Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Morning funnies in character development

Nearly shot coffee through my nose reading this yesterday morning. (I know. You probably didn't need to know that).

Anyway, the wicked-funny Maggie Stiefvater posted this witty piece on her LJ and Fangs, Fur & Fey. Go forth into character development, and have a good laugh while you're at it. Hysterical. Go check it out! (The last one with Edward and Harry Potter is my favorite).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lost dog! If you live in/near Vancouver/Whistler, BC . . .


(via Colleen): "Writer Kim Werker's beautiful dog Cleo has run off, spooked by the sound of the avalanche-explosives. If you live near the Vancourver, BC area, can you please help her look for her dog? Edit to add: Tracks seen northbound Hwy 99 (past Emerald, Whistler BC)."

Holiday recap

1) Travel: 8 hours in a car with a one-year-old, an eight-year-old and a Great Dane. 'nuff said.

2) Holiday: Fabulous as always. Tons of presents. Knee-deep in wrapping paper. Way too much food and chocolate. (As always). Gained four pounds. Heh.

3) On the writing front: Finished the first pass of revisions, which consisted of line edits and making comments/notes within the manuscript (to help with the second pass). I've also started on the second round and am making good progress.

Before leaving for our travels, I had an amazing phone conversation with my editor about the book. Nearly one and a half hours of coolness. I have to admit to being a little apprehensive and nervous about this call. It was my first brainstorming session with an editor. I'm a writer, not a speaker, so I tend to worry about articulating my thoughts well enough. But, I think I did an okay job . . . Most likely due to the fact that I hit the editor jackpot. Ed is incredibly creative, really easy to talk to and made me feel very comfortable. We came up with some awesome ideas.

Oh, and my copy of the signed contract arrived while I was gone. It's official!

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I'll be traveling for the holidays, so blogging will be sporadic for the next week or so.  I hope everyone is safe and snug during all the hustle and bustle of the season.  And whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish everyone a great one!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Santa came early . . .

I received the following box yesterday, propped next to my front door . . .  
It was heavy and **gasp** it was from Simon & Schuster!  I ripped that baby open and found a hard copy of my revisions with line edit from my editor.  Awesome.    

Then, I went to pick up the empty box and it still felt really heavy.  What's this?  I looked inside and, **gasp #2**, books.  There were books in the box!!  For me!!  Books for me!!

If you can't see, they are:  Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready, Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover, Staked by J.F. Lewis, A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix, and Adrian's, In the Blood, which doesn't come out until Dec. 30th, I believe.  (And some of you might remember my love of Adrian's first book, so I'm way excited to have the second!)  

I heart my editor.     

As for the revisions . . .  Nothing major.  I didn't have any heart palpitations while reading through them.  :-)  Everything looks great and absolutely doable.  In fact, I'm looking forward to digging in and making this book shine. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cheez-it notes

This is how I spent my night last night.  Making notes on a Cheez-It box.  :D  Surprisingly this worked out very well, awesome things occurred to me.  Awesome.  Things.  I think it's the box.  It's magic.

And don't bother trying to zoom and see all my mad scientist ideas -- it won't work.  I made sure.  Bwah, bwah, wha, ha, ha, ha . . .

Monday, December 15, 2008

Authors on air

Courtesy of Fangs, Fur & Fey . . .  Want to hear Jenna Black, Rachel Vincent, Jeaniene Frost & Jeanne Stein talk about writing the first book in a series?  This is really great info and insight for writers as well as readers of these authors.  I listened to it last night and thought it was great.  It's hosted by Eos Executive Editor, Diana Gill.

If you go to the RSS feed, you'll also find the first two episodes of Authors on Air.

Making progress

See that progress bar on the left?  I'm going to update it every Friday with my weekly word count total.  I do have a daily goal that I try to meet, but I know I won't update the code every day.  So every Friday it is.  Hey, just had an idea.  If anyone else wants to check in on Friday with their word counts, feel free in the comments section.  

In other thoughts . . .  This is the first book (Book 2) that I'm writing without a title.  Weird.  I always have the title when I began the rough draft.  But then, this is my first sequel, too, so maybe that's the difference.  Who knows.  It's also the first book I'm writing under contract with a deadline that is not my own.  THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS was already written when I sold, but B2 was sold based on a short synopsis.  

Pressure = motivation.  :D   So say we all.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Just doing my morning rounds in the Blogosphere and got distracted from my intended post by Cheri Priest's new novel, Fathom, which I believe came out a few days ago.  Oh.  My.  God.  I must read this book.  It's wonderfully different, yet has all the fantastical elements I love.  And it's just a whole lot of coolness.  Here's the synopsis on her blog:

An ageless water witch schemes to bring old gods back to glory, but awakening the Leviathan is no small feat–and it’s none too compatible with the survival of humanity. Nevertheless, a handful of ambitious villains are open to recruitment and the ranks of darkness fill with surprising speed. Aided by an eighteenth-century Spanish pirate and his deranged young lover, the witch strives to bring about the end of the world.

But between the cracks hide forgotten old things. Ignored–but far from powerless–they claim a hero of their own. The soul they salvage was destined for a watery grave, but the timing is right and the lingering elementals have better ideas.

Now the End of Days is challenged by a strange and powerful new creature, distilled from stone by a servant of the earth who refuses to surrender his green fields and muddy plains. Not yet. Add to his arsenal a hapless insurance inspector and the irate priest of a fire god, and suddenly rural Florida doesn’t seem quite so sleepy anymore.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guest blogging today!

EDITED TO ADD:  Thanks to everyone for dropping by and reading my guest post yesterday!!  You guys ROCK!

I'm guest blogging over at Fantasy Debut today.  The topic is 'getting my contract'.  Please stop by and check it out!   :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

File it under . . .

Places to visit:  Fantasy Debut.  Tomorrow.  I'll be posting about another milestone.  This one focuses on getting my contract.  Please stop by and visit.  I'll also be stopping by periodically to answer any questions or to comment.

And this one gets filed under Get A Life:  A mom in a nearby school complained about the kindergarten Christmas performance in which her child was participating.  Why?  Because she was offended by the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Says it has "religious undertones".   C'mon.  One, they are FIVE years old.  And, two, as far as X-Mas songs go, Rudolph is one of the most secular songs of the bunch.  Anyway, the school took the song off the list, but then after many complaints by other parents, the school re-examined the song, going over the lyrics line by line to search for any "religious undertones".   Big surprise, they didn't find any.  Rudolph has since been reinstated.   Call it a Christmas miracle, LOL.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I hurt my wrist.  It's swollen, bruised and achy.  And to make matters worse, it's my right wrist, and I'm right handed.  Feels much better today.  Yesterday and last night, not so much; every time I'd lift a finger to type, pain shot down my arm.   I think I might need an x-ray.  Gah.  Note to self:  when you clear the living room and silly-dance with your kids, make sure when you fling arms wide and spin around and around, you're aware of where the walls and corners are, kay?  Not fun when you smack your wrist bone on the corner of the moulding between rooms . . .  

