dear Aunt sent me this contest information for Short Stories that I thought I'd share. It's a neat company, of course I like that fact that it's run by smart women. :)

The URL for this company is

And here's the competition info:

Deadline: February 28
1st place wins $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 10 copies.
2nd-place: $500 and possible publication.
3rd-place: $300 and possible publication.
Results post on April 30. Winning story will be published in Issue 79.
Other considerations:
Open only to writers whose fiction has not appeared in any print publication with a circulation over 5,000. (Entries, of course, must not have appeared in any print publication.)
Please, no longer than 12,000 words. Any shorter lengths are welcome.
Reading fee is $15 per story.

I've found that reading fees for competitions seems to be pretty steady around the $15 (US) mark even for full novels.

First Rejection Letter

I got rejected. Which is what I expected, only I got so much more than I expected. I'm actually quite happy about given that my book hasn't been professionally edited yet and I still got this really nice response.
Thanks much for sending THE RELUCTANT PSYCHIC, which I read with great interest. Unfortunately, I’m going to be passing at this time.

Fiction, as I’m sure you know, is just about the toughest thing to sell in the current marketplace. I need to really fall in love with something before I can even think of taking it on. Though there is much to appreciate here, I’m afraid that I ultimately didn’t believe I would be its best advocate.

Thank you again, sincerely, for the chance to take a look. I wish you all the best of luck placing this successfully.

Friends and family were a bit worried that I'd give up. Actually, this rejection has given more hope than I ever had that Jess' book will get published. The fact that someone from the industry not only took the time to read it, but like it (even if he didn't love it) was HUGE for me. Now I'm off in search of another agent and am approaching a friend who has edited in the past to take a glance at the book. Maybe a few rewrites will do the trick. Anyway, I'm still a very happy camper and I have even more respect for this particular agent and agency than I did before.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The long wait begins....

Well, I put the book (electronically speaking) in the agent's hand last night. Now it's a waiting process while he reads it. Even if he rejects it, I'm still thrilled that someone in the industry is even remotely interested.

But there is still hope that the first book in Jess' series will be published at some point and in some fashion.

I've learned I still have a lot to learn about agents and this whole writing game. It's interesting to hear about the love/hate relationships between some agents and authors. So I konw it's a long process and I understand about building business relationships...I've been doing that for a long time now myself. And I'm pretty good at it...I've mooched quite a few cool geeky things in my time. Most recently I've managed to mooch a netbook. And it's quite the fun toy.

So bear with me while I wait. I promise to keep you posted on the good, bad, and ugly as I learn this publishing biz stuff.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy - a response already!

Okay, so I was having a rather boring day of "discussions" with a co-worker and patching of servers and then, before leaving for home to begin an early day of more patching, I checked my email and received this:

I’m game. Send the manuscript along, and I’ll review promptly. A Word attachment is most preferable if possible.



My day just became awesome! Happy, happy, Joy, joy dances all around.

And the wait begins...

Well, I did it. I clicked the SEND button and off went my synopsis to the first agent on my list. Now the wait begins. It's usually a 6-8 week turnaround for this particular agency. But I like them. It's woman run, and the agent I targeted is into Women's fiction and mysteries, so here's hoping. Although I fully expect a rejection. Which is's all part of the process. :)

Now I can focus on finishing up book 2 in Jess' series, join the Sisters in Crime writing group, I'll be a "guppy" (their group for newbies) and perhaps I'll have a chance at some point to meet Monica Ferris face to face (and maybe try on one of her famous hats!).

So, bear with me. Keep checking in though as I'll have more snippets from Merie, Jess and Collie...and the Snot Fairy may make a visit or two as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writing Waylaid Again

Wild weather makes for bad, bad migraines for me. Which means I don't write. Even though Jess and Merie are dumping pages and pages of writing in my head for me. Perhaps tomorrow I'll be able to get some of the chaos out of my head.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the fluffy white stuff now that the barometer is are the dogs. They LOVE! this stuff. Quite fun to watch them frolic in it, with being so big and all.

