August 30, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #39

It's tough to believe that it's been almost a week since I submitted to Pitch Madness.  Many writers have banned together to read, nearly obsessively, the intentionally vague notes of slush readers on our entries, posted publicly on Twitter.  As far as we know, 185 (out of 487) entries made it into round two.  Unfortunately, we shall never know which. We do know that after round three (yep, two more sessions of whittling down those 185 pitches), there will be 60 entries chosen. 

Besides the usual fun of diving into the photo prompts, Flash! Friday has actually provided a welcome, if brief, distraction from stressing over Pitch Madness.  This week's prompt (below) allowed us 300 words (+/- 10) with which to explore and play.  As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Unicornio, by Salvador Nunez, shared as part of the Peru Arte Valor effort.

August 27, 2013

Political Agendas in Romance Novels

During the Blogger Book Fair, I asked readers which topics they would like to see addressed on my blog. One asked me to discuss "advancing political agendas in romance novels." Here goes!

In one way or another, everything we write hints at our political stances. In the case of romance novels, the politics of sexuality are an obvious example: an author who includes homosexual couples automatically touches on modern politics. That is not, however, unequivocally a sign of pushing a political agenda. Neither is, for instance, addressing the issues associated with an unwanted pregnancy.

August 23, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #38

It's Friday, and despite my trepidation over tomorrow's Pitch Madness, I am determined to write something.  Here goes! 250 words, +/- 10 on this photo: 

“Where Next,” painting by Edward Frederick Brewtnall (1846 – 1902). Public domain.

August 22, 2013

Query Shark

I've been busy.  So busy that lately I've been horribly remiss in updating my blog or socializing on those networks we all love (or hate, depending on our mood).  Just when I began slowly resurfacing, I came across Query Shark, a blog on which an agent comments on submitted queries [submitted to the blog, not to her as an agent].  

I have now fallen into the trap of reading all of the posted queries, starting with the oldest.  While with research, it is fairly easy to avoid some of the most common pitfalls appearing in what I've read so far, it is invaluable to see inline reactions to a selection of queries spanning many genres and styles.  Between this discovery and continually revising my submission for Pitch Madness, it's likely I will not truly resurface for at least a few more days.  But Query Shark should certainly give you plenty to read!

August 17, 2013

Friday Flashed By

Unfortunately, the unavoidable busy-ness of my day meant I had to skip this week's Flash! Friday prompt.  I'm told this weeks entries are hilarious, so do go check them out!

In other news, Life Under Examination is now officially available for sale through Barnes & Noble!  I have to say, from the author perspective, I found the ability to edit an uploaded manuscript directly through the Nook Press interface to be invaluable. As opposed to other online distributors, which would require an author to correct and re-upload in a trial-and-error method, Nook Press provides the options to both preview and modify the file which will be on sale, ultimately allowing for a better quality product and a less frustrating process for the author. 

This weekend is filled with birthday parties for me, which means fun with family but unfortunately less time to write.  What about you? How are your weekends going?

August 14, 2013

Plugging Away

I'm deep in the thick of this novel, and things are getting pretty heated between my characters, so they're demanding all of my attention! As of last night, I'm about halfway to my arbitrarily set goal:

The need to set a word count goal is interesting.  On the one hand, I know that I will tell the story in however many words it needs—whether that's 50,000 or 90,000. On the other, having a specific goal allows me to measure my progress in a more quantifiable way, for instance via the graphic above, and I've found that helps me appreciate and strive for that progress. So how did I choose my goal of 75,000 words? It's approximately the length of my previous novel, and I know where it fits in the industry standards, having researched them a while back. For more on word counts and setting a reasonable yet marketable goal, check out this post.

As I mentioned, I'm also in the midst of some steamy scenes. I know this can be a point of weakness, anxiety, or even contention for some writers and readers, which is something I recently addressed in a guest post, Shifting the Spotlight on the Deed.

I hope those provide some food for thought as I plug away on the muddled middle of this manuscript.