Friday, December 05, 2008

Writing Caves

I don't have a cave. I have a chair, ottoman and laptop. There is an "office area" in my house. It has bookshelves, an old PC, wall calendar, stacks of notebooks, binders and books. But, I cannot write in there. Dunno why. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to take a pic of "The Chair". Sometimes it's "The Couch", which sits diagonal to the chair, but mostly it's the chair and usually there are a bunch of books, notes and crap piled on the side table . . . But I actually cleaned yesterday.

If you want to check out pics of other author's writing caves, Paige Cuccaro has a ton on her website. She's got Kim Harrison, Laurel K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and more . . . Neat site.

My CP, Jenna Black has my favorite office of all time. You will be suitably envious, lemme tell you. Go to Dusted (a very cool blog) to see pics.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Check it out: Blogging Advice for New Authors

Pushing my intended day's post aside because I just read Tia Nevitt's fabulously helpful post at Fantasy Debut, "Blogging Advice for New Authors". Great information. And make sure to check out the comments section, too, as there are some additional tips therein. Well worth the read.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Awesome moments

I meant to post this a while back . . . I was in B&N perusing the Sci-fi/fantasy section and finally picked up fellow S&S author, Chris Evans' gorgeous book, A Darkness Forged in Fire. Chris and I share the same editor, which in and of itself is really cool and mind blowing. i.e., I have an editor, and I am holding one of his books! Awesome moment Number One.

Awesome moment Number Two: I moved down the line to check out the selection of Neil Gaiman titles. And then it hit me. The authors went Gaiman/Gear. Guess who fits smack dab in the middle? Picture me blinking and my jaw dropping in slow-mo. :D

My book is going to be published. It's going to be in the bookstore. It's going to (possibly) be shelved right next to an author whose imagination and worlds have inspired me and strengthened my love for the genre, and whose writing I admire like crazy.

Surreal. Humbling. Moment.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Let there be lights!

Christmas lights. One of my favorite things about the holidays.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Writing when you don't want to . . .

This is one of those things you offer up to the gods of professionalism. Writing when you don't want to. Well, actually you do it for the good of your career (published or not), but don't let the gods know I went there 'cus we all know what a fickle bunch they can be.

So in sickness, health, gorgeous days, rainy days that lull you into clean sheets and soft down matttress pad, and days when you just can't think of a damn thing to write -- write anyway. Even if it's crap. Even if you know before the first word hits the page that it's all going to be a huge, steaming pile of rhino poo. Write the poo. Trust me on this. Write. The. Poo.

Sure, days come up where ::ahem:: poo happens, we need to take off or just need a nice day outside to enjoy. And it's okay to give yourself permission to do so. As long as you get back on track. Or guess what? The next day it's harder, and the next, and the next . . . And before you know it two weeks have gone by.

It's like changing your eating habits or working out. Writing is a habit you must maintain. It (and the muse) won't always maintain itself. This is self-employment, self-discipline at its toughest. You are your own boss. You set your own hours and breaks and time off. And it's so, so easy to turn a one day break into a three day break into a three month break.

I get so much done when I stick to a schedule. And I have noticed over the years when I do allow myself long breaks of no writing, it's tougher every single time to get back into a routine again. And writing when I feel like it is no longer an option. So, it's back to structure and will power, and daily page count offerings to the gods for me!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Note

Dear Ben & Jerry's,

Two words:  Cake Batter.  For this you have my undying love and devotion.  Forever and ever.  I love you.

Yours Always,


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I have so much to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving day.  Family.  Friends.  My online friends and blog readers, fellow writers, my agent, my editor . . .  You all have believed in me and supported me in obvious ways, but also in ways you might not even realize.   So the shout-out goes to you all.  Thank you!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!    

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Devil's Due

You know I didn't plan for this to be book pimpage week, but hey there are some good books coming out!  

Jenna's book is officially out today.  YAY!!  Purchase people.  Purchase.

~happy dancing~


Trust or die, That's the choice Morgan Kingsley, exorcist, is given by the gorgeous rogue demon who's gotten inside her. The truth is, Morgan has dozens of reasons not to trust anyone, from the violence that torched her house and killed her father to a love-life that's left her questioning her relationship with her erstwhile boyfriend, Brian. But Lugh, a King among demons, won't take no for an answer. He's prying into her body, mind, and even her sex life. And he's just pulled Morgan into a power struggle that could have devastating consequences for both the human and demon worlds.

But Morgan still has a job to do: Investigate the highly bizarre possession of the son of a wealthy Philadelphia couple. That hunt leads Morgan into a realm of sexual depravity, then a terrifying kidnapping. Now, a woman who makes her living prying demons from their hosts finds her day job colliding with the night: a darkness that is attracting demons of the damnedest sort, including the one who's about to demand his ultimate due.  

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Gathering of Doorways

If the title alone doesn't grab you, the writing will.  I read Michael Jasper's novel in one sitting.  One sitting.  I was pulled in from the first page, into the lives of the Andersons, their eerie farm and the mysterious Undercity.  And once you're sucked in, that's it.  Might as well accept it and prepare yourself for the ride. Because you'll be compelled to figure out what's going on.  What happened to their young son, Noah when he disappeared into the dark woods?  What's up with the freaky neighbors and those peculiar dogs?  And what the hell is Undercity?  

Opening this novel is like sinking into a hot southern dreamland.  A captivating, unpredictable dreamland full of weird occurrences, fascinating characters, and emotions that are all too real.  The reality of the Anderson's life -- their current struggles and haunting past -- blends and bleeds perfectly into Jasper's strange paranormal landscape.  

Like the Twilight Zone?  Because A Gathering of Doorways is a doorway into the same kind of unknown, and it's one hell of a trip.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Art of Sensuality

Calm down people.  You didn't think this was going to be an "instructional" post now did you?  Hmm?

The title is absolutely fabulous and the writer is equally fabulous.  I am awaiting my copy and can't wait to dive in.  I have a feeling I won't be disappointed.  

Jax Cassidy writes beautifully and has an imagination that will knock you off your feet.  So if you're looking for a new author or just something to curl up with, check her out!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy birthday to the king . . .

King James that is . . .

Today, the boy child completes his first year.

He has had his first hair cut.

And he is walking.

Tonight he will wear cake.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The disconnected , reconnected yo-yo

Grrr. Upgrading from Tiger to Leopard . . . Thought it would be a breeze. Macs are supposed to be a breeze, right? As my friend Emma would say: Le Sigh. It's been a lot of those here lately. Apologies all around for the silence.

I have managed to get online a few times. Ever try to take a baby into the library to use their interent? NOT A GOOD IDEA. Bad, bad idea. Do not try this. For your own safety and those around you, please. Save yourself.