Better news is that MaryJanice Davidson is finally done with the final edits of "Undead and Unfinished" and is looking for new ARC readers. Hoping to get my name on the list somehow. I love her books, fast reads and they ALWAYS make me laugh.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Peek at Merie

Merie is one of God's "Chosen". She's an angel/human hybrid with no soul, placed on Earth as one of God's protectors of humankind. She's also 413 years old at this point. The following piece appears about midway through the first book. What you need to know is that Stan is actually Satan, but he prefers to be called Stan. It's these types of scenes that make me laugh like a loony at inappropriate times.

Oh! And God's a woman. Picture a carmel-brown colored woman who looks kind of like the Greek Goddess Athena, only really, really TALL. And God's an engineer, among other things.

It was pouring, nearly sheets of rain, thunder clapped loudly, and the lightening was close. Stan and Merie huddled in the mine shaft together, trying to avoid God's directed wrath. And God was furious!

“I swear Merie, it's not my doing this time! You know I like to 'tweak' her at times, but she's on a major rebuilding frenzy and there's NO WAY I would have done this. That's what I came to tell you.” Stan's face was sincere, but as Merie knew well, Stan was a phenomenal actor.

Taking his words with a grain of salt, Merie sighed. “Well, 'if' you didn't do it, do you have any idea who did? And what's the background on the whole event? God didn't tell me that this was in the plans.” Merie tilted her head up at Stan. He was an angel after all, and they did tend to go towards the tall side of God's creatures. Standing about 6'8” he wasn't her tallest, but he was a stretch for Merie.

Stan shook his blond curly head, “All I know is that it's none of my crew. I swear if it was one of my human minons I'd have killed them already, but none are admitting it. There's more to this than either of us know, and God's not helping any.” He smirked down at Merie as the thunder began to tone down a bit. If he'd been paying attention to Merie's eyes, he'd have seen what was coming reflected in them.

“OW!!! Shoot!! Woman! Let go of me.” Stan hollered as he was lifted more than a foot off the ground.

Merie was doubled over in laughter. God had stormed in and snatched up Stan by his curly blond locks to look in her still stormy eyes.

“What the hell are you doing out of your cage?!!” God thundered down at Stan as she shook him like a rag doll.

“OW!! Damn it all woman, put me down!” Stan was holding onto his head while trying to kick his way out of God's grasp.

“Address me properly little one! Or have you forgotten? I created you; I can simply 'uncreate' you at my heart's content." God's smirk was evil, her eyes glowing red. "You're lucky that I have a soft spot for this little chosen one. She's the one that always saves your skin for you.” God motioned her head in Merie's direction, and smiled benignly down at her Chosen one. Merie basked in the warm beam, feeling the love that only God could make her feel.

Smiling up at her God, Merie said, “Not to contradict you dearest One, but I don't 'always' save his skin.” God laughed, her face brightening, the red glow dimming to a deep pink. “But he does say it's not his humans or his minions. I wonder...could it just be that a human is behind all of this for some reason?” God frowned down at Merie, her face growing dark. “I didn't mean this disrespectfully at all, dear One, but could it be possible that due to free will it's out of your hands?” Merie downcast her eyes, afraid of a close handed burst of God's wrath.

Instead of pain, Merie's face was quickly jerked upwards at a burst of warm, happy, laughter. God finally put Stan back down, placed her hands around her waist and laughed. “Oh dear, you're probably right my little one. That stupid 'free will' always comes back to bite me in the ass.” Merie chuckled as well...she and God had once chatted long into the night when Merie was very, very young about God's choice of free will for her human creations.

“So, little one, do you have any ideas who it might be?” God's eyes flashed with anger, but her voice was still mirthful.

“Well, I was thinking perhaps it was the environmental folks, but I'm thinking it has more to do with that big ranch just on the other side of this mountain. From what I understand, the head of the family that owns it has been in a battle with the poor family that owns the drilling rights. He has the knowledge, perhaps you can 'change his mind' for him and make him fess up?” Merie smiled crookedly up at God.

“Ah, but my dearest little one, you're forgetting your own choice of will. If it is in fact a human leveraging his free will, I won't interfere. Best you try your own bag of tricks to determine who's causing the problems here. Perhaps your own 'feminine wiles' can do the trick.” God winked at Merie, “You've used them well in the past, perhaps it's time to bring them out once again. How old is this human?”

