April 30, 2013

Imagination vs. Observation

We've all heard it more times than we could count: "Write what you know!" Indeed, as writers, we spend an inordinate amount of time and effort on observing the world around us, to amass a solid basis of that which we know. And yet, if writers were to transcribe the literal events around them, no one would read past the first couple pages (if that).

This is where a writer's imagination comes into play. Our observations weave together into a patchwork cloth which our imaginations then transform into an entire wardrobe (i.e. collection of stories).  

April 26, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #21

This weeks Flash! Friday entry! A requirement of 100 words exactly (excluding title) based on the picture prompt below.  What comes to your mind? 

Photo courtesy of Flash! Friday's site 

Innocent Envy

The grass tickled her toes as Sarah watched the others running, leaping, tackling – frolicking. Everything from the trees, to the boulders, to the piles of fallen oranges fell pray to their games, brushed by every hand. Sarah dug her own fingers into the dampened earth to the side of her blanket.

Other than her, the only excluded object was a lone ladder, stretching into the sky. Maybe someday soon she’d be able to climb it, see what mysteries rested at the ladder’s edge.

“Catch!” Sarah heard seconds before an orange plopped beside her.

Bobby followed, grinning. “How’s the leg today?”

For Everly: Cover Reveal, Poll, & Giveaway!

I haven't done this before on my blog, but I've decided to begin supporting upcoming releases of other authors with guest posts and giveaways, for some additional variety in my content.  First up is Raine Thomas, also a romance novelist, with some exciting news about her upcoming novel, For Everly!

For Everly
A New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel
Raine Thomas

Raine Thomas is so excited to share the new cover of her upcoming New Adult novel, For Everly. There’s only one problem: she can’t decide which it will be!

April 22, 2013

Pseudo Pseudonyms

Many authors choose to publish under a pseudonym. Reasons for choosing a pseudonym vary depending on era, genre, etc.—and sometimes just personal preference. Some writers want to keep their writing distanced from the view of their loved ones, others want to keep their readers distanced from their personal lives, and others still have their choice forced by instances of gender bias.

In the modern world, there are many completely understandable reasons for publishing under a pseudonym.

April 19, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #20

This week's attempt in response to the Flash! Friday prompt.  Rebekah encouraged humorous posts, to lift spirits after this week's traumatic events, though it seems many of us struggled with a comedic tone. What do you think?  (Check out the comments on the Flash! Friday page to read some more stories!)

Untold Trauma

"See! What did I tell you?" Andrew announced, shoving a newspaper in front of Eliane. 

She gasped, hand flying to caress the red jewels adorning her neck.  "It can't be!  How could they?? I shan't believe it!"

April 18, 2013

Writers, Unite!

I am relatively new to the virtual writing community, so I have not (yet?) ceased to be amazed by the true sense of community and camaraderie shared by aspiring and published writers alike.  Writers from all over contribute their time and words to events (such as BlogFlash or AprilPrompts) or to free contests which promise only exposure and fun (such as Flash! Friday), not to exclude of course community attempts to encourage writing productivity (such as NaNoWriMo & NaPoWriMo).

I hope, then, that this community will join me in supporting the Scripting Change Project, which offers writers the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world while doing what we do best: writing! 

April 16, 2013

Blogs and Boston

While I feel uncertain what exactly to say about yesterday's bombing at the Boston Marathon, it also feels inappropriate to me to write about anything else just yet. I studied and worked in Boston, lived there for many years, and I may no longer be a physical part of that community, but in many other ways, I still am. I have many friends in Boston, both those I met there and some whom I know from back in high school, who later moved there. I knew people running the marathon, spending the day cheering others on, or even simply stopping by after work—right when the unimaginable happened. 

Personally, I found out about the explosions near the finish line via the radio while on my way home. I didn't know what to think, but I did know that certain friends had recently been training for the marathon. Immediately, I, like many, spent time Facebook stalking, g-chatting, texting, calling, etc.—reaching out first to those I knew had a high probability of being nearby, and then to everyone else. Some friends I instructed to post publicly about their welfare as soon as they had a chance, because in that moment of public panic that spread around our worldwide network, literally the fastest way to check on someone's welfare was monitoring when their last post happened (on Facebook, Twitter, or otherwise), or by quickly checking in through a chat mechanism. Some others had heard sooner, and assured me that all of our mutual friends & acquaintances had already been tracked down and were safe.

I spent hours watching news broadcasts recapping over and over the same statements about the event, slipping nuggets of new information among the recitations, and then hours more monitoring "breaking news" sources online. Along the way, I saw heartbreaking photos and personal accounts, comforting stories of heroes at the scene, and unfortunately, many judgmental and angry responses—anger not at the attacker, but at those of us devastated by this attack.