Good news is (even though the iMac is still freezing, won't stay connected to the Internet), I haz new laptop. Yeah. Uh huh. You heard me. New. Lap. Top. :D Isn't she pretty? I luv her. 13" screen. 5lbs. packed with memory and lots o' goodies.

And thanks must go to my agent for her advice. I inquired about this years model, which is the exact same as the 2009's that are coming out now -- same processor, same memory, same graphics card . . . This baby would've cost $1,000+, but I got it for about $350 less. They had one left, still in the box, never opened. Great deal. And yeah, it comes with Vista, but it's Vista Ultimate and quite frankly, it's not bad at all for the things I need to do. Oh, and if you're in the market for a new laptop and prefer the smaller ones, test out the keyboard to make sure you can still write comfortably. Thanks Colleen for that tip, too!

Anyway, I have some great posts lined up for this week and next, so I hope y'all will check back in.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Comfort reads

Need a pick me up?  Just want some fun, witty banter and cute hairless mutant toy dogs with a thing for disco in your read?  Look no more.  Pick up a Susan Donovan book.  They are just the pick me up I need when I want to escape and take a light-hearted journey.  I've read this one three times now and still love it.

Take A Chance On Me
ISBN: 0312983751

A neurotic, hairless dog has witnessed his owner's murder, and it's pet psychiatrist Emma Jenkins's job to discover what he knows. Unfortunately, the dog has been adopted by Thomas Tobin, a pessimistic investigator who spends his life posing as a hit-man

Public Displays of Affection is also a great read . . .

Anyone care to share their own comfort reads?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Want some yummy goodness?

Please stop by Mindy Klasky's cafe press page to check out her new calendar.  The calendar is a tie in to her Jane Madison series and features recipes from Mindy and  fellow authors like me!  I'm June.  :)  Anyway, check it out.  The proceeds go to First Book, which gives kids from low income families the chance to read and own their first book.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin before & after

Yes!  Happy Halloween!  And to celebrate this most awesome of days, here are my pumpkin creations -- before and after . . .


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Criticism . . .

 . . . is your friend.  Repeat after me.  Criticism is your friend.  I'm talking those constructive notes from CPs, judges, editors, agents . . .  Most of them, even ones that might seem harsh (or are harsh) have something of value.  The ones who slam you, offer nothing constructive or useful and seem to be taking their crappy day out on you -- those can go in the trash.  Those only make you second guess yourself.  Anyway, the notes you receive could be something you already know, deep down, needs to be addressed.  It could be something you haven't thought of.  And it could totally go against everything you believe in where your book is concerned.  So what do you do when this happens?


You listen.  To every single thing.  Even if, at first, it totally doesn't 'ring' with you.  Here's my rule of thumb -- if anything at all (even something as small as one word) pulls a reader out of my story to write a note, it's potentially something that could pull another reader out of my story.  So give every comment and note serious consideration.  Try to figure out why that particular thing stuck out.  

Often times, I'll get notes that are spot on and sometimes I know immediately a note doesn't jive with the story I want to tell.  It could even make me bristle at first, but I have to take a moment and remember my rule -- there is a reason that particular thing caused the reader to stop reading, and I don't want another reader being pulled out of the story in the future.  In the end, I might not address the note the way the reader saw it, but I do give it time and thought, and usually I'll end up putting my own spin on things and amend the story in someway.  And there are times when I don't, but that is only after I give it a lot of consideration, look at things from all angles, and talk to the person who gave the note (most often great things come from discussions like this).    

Monday, October 27, 2008

Leopards and spores

Hee.  We have Spore.  'Tis very, very cool.  (And, yes, I know.  Yet another thing to distract me whilst I work).  But, it is Spore.  And it's very, very cool.  :D

We also had to upgrade our iMac Tiger to Leopard.  There's some cool new features, which I probably won't have time to explore because, um, we have Spore!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Title trumped by cold meds

Yeah, so the mind is not working at full capacity.  Still feeling like crap-o-la.  This cold is being very stubborn . . .  

But, some uplifting news.  I spoke with my editor today!  And may I just say, he is great!  Totally cool, down to earth and fun to talk to.  :D  We talked some about revisions, scheduling and working together.  All good stuff, people.  

I'll be getting my edits soon and I can't wait to get back into the book.  It's been a while since I've read through it, so I'll be going in with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Sorry for the silence folks!  The ickies won't clear out of my system and I'm dragging my butt on just about every thing.  Laundry.  Reading email.  Blogging.  Writing.  Checking in with the rest of ya bloggers and journalers out there . . .  

My mom is coming down for a visit this weekend and is staying through Halloween.  Should be fun.  But it means I'll have to tackle the chaos that is my house.  Gah.  

Ooh, and I lost 10lbs so there is a plus to feeling blah.  Heh.  

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tales of a new author

For some reason, I find it vastly entertaining to read about how authors sold their first book.  So, if you're like me, here are two links that are equally interesting and inspiring.  

Scott Carter's The First Book

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Genre endings and the ride

Thinking a lot about this lately.  I expect happy endings in romance.  I expect the mystery to be solved in a mystery novel.  Or in a thriller -- the killer to be stopped.  In these genre books we all know what we're getting.  So what's the point in reading them if we know how it will end?  The journey!  The story, the twists and turns and the paths characters take to get to the end.  

In urban fantasy or YA fantasy, we pretty much know at the end, the main character will triumph over evil or achieve her goal.  Sure, there might be other deeper or minor goals left unrealized (therefore carrying on the series), but in some ways we know what we're getting -- the main plot/goal to be attained.  We read for the ride, for the unexpected road the characters take.  And maybe the bad guy does get away.  It happens.  But the story is usually set-up so that the MC has achieved some victory that she's been trying for throughout the story.

I like books where the heroine does triumph at the end, but I really love a book when she has to give up something, or make unthinkable choices, or makes rash decisions based on emotion -- basically, I like when a MC acts human.  Fallible.  I want to tell her: no, don't do it!  And she doesn't listen.  She doesn't always think rationally.  She makes mistakes.  She isn't this hard, warrior who always wins a fight and makes all the right decisions.  What's the fun in that?    

Monday, October 13, 2008

Auto correct

I love the auto correct feature in Word.  I particularly like the fact that I can go in and list my own most commonly misspelled words and make Word correct them as I misspell them.  So words like:

Cahrlie - Charlie
seh - she
didn;t - didn't
brun - burn
herat - heart
So, whenever I do a spellcheck and notice a word that I consistently misspell (not b/c I can't spell, but b/c I'm typing so dang fast), I just make a note of the word and then go into auto correct and add it to my list.  Auto correct has its own list, but being able to add to it is an enormous time saver.  And my list is long.   Just thought I'd share.  :)

And thanks for the feel better wishes! 