“Well, he looks to be older than I look now, so perhaps that will work. He is a rather disgusting excuse for a human though. However - for you my dearest One - I can endure anything.” Merie felt the full force of God's love on her as she beamed down at her.

“Wonderful my child! I shall give you a vacation after this job is complete.” Whipping her head around to glower down at Stan's attempt to escape, she reached a long arm out to once again grasp him by the hair. “Not a chance Slim. I'm putting you back into your cage where you belong.” God flew out of the mine shaft, Stan in tow, as Merie raced to watch her descent.

Merie emerged from the mine shaft just in time to witness an incredible full rainbow, the clouds, rain and thunder all gone in an instant. She shook her head sadly, thinking What a shame that humans can't see God as I can see her or recognize her miracles.

I laugh every time I read about Stan being picked up by his curly locks. He looks like an overgrown cherub with beautiful light blue eyes and dimples. So cute his only option was to become evil after all. I did adjust some of the language to to be more PG rated.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another peek at Jess' life

I still haven't clicked on that "send" button yet to alert the agent that he should read my stuff.  So, as I have nothing new to report on the progress of finding an agent, I figured I'd give you another tidbit from Jess' story.

“Stop right there!” Jess practically shouted as the dead man walked through the door and into the closet. Luckily, she surprised him and he immediately stopped, just shy of touching her outstretched hand. More softly she asked, “Do you realize that you are dead?” Jess knew many didn't understand they were truly dead, and the newly dead were far more dangerous to Jess then the long dead.

“Why does everyone keep telling me that? I can't be dead! I have to get to surgery and no one will tell me which room I'm assigned to and I don't see my name on the board anywhere.” The man appeared to be in his early 30s and his expression was one of pure frustration.

“Oh, dear, you don't know. I'll swear on a stack of bibles that you are, most definitely, dead. What is your name?” Jess had heard about a young doctor being killed shortly before she'd started, but had never seen a picture of him. She was pretty certain the dead man in front of her was him.

“It's Dr. Dickinson and I have a critical patient that's waiting on me! Who do I need to talk to around here to get a room scheduled?” Still in denial, the doctor was focused solely on his patient and not paying complete attention to what Jess was telling him.

“Dr. Dickinson, you're not listening. You died...almost a year ago. No one talks to you because no one else can see or hear you. Just me. It's a curse, or a gift, depending on how you look at it. I'm sure someone else stepped in and took care of your patient for you. Tell me your patient's name and I'll see what I can find out.” Jess was talking calmly and slowly, hoping it would sink in. What a shame, she thought, losing such a dedicated doctor so young. She desperately wanted to comfort him, but knew that if she touched him, he'd be far less inclined to believe her news of his death.

“I'm not dead! I keep telling you. I'M. NOT. DEAD!”, he was shouting and so close to Jess' face that that she could have licked his nose. “However, since YOU refuse to believe ME, I'll give you my patient's name and room number. Let me check my notes.” And with that he was gone. That's kind of the way it was with the newly dead who refused to believe. If Jess was lucky he'd be gone for a least a week, perhaps more. Sometimes they popped up again pretty fast, but that wasn't so common. Time between the two planes was warped and inconsistent, with the other side still moving forward but at vastly varying speeds and that rarely failed to surprise her.

Taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out, Jess peeked her head out of the janitor's closet. All clear; good, now I have a chance to pee! Jess thought as she headed into the women's room.

I just wish you all could see what I see in my head...then y'all might understand why I look like a crazy woman laughing to myself in my cubicle.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fighting with The Big Dog

I have 2 very large dogs, one of whom is a neutered male that "forgets" from time to time that he is NOT "The Big Dog".  We had a "tiff" over the weekend, which ended up with me wishing for harsher pain killers than I had on hand, and using a crutch.  So, I didn't get much writing done as I just wasn't in the mood.

Agent letter has yet to be sent...I'm proofing it with a fine toothed comb, but I'm deathly afraid I'll miss something,  It's far easier for me to proof other's work than my own.  I don't know what they're "meaning" to say, whereas I'm thinking my typing looks just as I mean it to, when often it's not.  It's confusing, I know, which is why I had my mom proof stuff for me in high school and friends proof my stuff in college.

In lieu of any actual writing, I figured I'd let you take a sneak peek at Jolita, Paul's drag queen persona...