August 11, 2013

Guest Post: Creating a Media Sheet

by Donna Huber

I'm often hired by authors to assist in contacting reviewers. If all they've hired me for is blogger outreach, I put together a media sheet for the book I'm pitching. Basically, it's a pared down media kit. For the busy author (and what author isn't busy?), I highly recommend having a media sheet specific to the book you are promoting. It allows for the quick and easy dissemination of information to bloggers. Also, it looks professional and is a great resource to have on hand.

Most bloggers, when accepting your request for a review or to host you, will ask for some basic information. By having this media sheet done, you won't have to worry about finding all the pieces, or leaving anything out by accident. It can also provide information to the blogger about your book without making your pitch long-winded. If you don't already have a media kit, it can also serve as the basis for one.

August 9, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #36

This week, Rebekah has limited our stories with an exact word count of 99!  In case you think that's too short, don't forget to pop over to these two posts, published today:
The Desperate Dating Game of Self-Publishing, on the Writer Diaries
& Shifting the Spotlight on the Deed, on Into Another World
And now for this week's prompt:

August 6, 2013

Looking Back & Moving Forward

Right around when I began this blog,  I wrote a general plan for the upcoming months. Incredibly, that plan, with some unexpected additions, has actually been fulfilled! It seems like time, then, to lay out a new plan for the upcoming months:
  • Finish my 2nd manuscript.  Though my Camp NaNoWriMo goal has been met, there is still quite a ways to go before this draft is finished (as illustrated by the fun graphic below.)  
    • And then that draft will need to be edited.
  • Participate in Pitch Madness, a contest hosted by Brenda Drake:
    • A 24-hour window to submit a 35-word (max) log line and the first 250 words of a completed manuscript for a chance to make it into the final round, judged by a slew of agents.
  • Anxiously await results of the preliminary rounds of the RWA chapter contests in which I've entered K&S.
  • Begin book #3 for November's NaNoWriMo.

What are your goals for the upcoming months? Share them in the comments!

August 5, 2013

Celebrating 6 Months!

It has officially been 6 months since the start of this blog!  It has been quite the whirlwind adventure, with March's Flash Blogging Challenge, the weekly Flash! Friday contests, guest posts, giveaways, the Blogger Book Fair, and so much more.  To thank all of you who have been along for the ride so far, I've decided to give my poetry collection, Life Under Examination, away FREE!!

To get your free copy: 

Honest reviews would of course be greatly appreciated. Reviews can be posted on Amazon, Goodreads, or directly on Smashwords.  This offer will only be good for the next two weeks, so snag your copy today!  

August 3, 2013

I'm Not a Real Writer

Everywhere I look, there seems to be a new rule for "what writers do" and "how to be a writer." Don't believe me? Click here. To be clear, I don't mean grammar or technical guidelines. I do follow those, or break them conscientiously.

What have I learned from countless tweets and articles? Apparently I'm not a writer; I really don't follow any of the rules. 
  • I don't write every day. 
  • I do go back and edit before I finish a draft.
  • I don't write whatever comes out and then worry about whether it makes sense only when working on the second draft. 
  • I don't outline beforehand to know where I'm going, but I also don't write hundreds of pages of nonsense that need to be rewritten or deleted.
  • I don't post on this blog based on a preset schedule. 
    • Would you rather I did?
  • I don't read books every day either.
  • I'm sure there are more . . .
To be honest, most of these rules I learned after I had finished my completed manuscript, and long after I had first been published, so it's not like I purposefully attempted to break them. Still, I'm not about to change what works for me because someone else says it's wrong. I'd rather skip a day of writing than throw away the resulting pages, and I'd rather skip a day (or week) of reading if what I really want to do is spend hours writing the scenes in my mind. (Of course, reading some kind of text is inevitable, but I mean honest-to-goodness books, digital or otherwise.)

August 2, 2013

Flash! Friday: Prompt #35

Apparently Rebekah wasn't thrilled with the slaughter last week.  This week's prompt is even more innocent, in theory anyway.  Let's see what comes of it! Anywhere between 100 & 200 words plays, on this photo:

Photo by Bild Bundesarchiv, WikiCommons