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oy Vey

The trouble with school age children -- they bring home germs.  And they give them to you.  

Such was my night and day.  Been having that ache between my shoulder blades.  Feeling blah.  Throat is "off".   Hope this doesn't turn into something bad.  Gah.  'Tis the season!  :-/

Monday, October 06, 2008

An eight-legged development

Okay, so y'all know about Spidericus Bigassicus, right?  Well, I now realize it's "Bigassica".  A female.   A female that has woven a nest full of little growing babies.  She hung it right against my kitchen window -- the one over the sink.  My daughter is thrilled by his development and has forbidden any removal of said nest, because she wants to witness their "birth".   Gah.  Not sure what to do.  Maybe I'll move it way out in the yard . . .  

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sanctuary and stuff

Tonight is the debut of Sanctuary!!  9 p.m.  Sci-Fi Channel.  I have high, high hopes here people!  The show is based on the fantastic web series, and the new website that Sci-Fi has done for the show is cool beans.

So, last night.  Vice-Presidential debate.   Couldn't watch it.  I know, bad American, but man I thought it was going to be a train wreck.  Glad to see today that it wasn't.  I have it recorded, so I'll watch it this weekend.  So, what did I do to avoid watching, hmm?  Painted my fingernails.  Now, I only paint my fingernails twice a year.  Once (french manicure) for Nationals.  And as soon as October comes, I paint them in honor of thee most awesome of holidays -- Halloween!  So, here's my handiwork.

(And, um, please ignore the crumbs on the keyboard . . . I was hungry. :D)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The rough draft fail-safe

Usually I write my rough drafts all the way through before going back to edit.  But, every so often, (okay, probably more than that) my brain refuses to cooperate and the muse refuses to lift a finger.  So, when it's clear nothing is coming and will not come even if I sit there and stare at the wall for 33 minutes, I go back and edit.  Don't really want to edit.  In fact, I'd rather sit on the couch, stuff my face with chocolate chip cookie dough, and watch History International until inspiration hits me.  

But, alas, when the big engine fails, the fail-safe kicks in and keeps the machine rolling.  Yeah, I'm not actually moving forward when it comes to the the rough draft, but I am fixing things and making my job easier and shorter down the road.  Things is, usually, when I go back and edit, I find my voice and words again -- so this little trick usually does the, er, trick.  Heh.

So what do you guys do when the words won't come? 

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Little gems of research

So, part of secret project is to research word/slang usage in a certain period of history.  Namely, cuss words.  I didn't expect this to be so fun.  But, damn, it is.  Here's a little gem for your reading pleasure -- especially helpful for all you writers out there:  Expletive Deleted:  A Good Look at Bad Language by Ruth Wajnryb.  

WARNING:  For all you folks out there who don't use the F word or like to read about the F word, then please read no further.

This little yellow book is hysterical.  The author goes through several bad, bad words -- their history, usage, the way that they've evolved over hundreds of years.  It's really fascinating.  But what makes this little book a gem for me is the caption under each chapter heading.  The author takes a famous person in history and gives them a quote of what they might have said using the F word.  I don't have the book in front of me, but they go something like this:

Michaelangelo:  "You want what on the fucking ceiling?"  

Elizabeth I:  "Heads are gonna fucking roll."

Picasso:  "Fuck you.  It does too look like her."  

I've been coming up with some of my own, too . . .  "Houston, we have a big fucking problem." Kind of a fun way to let your mind wander when it should be focusing on other things.   

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Long weekend

Hey All,

Sorry for the disappearing act!  We've had quite a time here at Casa Kelly.  Family issues.  And my 10 month old son cracking his head so hard that there was a big horrifying squishy bump on his head, which might have been, according to the doctor, a skull fracture.  Then, running around getting X-Rays, MRIs . . .  Long weekend.  Tense.  Very tense.  He's at that age where he's pulling up, standing on his own, trying to find his balance and doesn't have a clue that he can get hurt.  

Good news is that all tests came back perfectly fine.  Not a problem in sight.  So I can breathe easier now and get back to the daily grind . . .  

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Like I needed this. Damn you Athena.

Another book.  Yeah, I know.  Don't exactly need another distraction from current secret project.  But this one.  This one came fully formed, like Athena bursting forth from Zeus' head, fully grown, armed for battle and with a war cry on her lips.  And it's good people, really frackin' good.  And unique.  Like, horrific dark, gothic, erotic . . .  That's all I'm saying.  It gives me goosebumps and freaks me out in a creepy-crawly way.  

Kind of weird that I've creeped myself out.  And that I like it.  Hmm.  

Off to write notes, maybe even a proposal.  (Okay, so I already have the first ten pages done).  Heh.  Yanno, just to get it all out while it's fresh.  Bad form to ignore the muse when she plays Hephaestus, cleaves your head in two and makes a book come out . . .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This & That

First up -- It's Steampunk Week over at Heather Massey's Galaxy Express!  And there's a great interview on the subject with Colleen Lindsay.  Check it out.  'Tis cool stuff.  And thanks to Colleen, I've added D.M. Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo, among others, to the reading list 'cus, hey, anything that grips a reader enough so that they read it in one sitting and then re-read it, must go on the list. 

Been thinking of titles, and I've got two really awesome possibilities for Book 2 in the Charlie Madigan series.  Also, I am loving how Book 2 starts off.  Let's just say we jump right in and get down and deadly in the first few pages.  :D

Oh, and I finished up a volunteer critique I did (along with my fellow 2008 Golden Heart finalists) for Brenda Novak's Auction for Diabetes Research.  It was fun!  The auction winner asked two really great questions that I'm going to pose here to you all soon.

That's it for now . . .    

Monday, September 22, 2008

Looking ahead

I'm a goal setter.  I like to have a plan.  Now that I've sold and met that particular goal, I spent the weekend thinking a lot about where I want to be in the next five years.  How many books I'd like to have sold.  Series I'd like to write.  That sort of thing.  

I have no intention of spreading myself too thin.  I know my capabilities and limits.  I am very comfortable writing 2-3 books per year.  I can do that without stressing myself and without rushing the final product.  I'd like to work on two different series.  Perhaps in the same genre.  Perhaps not.  That depends on whatever work I end up selling (hopefully) beyond my Charlie Madigan series (the series I am writing for Pocket).  

The options are endless.  Debut authors can sell a second series before their first book comes out on the shelves.  In May Maggie Stiefvater sold SHIVER (which sounds amazing) in a two-book, significant deal to Scholastic, and her first book, LAMENT with Flux, won't be released until October 1st (or thereabouts).  These are both YA.  A few other authors come to mind here, too . . .   Some authors like Rachel Vincent have a few books out on the shelf before jumping into a new genre (YA) and blessing us with more of her wonderful imagination.