Jolita entered onto the platform - it was rather hard to miss her. At 6' even, Paul (aka Jolita) was about average height before putting on the 4” heels, but had far from average looks. A touch of padding, some good makeup, and he made an absolutely stunning woman. As a man, he had beautiful looks that he could only attribute to his parents' mixed heritages. His father was Black and Korean, his mother full Brazilian. An outstanding combination, resulting in perfect milk-chocolate colored skin, high cheekbones, almond eyes, an unnoticeable Adam's Apple, long legs that rivaled Ru Paul's, and a butt that would give any plastic surgeon pause, all of which Paul knew how to work for Jolita.

“Good evening, Madames and Messieurs! Welcome to the 5th Annual Cowboy's Ball, or should I say 'balls'?” Jolita gave a suggestive wink and sashayed further down the stage. “For those of you not in the know, I am Jolita!” A luxurious upsweep of her arm let everyone know just who the Queen of the Ball truly was. She bowed to the applause before turning towards her band. Jolita was definitely proving to the crowd just who the Drag Queen Diva of Austin was tonight.

“Hit it boys!” Jolita launched into her rendition of “I just want to be loved by you”, sung in a breathy Marilyn Monroe fashion. The crowd was on their feet, cheering, whistling, and stomping. She followed up with a montage of the songs from her regular act, and ended with the whole crowd chiming in to a campy version of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”, which was always a crowd favorite. Jolita wasn't a lip syncher either, her vocal talent was real.

“Tonight's festivities will begin shortly. I'll be your Mistress of Ceremonies this evening, so we'll be seeing lots of each other tonight.” With a wink and a smile, Jolita blew a kiss to one of her favorite fans, a big ol' stereotypical Texas white boy who had tons of money and one foot still in the closet. “Dinner will be served in the next room, if y'all'd start moseying in that direction, I'd be most appreciative. I'll see you on stage in there, where you'll be granted the pleasure of seeing moi again.” Jolita took a small bow, disconnected her mike, and was escorted down the steps by a most handsome young man. She headed towards Jess, Molly, and Maggie's general location. Jess was used to the fact that Jolita would get stopped along the way and waited patiently for her.

Finally arriving at Jess' side several minutes later, Jolita gave her a big hug and air kisses. “Hey dolls! Enjoying the festivities? What until you see my new Angelia Jolie impression. I have a baby bump and everything!” Jolita giggled with a wicked grin. Jolita had a thing against Angelia Jolie for stealing Brad Pitt away from Jennifer Aniston. It was an impersonation that kept her readily employed as a good chunk of Austin's population appeared to feel the same way, or more likely, they simply enjoyed seeing the stars lambasted instead of idolized.
It's a little taste, but hopefully it was descriptive enough to leave you wanting more.  :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Agent Letter - done!

I finished my first agent letter today.  I tried, I really did try, to stay within their submissions guidelines, but it was tough.  How can you fully describe a recovering alcoholic, with a gay BFF who's the reigning Drag Queen Diva, two best gal pals that don't know her biggest secret, an attorney that makes her skin crawl, an evil boss, too many men interested in her friends, and a little girl's murder to solve in one paragraph?  Okay, so I made a horribly long sentence as an example, but really, sometimes one is just too few.

I did manage to cover most of it in two paragraphs.  I really hope he doesn't mind.  And I'm targeting one agent first for a very valid reason.  He represents one of my current favorites who's in the same genre (approximately) and works for a woman.  Who doesn't love a man who works for a woman and who's interest is in women's literature?  We'll see.  I'll have to wait to hear anything for at least 6-8 weeks.  I'm hoping for something good, but expecting a rejection.

But my husband has had a suggestion that I'm seriously considering.  Put out the first 3 chapters on a website.  Let people decide if they want to read the rest, charge $4-$5 for an electronic copy of the whole book that they can download from the same site.  It's a possibility.  I'm still contemplating it.  All the formats and securing those files means I have to learn more tech stuff and I'm not 100% certain I want to go that way yet.  (Or perhaps I'm just being really lazy).

In the meantime, I'll be considering posting a few tidbits here that are PG-rated.  (Jess swears so badly a lot of it would be considered adult content).