The Boston Marathon is an international, apolitical event, and an attack on its spectators is nothing but a malicious attempt to instill fear, while irrevocably harming innocent bystanders. We are all lost in the wake of this nonsensical tragedy, horrified by the lives lost and the physical and emotional damage caused, with no understanding, and that, I believe, strikes more fear in all of us. This is terrorism, not because of some (unclear) political agenda, but because of the lives ruined, thousands or millions more affected, all for the exclusive purpose of just that—terrorizing a widespread community by causing the most damage at a time when traditionally thousands come together in celebration.  

One news source called this an echo of the September 11 attacks. I can only hope this is the final ripple in the years since then which have been filled with terror. Pragmatically, I fear that's unlikely to be the case.

April 13, 2013

Quick Note on Queries

So, I (clearly) have no idea what the fate of my query letter is at the moment, however, I have come across an interesting site I find worth sharing: SlushiePile Hell.  

This page displays quotations from query letters sent to (and perhaps from other communication with) an agent, along with that agent's response.  Let me just say, if those snippets are demonstrative of the vast majority of query letters, then I have significantly more confidence in the future of my query.  Plus, the comments are rather entertaining, so there you go.

As an aside, I am quite excited to have received an honorable mention for my Flash! Friday post and encourage you to check out all the other stories!

April 12, 2013

Flash! Friday

So, recently I discovered an interesting contest called Flash! Friday, which offers a photo prompt and word limit for short fiction.  This is my first attempt, based on today's prompt (number 19).

Bridal Shower

Okay, this is not what I meant when I said I would have liked a small bridal shower!  The tiny droplets were crystalizing on her dress before seeping into the fabric as Amy rushed to the little gazebo that had been the reason she had finally been talked into using this hall.  On the plus side, nothing was getting through the shellacked casing that held her hair in place.  Her mother would be pleased.

April 10, 2013

Relationships in Romance

This is somewhat an elaboration on my post explaining why it is I write romance novels. It is perhaps inaccurate to have said that what interests me most is specifically relationships as opposed to people—but then again, people are defined by their relationships (and with a birthday coming up while living somewhere hundreds to thousands of miles away from most of my friends, I am particularly aware of this fact). Even fleeting relationships, such as those created temporarily as we check out in the grocery store, provide insight into the people involved. 

April 9, 2013

Oh, You Write...Romance?

It happens virtually every time: someone asks what I've been doing with myself, and I (humbly, of course) say that I am writing a book, or, more recently, just finished my first book. Responses vary from politely curious to incredibly impressed. People ask about publishing timelines, how querying works, and whether I have considered self-publishing; some offer criticisms about my lack of practicality under the guise of advice on aspects of publishing I clearly never considered (except, of course, I have). Still, to a certain extent, people take my intent to publish a novel seriously. 

Until I mention that I wrote a romance novel.

April 6, 2013

Extraordinary... Like Everyone Else

With a title selected (though it may always be changed & I am choosing to keep it off this blog in the interest of being discreet in case of some quirk of the publishing industry's preferences of which I'm unaware), my novel has now been sent off for my first round of submissions. Now, the waiting game begins.

Technically, the point when a lack of response becomes indicative of anything at all is once three months have passed; then and only then, no response translates into a rejection. Meanwhile, all it means is that your submission is waiting to be read (most likely), or being read, or being considered (wouldn't that be nice?). Then again, it might already be in the rejects pile.

April 2, 2013

Idealistic Practicality

Despite my title woes, the day is soon approaching when I will bite the bullet and submit my first round of queries for my manuscript. As I have mentioned before, I plan to include Avon Romance in my first round of submissions, for a few reasons. 

Avon is a quality publisher and has published books by one of my favorite authors in my genre, so while I acknowledge the fact that I am most likely to be rejected by them, I am also choosing to submit to them first because I would love to be published specifically by them. Rather than submitting to smaller publishers "to get the rejections out of the way," I am choosing to bet on the quality of my work and submit first to my ideal publisher.

Besides having confidence in my work, the reason for this is primarily practical: if I were to submit to other publishers first and hold off on submitting to Avon, and then by some quirk of fate one of those publishers were to agree to publish my work, I could not reasonably ask said publisher to wait months while I submit to Avon in case they, too, would be interested. I also wouldn't feel comfortable accepting a publishing contract elsewhere without knowing whether Avon would have been interested. So, Avon will be in the first round of publishing houses I will be querying. 

April 1, 2013

Tales of Title Woes

A couple days ago, I had lunch with a long-time friend (and avid reader, though not of romance novels), and understandably, our conversation eventually touched on my novel. Naturally, he asked me what my novel is called. Unfortunately, I froze, unable to answer. 

When it comes to my blog, I have so far referred to my novel simply as "K & S", using the initials of my primary characters. When giving my novel to first readers, I chose a title that seemed to have promise in conveying what I wanted, though perhaps imperfectly. For some of the readers, I printed copies, and a difference in MS Word versions changed the width of the text box which encompassed my two-word title, reducing it to a single word: Tweaking.

For those who may not be aware, "tweaking" is a slang term for getting high on meth. Spoiler alert: my novel has nothing to do with drugs. Clearly, this title would not work.