My point here is that there are so many ways to approach one's career that it can be overwhelming and confusing.  But, for the most part, I know how I want my career to proceed.  I've had years and years to think about it, to decide what is realistic and doable based on my abilities.  I study the market.  I see how other authors manage their careers.  Of course, all that being said, no one's experience is or will be the same.  Plus, things are always changing.  It helps to have folks in your corner to guide you.  Your agent.  Pubbed friends who have been there, done that.  The most important thing to me is being able to write what I'm compelled to write, what I really want to write, and to be able to share my imagination with others.  And eventually, hopefully, one day make a living doing what I love.
Do you guys plan ahead, set goals?  

Okay, enough of my rambling . . .  I have yet to have my second cup of coffee.  And I need to get back to work -- can't sell anything else unless it's written!    

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Just had lunch with Jen where we stuffed ourselves, chatted about books, publishing, and other career-related stuff.  We also brainstormed.  I can't tell you how helpful it is to bounce ideas off someone and to "think out loud".   To get a slightly different perspective than your own.  It can lead to things you might never have touched upon otherwise.  It can create a ripple affect. Whether or not you end up using the ideas that come up, these sessions always get the creative wheel spinning.   So, that being said, I'm off to write!  Good day.  :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some of my work

Ha!  And you thought I was talking about writing.  :)  It's a rainy, surprisingly cool day.  I'm in a reflective, rather pensive mood this morning and have been staring at one of my clay sculptures.  So, I took him down off his perch and snapped his pic.  I give you Bucephalus.  Well, my interpretation anyway.  He's old.  I sculpted him about 8 years ago.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Warning: Sappiness ensues

Writing is a solitary endeavor, this we all know.  But, for a lot of us, that actual process would not be possible without support and sacrifices from others.  Talking to Colleen the other day about the Hubby, what he does for a living and how much he travels, reminded me of the sacrifices he has made to make my publishing dream come true.  He works.  A lot.  So that I can stay home to write, raise our kids and work on my degree.  And sometimes, it's a struggle to make ends meet.  But he's always had my back, always believed in supporting me and my dream.  He wants me to do this.  He wants me to succeed.  When I look back and think on the many years that we've had together, I just can't believe that I have someone like him on my side.  He gets it.  He gets me.  He's one hell of a dad, and it doesn't hurt that he's smokin' hot either.  ;-)  It's my ultimate dream to one day be able to take over the financial reins and support him -- to allow him the opportunity to rest and explore his dreams. 

Occasionally, he skims through my blog.  And, yeah occasionally, I have to embarrass him.  Consider this one of those times.  Hi honey!  :D

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Mister Coffeemaker

What has happened to us?  In the years we've been together, you've always been reliable and hot.  But now things are getting . . . lukewarm.  When we first met you stated quite clearly that with proper care, we'd last forever.  I believed you.  I even left my old MC for you.  You won me over so completely.  And I've done everything right.  Why aren't you hot for me anymore?  You know how much I like it like that.   Do you want me to go and find another, younger, hotter Mister Coffee?  Is that it?  It's like you don't even care anymore.  I'm sorry, I can't keep doing this every  morning, trying to make the relationship work, hoping that this time things will be different.   I'm gonna have to let you go.  But it's not like you care.   I hate you for this. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life's too short . . .

. . . to deal with negative people or those who stress you out.  And while you might have a few of those in the family tree or at work -- those you can't exactly walk away from -- you can distance yourself, or not get involved in their drama as much as you might have in the past, or just accept that some are not going to change and let their negativity pass you by instead of giving it permission to eat away at you.  But really I'm speaking more about energy-sucking acquaintances, those who feed on stress and negativity, those who thrive on drama and gossip, and will often create it just to get their fix.  If you can, part ways with these energy-suckers.  Just don't go there, you know?  Distance yourself.  Move on.  Or don't get involved if you know deep down it's going to be a strain.     

As a creative person, being stressed-out can completely stifle you.  It's counterproductive.  It becomes more than personal when it starts interfering with your job.  You find yourself thinking about the source of your stress constantly and actually caring too damn much about something you have little control over.   The one thing you can control, however, is how you allow others to affect you.    

I'm lucky in that I  have a terrific family and great friends.  But everyone faces negative feeders, or those who expect you to treat them great, but in return do not do the same for you.  Those you have, time and time again, given the benefit of the doubt and have perhaps made more than enough excuses for.  So, I have vowed to try and surround myself with positive people who get what relationships and living is all about.  Who actually treat others the way they want to be treated.   Simple concept, eh?

And I have a question now that I ask myself every morning.  "How do you want to live this day?"  It reminds me that life is too damn short to spend hours  stressing out or being pulled under by someone else's issues.  Ya know?  I'm not talking about those you care about.  If my sister is suffering, I suffer with her.  I'm just speaking about negative folks who don't truly care about or respect the relationship they have with you.  

I don't want to get to the end of a precious day and realize I wasted it all on stress.  I have better things to do with my time.  :)  

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Posts to bookmark

Or cut and paste.  Save for when you need them.  They are just that good:

Wicked smart Colleen Lindsay has been posting a "Pimpin' Your Book" series.  Ever wonder about ARC's, the difference between marketing and publicity, the financial ins and outs of bookstore events?  Check them out:

Monday, September 08, 2008

The view outside my window

I present Spidericus Bigassicus . . .

English Translation:  Big Ass Spider

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm a guest blogger at Fantasy Debut!

Just a quick note before I'm off to do my evening writing.  Tia Nevitt of the fabulous Fantasy Debut asked me last week if I'd be interested in doing a guest post on one of my previous blog posts about 'switching gears' or letting go of the aspiring writer mentality and moving on to that of contracted author.  

We expanded on the concept a little and I'll be posting on her blog from time to time to give an insider's look into the milestones I'll encounter as I work my way up to my release date.  I hope you can stop by and post a comment!  Needless to say, I'm a little nervous and hope folks enjoy the read . . .  

Dealing with reviews? Make a video!

I got this via my author friend Kay Cassidy.  So funny.  It's author Brad Meltzer's way of dealing with some of the not so great reviews for his book, THE BOOK OF LIES.  The ending comment from the grandmother almost made me spew coffee all over the keyboard.  Check it out.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Still in my jammies

Been writing all day.  :D   Must stop.  Work-out.  Shower.  And eat something other than Oreo Cookies and Cheetos.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Writers, need a web designer?

Websites.  Are they important?  Hell yes.  As a published/contracted writer, having a website or a blog is essential in today's internet world.  Even an aspiring writer benefits from launching that blog or website early in the game.  So, today, for those thinking of going with a professional designer, here's a list of designers who've created some pretty nice writer websites.  And for those planning to do their own, take a look at the designer's portfolios -- they can be a great source of inspiration and ideas.