And I'll let you know when I actually click on the "send" button.  I'm thinking perhaps I'll wait until this weekend, so it's fresh in his mailbox on Monday.   Really, I just need to get up the nerve and send it already.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How I Write

Since work is getting in the way, I figured I'd explain my "writing process" as it were/is/whatever, because it can be rather confusing.

I don't do outlines, I don't do plot lines, I don't do storyboards or planning of any type.  What I do instead is wait.  My wait is usually not long.  I wait for Jess, or Collie, or Merie to skip through my brain raining down "visual pages" of what to write.  So really it's not me writing, it's my characters.  I'd feel bad (as in a mental health issues way) if I didn't have confirmation that this is fairly "normal" for some writers.  I figure it's just the dementia kicking in early (have I mentioned this before?).

Lucky thing for me - at least sometimes - is that my characters are very chatty.  Unlucky thing is that Collie speaks in a mix of English, and Celtic/Tehachapi dialect (as in the Tehachapi tribes of California) and I have to translate or figure it out - there's no dictionary for her language.  Collie only slips into her "native" tongue when she's mad at me, which is often.  And the unlucky part of Merie's story is that she's always making me laugh at inappropriate times (like in the middle of meetings or while grocery shopping - the husband's gotten used to it).  She does this by giving me visuals of God in all her glory shaking the bejesus out of Satan by the roots of his curly blond locks.  Jess is far easier.  She swears horribly, which I kind of admire, and she stomps her foot when she's not getting enough attention, or when Paul pushes her out of the way to demand of me more attention to his storyline coming up in the third book.

In a way, I'm a bit like Jess, but instead of a dead hoard following me around, I have these characters running amok in my head and making my life a circus at times.  I love them all dearly.  Merie is by far the funnest for me to write, Jess is harder giving me both laughter and tears, Collie is most difficult as she's a big environmentalist, something which I am not.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for protecting our natural resources, but when I want a steak, I'm getting a steak and don't want a lecture with my meal.

The best part I like about Jess, besides the fact that she's really easy to understand, is that she's true to her country roots.  I would have loved to have been raised on a farm, but I got stuck being raised in the busier parts of the US West Coast, where land comes at a premium and my folks were on a pre-WalMart budget.

All-in-all, my characters keep me laughing, and they keep bringing in new characters to bug me, like the Snot Fairy (among others), and Miracle Max.  So, my hope is that in some way I make you laugh a little too when I dump out pages from my head.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Work gets in the way again

Had to interrupt writing to attend to work issues again.  So Paul and Paxton (he appears later) are pitching a hissy fit.  I need to finish Book #2 in Jess' series to get on to their complaints.  But Merie and Collie are fighting for attention while Jess just grins evilly in the background knowing that it's "her" story that's being pitched first.  But, we'll see who gets published first.

MaryJanice Davidson had started with Fred, her grumpy Mermaid series, but ended up with Betsy being published first.  While I adore Fred, I wonder if she'd have had the chance to get Betsy heard if Fred had been published first.  Partly because Fred's story was only 3 books long, and partly because Betsy is just so hysterically, raunchily funny that I have to get the next book the second it's available at my local B&N.

Hoping to get more done this week as Jess and Merie have taken to waking me up at god awful hours of the wee morning to dump "stacks of pages" in my head.  And I like my sleep.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Meet Jess

Since I got my synopsis done today (boredom while watching big files download = writing), I figured I should introduce Jess to you all and just get her off my back already.  The circus in my head is growing restless.

Jess' life is complicated.  Not only is she a recovering alcoholic approaching her 1-year sober date, her BFF Paul is a closeted stockbroker by day and the reigning Drag Queen Diva of Austin at night, but she also sees dead people.  She doesn't just see them, she talks to them, they touch her, she can touch them, they've done physical harm to her in the past as well.  You'd drink too if you found yourself unexpectedly flying through the air like a rag doll.  And only Paul knows her secret, or so she thinks.  Her best girls Molly and Maggie work with her at the local hospital.  Molly's a social worker - also a recovering alcoholic and former stockbroker.  Maggie works as a billing coder with Jess in the bowels of the hospital.  And Matt works security and is harboring a major crush on Maggie.