As soon as I receive my cover art (and I'm given the go ahead to make it public), I'm planning to hire a web designer to incorporate the design into my website to give it a more streamlined look.  Feel free to add to the list in the comments section.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Coming full circle

Go back to 2003.  I'd just completed Bed & Breakfast, my first contemporary romance, which when I think about it now was really paranormal chicklit.  I was a huge fan of the romance published by Pocket and when I was making my dream list of publishers, they were at the top of my list.  So when I was flipping through one of my old notebooks the other day (yes, I keep everything I write) and saw this, I had to laugh.  Funny how things turn out.  I ended up selling to Pocket, albeit five years later and with an urban fantasy, but what a fun moment to see this!  

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Head like a hole

Just came on the ipod.  Damn that brings back memories.  ;-)

Speaking of heads . . .  Did you know that migraines can actually cause teeny tiny lesions on the brain?  Too small to actually produce any kind of symptoms, or affect you in any way.  Or so says my neurologist as he pointed them out to me on my scan.  I've suffered from migraines for over a decade now.  Not fun.  I can go months without having one and then bring on stress, bad sleep and presto!  Migraine.  Factor in new baby (which equals no sleep and stress) and you can pretty much guess how my head has been feeling for the past nine months.  I get 1, sometimes 2, migraines per week.  I see auras.  Tiny dancing crosses that glow gold and white.  So, I know it's coming.  And I place this paper-thin slip of melting anti-migraine drug on my tongue and in under a minute, migraine is retreating.  Love it.  My doctor wants me to take a preventative medication everyday to stop the migraines from even showing up, but the ones I have tried so far make me feel sluggish and "off".  And I can't write when I feel that way.  I don't like feeling that way at all.  So I'm sticking to my miracle tabs.  

I need my medicine, but my insurance company has suddenly decided that I only need to get four pills (no more tabs!) per month.  Four.  Wtf?  Don't get me started.  

And my poor, beautiful reading glasses have been squished under the foot of an eight year old eye glass killer.  Which means I can't stare at the PC as long as usual without my eyes hurting and going all squirrelly.   'Cus if I do . . .  you guessed it -- migraine.   

Wasn't this a fun post?  :D

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Planning ahead for 2009 events

I'm planning ahead this year.  There are three events, I'm definitely shooting for:  the PASIC conference in March 2009 in NYC.  PASIC is the Published Author's Special Interest Chapter of RWA, and the conference is a three-day event designed for authors.  I've heard great things about this event. 

The second is held in April -- the annual RT Convention in Orlando, FL.  I've thought of going many times over the years, mainly to utilize the great workshops, meet up with friends and make connections. And, of course, there are those fabulous vampire and fairy balls. Unfortunately I've never actually made it there. 

And third is RWA's National Conference, July 2009, held in D.C.  -- And I can drive there!  Yay! I have no clue yet as to my exact release date, so I'm not sure if my book will be out in time for the massive literacy signing, but wouldn't that be awesome?

So, these are the events I'm aiming for as of now.  There are a few more I'd like to attend, but I'll have to wait and see . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Series bible . . . check!

I'm a little stunned by how enormous my series bible for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS turned out to be. I'm usually my own worst critic, but I'm really happy with the world I've built and the characters I've created. It took a long time to go through the manuscript and cull details for the bible. This is a good thing, though. It tells me that I've woven my world facts and details into the story versus a lot of info dumping, which is never a good thing.

Having all these descriptions and facts in one place is going to be way helpful as I work on Book 2. Consistency is the key. I want my world and characters to come to life and the reader to always feel like, when an old character reappears in subsequent books, that it's like visiting a friend, someone they've come to know and can envision easily. If one of my guy's skin naturally smells like faded cologne and cedar, then it needs to smell that way in the next book. And sometimes as I speed along in my writing I might forget little details like this. So having a bible is a great way to keep me true to the characters and the world of Underground Atlanta and beyond.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Letting go

In the wake of my sale to Pocket, I'm finding it odd to let go of my old mindset.  I spent years researching agents, writing up queries, keeping track of everything, sending out partials, and pitching at conferences.  I still feel like I need to sell myself and my work and that I'm not doing enough. It's surreal after all that time to switch gears and leave that mentality behind.  I know as a published author I'll have to sell myself and my work to readers -- there is so much to consider and do in that area. And I'm excited and ready to share my imagination with others. It's just a weird place I find myself in -- leaving one stage behind and immersing myself in another.  And don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  I love being where I'm at! I have a great agent, and an awesome editor and publisher. My books have a home. And I'm so happy you could pinch me a million times and I wouldn't feel a thing.  I'm settling in and getting used to this new stage of my writer's journey.  Maybe part of it, too, is that I'm still in disbelief!  I think once I see my cover for the first time, it will really sink in that this is all for real.  

Friday, August 22, 2008

Who's bigger?

My little boy is all grown up now.  Guess I can't call him a puppy anymore, not when he might weigh in more than my mom.  Looking at this pic I can't decide who's bigger, Yeager or my mom. 

I do know I need a bigger house!  

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I've held onto this book for almost two weeks.  It's a gorgeous book.  700 pages.  A story I have waited to read for years.  Pined after, really.  I mean, who hasn't read the Dark-Hunter novels and not been completely captivated by Ash?  Every time he made an appearance, I clung to every word, every description, every tiny bit of information that might shed light on him and his past.  He is the 'top of the food chain' when it comes to heroes.  The ultimate.  And suddenly, after all these years of Dark-Hunter loyalty and fan-dom, I couldn't pick up his book and read it.  I knew once I did the mystery would be solved.  

But yesterday morning, I finally picked it up.  I finished it in the wee hours of this morning, and it was all that I hoped and imagined it would be.  I felt ill for him.  I cried for him -- yes, I admit it.  And today, I feel sad.  Sad for him and all he suffered.  Yeah, I know, he's only a character. But he's a character I've come to love like no other.  And I'm sad that the mystery is gone.  Yet, I wanted to know.  Had to know.  Needed to know.  And I wouldn't have had it any other way.   I loved the story.  

I'm glad the DH series will continue, and can't wait to see what happens next, what new characters appear and what legends will be born.  

And I am looking forward to the day when Simi is finally allowed to eat that bitch heifer goddess!!  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Duh moments

Edited:  I don't know why blogger is changing my text size to this massive font...  Gonna try and fix.  Again.  Grrrr.

Have you ever been so absorbed in something that you lose the ability to process outside information?  I mean, like completely blanking out.  

First up, the Hub is speaking to me on the couch.  The subject of which is pretty important.  But this preview for a new show on Sci-fi comes on (Sanctuary, I think) and I watch it, thinking that I can hear and process both things at the same time.  But, no go.  The preview goes off.  I look over and he's just looking at me.  He knows.  I laugh.  Really, it can't be helped.  I tell him I'm sorry, I got distracted, and he says, "Okay, so what was the last thing you heard?"  And I say, "The part where you said, So what do you think about-  I didn't hear anything else after that."  He wasn't amused.  I find this odd, because his mouth was moving, he was speaking during the entire preview (at least 1-2 minutes) and I didn't hear anything.  Nothing.  :D  Oops.  

Second up and the thing that prompted this post.  I'm on the Mac writing, and I call my daughter (she's upstairs) to help me with the baby for a second so I can finish what I'm doing.  No answer.  I walk to the bottom of the steps and call.  Nothing.  I call again.  I bang the wall.  No response.  I go up the steps, irritated now (because I know she can hear me), and bang on her door, then run back down the steps so Baby Boy doesn't follow me up.  Nothing.  I pick him up, go back up the stairs and into her bedroom.  She is not there.  What the hell?  I stand there knowing I must have missed something.  And then it hits me.  I seem to remember her and her friend standing behind my computer chair and commenting on something.  Ah ha! They went to her friend's house!  I remember them asking and me saying yes. How I totally blanked on that, I don't know. 

I've been in deep writer's thought before -- you know, thinking of a scene or dialogue and putting the chips in the fridge and the milk in the pantry, or filling a pitcher of water for the dog's bowl and then walking over to the trash and dumping it in.  I'm usually pretty good at deep thought while focusing on my external surroundings and/or tasks, but lately . . .  

Please tell me I'm not alone.  :-/   

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


You know, I was thinking of this yesterday when I wrote that bit about using the 3x5 cards to aid in synopsis writing.  The cards are great to use for plotting a book, too.  And it doesn't have to be the cards, it can be sticky notes, or whatever.  The nice thing about having each event on a separate piece of paper is that you can move things around, change the pacing, see how scenes will work before you actually start writing an outline or writing the story.

I've been writing without much plot work lately, but being able to move scenes around and see things from a broad perspective like this allows me to stay on track or to visual something that I might be having a problem with.  Some writers use sticky notes, dry erase boards or cards.  Whatever works for you.  I like using the cards and then setting them out on the floor.  And sometimes I make up cards after writing the rough draft, so I can see what's happened overall and check pacing, subplots, etc.  

And using this method is really great for book proposals, when you have your partial but you need a finished synopsis to show your agent or editor how the book will progress and end. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thoughts on writing a synopsis

Not my favorite thing in the world.  But here's a tip I used for my last synopsis, which I found very helpful when I became stuck.  3x5 cards.  I tend to sometimes ramble about my characters, their motivations and backgrounds to the point where I'm two pages in a haven't yet introduced my plot.  Big mistake.  What helps me stay on track and write a synopsis that moves forward, that has action and momentum, is writing each event (no back story, no internal stuff, just action) in the story on a 3x5 card, one or two lines, like"  Charlie goes to Underground to talk to her snitch.  I arrange them in chronological order and as I write the synopsis, I refer to these events and make sure that I include them.  Some I leave out because no one wants a twenty page synopsis!  (I like mine under ten pages, for sure.  Four to six is where I usually fall.)  So, I pick the main events, the things that propel my story from beginning to end, and in this I weave my characters, goals and motivations.  

I think this would also work if you wrote your synopsis with lots of plot and neglected the internal stuff and character details.  You could write these on 3x5 cards to help weave into the synopsis . . .     

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Rush of Wings

I finished A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix this week, and OMG it took my breath away.  Totally loved this book.  What could be better than a goth vampire (yes, he wears eyeliner, neck collars, and lipstick -- he's so very, very bad) with a huge attitude and tortured soul, a no-nonsense FBI agent, a shockingly creepy-ass serial killer, and some way cool beings from Judeo-Christian mythology?  The story is told in multiple points of view, and gives such a clear picture of the story and the motivations of the characters.  It's beautifully written, and it's a wild, wild ride!

This author and this series (the next one will be out January 2009) is an instant buy for me!  

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A moment of thanks

Just wanted to say how much I appreciate everyone stopping by yesterday on Query Day.  It was great fun, and really cool to see so many familiar "faces" and meet some new ones.  :)  I have to admit to being a little nervous.  I'm still not used to putting my writing out there for the world to see, so all the nice comments on the query and the book was a nice surprise and definitely helped ease those nerves!  

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Query

Morning All! Below I have posted my query letter for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS. The original query is in black and my comments are in blue. Hope it's helpful. :) And please make sure to check out Colleen's comments on her blog! It's also posted over at FinePrint's blog.
Dear Ms. Lindsay,

I'm seeking representation for my 90,000 word urban fantasy, THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS, where the beings of heaven and hell have come out of the closet, and they aren't the things of Sunday school lessons and Hallmark figurines.

First paragraph – The Introduction. The goal here was to fit the facts: why I’m writing the letter, word count, title, and genre. Often writers will stop at this point, and I have as well with other queries in the past, but if you have a tag line, use it! The trick with using a tagline is to make sure it’s short. You don’t want to start your introduction paragraph off with a long explanation, or a hefty paragraph. Keep everything light, and the reader will find it easier to read. Notice how all my information is in one tidy sentence.

Eight months after dying on the job and being resuscitated an hour later, CHARLIE MADIGAN is back patrolling Underground Atlanta for the ITF, Integration Task Force, an agency designed to police and monitor immigrant beings from Elysia (heaven) and Charbydon (hell).

Second Paragraph - I jumped right in, introducing my main character. One sentence that is packed with a lot of information. My character’s name, job, a little teaser about her near-death experience, and also the world in which she lives. With fantasy, it’s easy to get bogged down by explaining your world. If you can weave some basic world info into your paragraphs, that’s much better than using an entire paragraph to info dump. And it’s always helpful to remind yourself that the agent reading the query is a smart person; trust them to get it. Pick a few words and sentences to explain your world and characters, and they’ll get the picture.

With her partner HANK, a siren from Elysia, Charlie makes sure the co-mingling of species goes without incident. But when her pre-teen daughter, EMMA, learns that a beloved babysitter is lying comatose in a hospital from accidentally ingesting After Glow, a new off-world drug, Charlie takes it personal. She discovers a link between the new drug and the Charbydon Political Party, becoming a target and a possible tool for bringing darkness to the city of Atlanta.

Third Paragraph – The plot. Think back cover book blurb here. Trying to explain the plot in three sentences is pretty difficult, but read some blurbs, get a feel for how books are boiled down into a few sentences. Go back to your early notes and use them to identify those main points you might have written down. Play around with your sentences, cutting, moving around, until they read as smoothly as possible.

My character, Charlie, is a tough woman typical of urban fantasy heroines, but she's also a single mother to a headstrong kid, and a divorcee to an ex who wants her back so badly, he's bartered his soul to a demon who's come to collect. Her personal life is just as complex as her work, making her, I believe, a unique addition to the genre.