There's always a hoard of dead clamoring for Jess' attention following her around.  She's managed to corral most of them in her apartment, but every once in awhile one sneaks out.  Rosie, a warm grandmotherly type who dresses like Lucille Ball, is one that can find Jess anywhere.  She's almost like Jess' spirit guide, almost, but not quite.  Then there's Melissa, the constant whiner who makes Jess throw shoes through her semi-transparent head at times.  Rosie helps keep the dead hoard in control and chastises Jess on a regular basis about her language.  Oh, did I mention Jess swears like a sailor?  The first line in the book starts with "Shut the f--- up!"  Which is exactly why my mother won't read it.

And then there's Sam.  He helped save her life, paying for her rehab stint and helping her get into her apartment.  She likes him, but wants to only be friends. And she's sure she knows him from somewhere, but can't quite place him.  Her memories are lacking in places and it may just be that Sam fell into one of the "holes" in her brain. It's complicated, like I said.

Then there's the new hospital attorney who makes every woman's skin crawl, her evil boss "Vampira" who wants to fire her in the worst way, and 5 year old Sallae Ann's murder to solve.  And that's just the first book.  She's demanding an entire series.

And I thought just being a Gemini is tough!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I've been dragging my feet.  I'm really good at procrastinating.  A friend of mine from stitching used to talk about starting a Procrastinator's Anonymous club but we could never get around to scheduling a meeting.  Still makes me laugh...okay, so I'm easy to entertain, I'll admit it.

But, I do have my synopsis done.  And I got some sewing done.  The two have nothing to do with each other, unless you figure I use my delayed sewing projects as a diversion.  My excuse is that I have a freebie coupon to get my abused machine cleaned for free and I still had polar fleece to use up.  Now that's out of my way, I really have no excuses to delaying my agent letters.

Jess is threatening to kick my a character in my head can actually kick my butt I've got no idea, but if any of my characters can do it, Jess can.  I promised her I'll introduce you all to her within the next few days.  She's happy that she's first on the list as Collie really drives her batty in so many ways.  She likes Merie though, because Merie thinks it's funny when God picks Satan up by his blond curls to shake him like a rag doll.  The visuals I get off of that make me laugh out loud, which makes people look at me funny.  These outbursts happen randomly and I'm finding it hard at times to control it during meetings when I'm bored.

I miss my LGBT kids at work who so patiently listened to me talk about the book and who understood why I was at my desk laughing at my laptop screen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Progress...sort of

I verified my target agents email and snail mail address.  Now I have to decide which method I should use.  One costs no money, the other costs, but may get it in his face faster.  Decisions, decisions....

I do have the synopsis done though.  I corrected several typos and grammatical mistakes in the first book and added notes to the 2nd book in the series.  Even Collie got a bit of attention today and I've left her hanging for more storyline since November.  I failed horribly in my first attempt at NaNoWriMo (, only reaching 15,000 out of 50,000 words.

The other part of my day was spent downloading technical training materials.  I'm overdue for some new learning and this is one really cheap way to do.  I'm not naturally cheap, however with budget cuts and such I have to get truly creative with obtaining new knowlege.  The bane of IT workers changes so often we're constantly retraining.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Random thoughts on Prayers and Laziness

Readers Alert: This post has little to do with writing...just an observation as to why I'm not getting letters done.

I feel better now.  That is after reading MaryJanice's blog and her self admitted laziness.  It's not that I'm actually being lazy...just not feeling like writing much this weekend.  You see, we lost a very sweet kitten last weekend and it's hitting us pretty hard this weekend, so I've been doing other stuff to occupy my time in an vain attempt to occupy my brain.  Didn't quite work.

Instead, I had the random thought that I hadn't heard from a dear friend who's fighting cancer since sometime before the holidays.  This is odd and not necessarily a good sign.  You see, she's one of the beings (beings because I include humans and animals) on my soul's prayer list.  I always have a prayer list going, even though I'm not overtly religious.  I have this running list that I post in my soul and delegate to my soul to take care of while I go about other tasks.  It's a very convenient method of multi-tasking, but when one of the souls I'm praying for jumps off that list and into the forefront of my brain it's not usually a good sign.  Kind of like how I knew my father wasn't going to make it out of the hospital after his second heart attack.  So I'm hoping she's okay and just super busy at the moment.

My employer wouldn't be pleased that I leave my praying duties to my soul to perform on my behalf.  I work for a conservative Christian organization, which I find very hard at times as I'm openly supportive of the LGBT community as a whole, while my employer does not.  I have had some very interesting (and enlightening) converstations with people at work.  Anyway, they view prayer as a very active, and required, duty, while my view point is different.  I figure that God's very busy and I'm sure God's okay with my particular "prayer method" and may even appreciate the fact that I'm trying to lighten the load a bit.

So, I'm concerned.  I hope to hear from my friend soon and that all is okay, as I hope it is.  After the loss of our sweet, lovely kitten (only 6 months old) to Lymphoma, I'm understandably worried.  I just have to remind myself that all my beloved pets are together, playing on a farm somewhere under Pop's watchful eye, and having a blast.

Enough melancholy...hoping for a brighter day tomorrow when I can concentrate on those oh-so-important agent letters that aren't going to be magically written for me.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Agent Hunting

I did it!  I found the agent information I was looking I just need to get the letter drafted and off to him.  Patience will be much needed as their lead time for a response is anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.  I'm hoping that because he has an author that is in the same genre that he might be piqued...especially since she's one I read anytime a new book comes out.

MaryJanice Davidson doesn't use an agent, she represents herself, but she's also well published.  So I decided to follow Victoria Laurie's route and get an agent.  And it will be her "fault" if I end up with the same agent; as it was in one of her books that had lots of links to my life that she mentioned her agent by name in the forward.  I took it as a sign.

I have to, don't I?  After all, my main character has similar abilities to one of her main characters...not the one in the book I was reading, but still it's the thought.

I was perusing another blog today that led to a link that points out the odds of being able to be a successully published author (meaning you earn enough on your books to just be a writer and nothing else) are somewhere between 1 in 200 to 1 in 500.  Here's to hoping my luck holds out!  I was accepted to the only university that I applied to (much to my mother's anguish...that I only applied to 1 university, not that I was accepted).

Wish me luck!  Mostly to getting the agent letter done...then luck that he'll pick me up...and then luck we'll find a publisher to find it.

And once I get those agent letters shipped off, I'll try to introduce you to the ladies, as well as the new Miracle Max and Fairy series children's book ideas I have.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why Now?

Had you asked me a few decades ago, heck even a few years ago, if I would ever be a writer of fiction I would have laughed and said you were crazy. I write business documents, technical documentation, and end-user instructions, not fiction. Yeah, right!

That was all before I had a dream that caused me to write a complete 50,000+ word novel in a little less than a month. Yep, a novel.

My Aunt is an artist and a writer, my cousin is a writer, in fact one cousin is a published author and has a Master's in English Lit. Me, I'm a computer geek. So, when the stories first started coming I asked my Aunt about her writing, to see if I was going nuts or if this is "normal" for us. Turns out it's normal - for us anyway.

I've come to the conclusion that I must be experiencing "early dementia" as both Alzheimer's and Dementia run in the family. I decided to embrace this new stage of my life and write the first story. Half way through the novel a new character popped up and I started her book, then a third character chimed in and - whaddya know - I now have 1 novel complete, 2 others started, and the first novel is quickly becoming a series with books #2 and #3 started in some fashion.

I'm not a trained writer, in fact English was one of my weaker subjects. I have no idea how to get a book published, but I'm learning. Thanks to help from some of my favorite authors - MaryJanice Davidson and her book "Escape the Slush Pile" is a great read and offers lots of advice - Monica Ferris has answered every question I've thrown at her, and Maggie Sefton eased my concerns that I might - in fact - be crazy. It was comforting to know that other writer's characters "talk" to them as well.

This blog is the first I've ever had. I don't want to look at a computer when I get home and I never bought into the pressure to have my own website or my own blog. (To tell the truth I find it all very narcissitic) . So why now? Because apparently it's something writers need to be doing in order to help sell books. So here it is.

Should you feel so inclined...follow me as I get through the process of writing agent letters, negotiating the pitfalls of contracts (in case I get one) and how to take the criticism of your mother who holds a degree in English and doesn't like the fact that one of your main characters swears like a sailor, and because of that she refuses to read the completed book, instead preferring the other two characters who don't swear like a sailor. In fact one talks to God (who's a woman by the way) but that's for another day.