Fourth Paragraph – Here’s where I diverged a little from my other queries and took a gamble. I added an extra paragraph. Normally I would have skipped this and made my fourth paragraph the “bio” part of the letter, but I really wanted to showcase Charlie and felt I had a unique enough character to do that. Two sentences. I kept it short, but packed a bunch of conflict into the paragraph.

I'm a 2005 RWA Golden Heart finalist in the paranormal category and a 2005 Laurie winner for best single title romance novel. I'm also a recipient of the 2005/2006 North Carolina Arts Council grant fellowship in writing.

Fifth Paragraph – I hate to write about myself, so yay for brevity here! I had other things I could have added to this paragraph, but there’s really no reason to list every single accomplishment. I want my story and my writing to speak for itself. And, hey, if you don’t have any writing kudos to list just give a one-sentence over view of any writing organizations you’re in, or that degree you have, or if you have experience that relates to your book in some way.

I've pasted the first few pages below, and I hope to hear from you at your convenience.

Sixth Paragraph. Just wrapping things up here, following guidelines and ending it short and sweet. Done.

Best Regards,

Kelly Gay

Okay, so the biggest keys for me when crafting a query is brevity (think, ‘just the facts, ma’am’) and sentence structure. The goal is to make the read easy, while showcasing the book. At the first go-round, my queries are usually two pages. But then I cut, move things around, and dissect sentences. I try to find places where I can combine sentences and possibly take out words, and I always, always, always think about flow. This is a great time to show your skills as a writer, don’t waste the opportunity on complicated sentences, too much detail, and back story.

And if I’m having a hard time summing up a particular point, I find it helpful to just sit in a quiet place and imagine myself trying to explain what my book is about to a non-writer friend. It always starts off a little uncomfortable and shaky, but inevitably, there’s always a sentence or two that pops into my mind that I end up using.

That's it. Hope some of you found a few things helpful in all this! :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Double Query Dissection - tomorrow!

Scalpel please . . .  Just a reminder Tuesday is Query Dissection Day!  

Literary agent Colleen Lindsay and I will be posting in unison.  I'll post and dissect the query that hooked Colleen into requesting my manuscript.  And Colleen will post the same query on her blog where she'll discuss from an agent's perspective.  

Hope you'll stop by both blogs for an insider's view of a successful query letter from both writer and agent.  Should be interesting!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Out of the area & Special post next week!

In the mountains to be precise. It's lovely and green, and I'm in the land of the hummingbirds -- otherwise known as my mother's front porch. There are about 12 of them cute little buggers. . . Anyways, just a quickie on my Dad's PC to say I'll be back in force on Monday.

Next week -- Tuesday, I believe, my agent Colleen and I have something special in store. We're dissecting my query! I'm going to put up my query of THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS, and I'll go through each paragraph explaining the goal in writing each one. Then -- this is the good part -- Colleen will post my query and tell you her thoughts and why this query piqued her interest. Should be fun!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Morning Surprise

I woke up this morning with fabulous hair.  Really.  Straight out of bed.  Caught a gander of myself in the mirror,  and saw I was totally rockin' the Cindy Crawford, 1997 Pepsi commercial, big hair look.  I was, like, damn.  You look good.  :D 

Fast forward three hours and now it looks like I just got out of bed.  The incredible, self supporting poof has inflated like a souffle.   **sigh**  

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Writing & Love. So true . . .

Today I must direct you all to a very hilarious and clever post by Libba Bray.  I found myself nodding and laughing; "yes!"  "exactly!"  It's a post on how writing a novel is very much like falling in love.   Enjoy. 

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Devil You know

I'm pimping my CP's awesome book this morning.  Check it out:

The beautiful. The bad. The Possessed.

Some people worship them. Some people fear them. And some people—like Morgan Kingsley—go up against them toe-to-toe, flesh-to-flesh, and power against power. An exorcist by trade, Morgan is one of the few humans with an aura stronger than her possessor, even though her demon can tease her body senseless. She's also a woman who has just discovered a shocking truth: everything she once believed about her past, her identity, may have been a lie…

With a family secret exploding around her and with a full-scale demon war igniting, Morgan is a key player in an unsettled world. Then a rogue, sociopathic demon enters her life with a bang. His name is The Hunter. And since she is the prey, Morgan has only one choice: to hunt The Hunter down—no matter what heartbreaking truths she uncovers on the way…

Friday, August 01, 2008

The good, the bad, the lost

Ever feel lost, like you cannot, for the life of you, tell between good writing and bad writing?  I am there.  I've been completely swept away by Current Project.  When I'm not writing it, I am thinking about it.  In the shower, in the car, whilst eating, in bed at night.  It's the first thing I think about when I wake up.  I'm an addict to my own invention.

I am so into the story, that I can no longer tell what's crap and what's not.  I know, I should listen to that voice inside my head that says, "Kelly, step away from the story."  But I can't.  The kids are gone.  I must finish.  I'm at page 46.  I took off from rough-writing to rewrite and polish everything up until that point.  And I LUV it all.  

Anywayz, got a half chapter to go and then I'm done.  I'll try to let it sit after that, for a day or two, maybe take the weekend off and come back to it on Monday.  It's gonna be hard, though, cus the beach weekend is off due to my lovely dog, spraining or possibly fracturing his left paw, for which we need to go in for x-rays today.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh infamous day

Today is my birthday.  It feels kind of weird.  My kids aren't here.  The Hub is gone (at work), and I'm all alone with my coffee, my bowl of M&Ms, and my Mac.  Kind of nice.  Kind of weird. But then, my birthday always feels somewhat weird to me . . .  weird, huh?   ;-)  

We might go to the beach this weekend, which would be the coolest thing evah.   Love the beach!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Character takeover

So, I'm writing.  A lot.  I think I have this entire story in my head; the main things anyway.  But something happened last night that totally stunned me.  One of my characters took over.  She committed a terrible, terrible crime.  She wasn't supposed to.  In fact, she wasn't supposed to play a major role or have such an intense past.  She's just a child, really.

I kept writing, though, and let her take me where she wanted to go, and holy hell . . .  My heart was pounding by the time she finished having her way.  I can't believe I wrote what I did.  It's raw, and unexpected.  And so totally cool for the story!  It fits in so well, and will tie in nicely through-out, and wrap up the ending even better than I'd envisioned.

I've had characters go their own way before, but this was just really out-there.  How 'bout you guys?  This ever happen before? 

Monday, July 28, 2008


My agent, Colleen Lindsay, has a great post on the importance of your "hook".  Well worth reading.

And FinePrint Literary Management has launched their agency blog.  Definitely one to bookmark as you'll get the experiences, opinions and advice of all the great agents at FinePrint!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Writing the bible

Hindsight is a bitch.  And she's been laughing at me all week.  Looking back, I realize I should have organized Underground Atlanta (the setting for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS), and Charlie's world as I was writing the book, or when a new fact came to me.  

You see, had I done this, writing B2 would be much easier.  But, no.  I didn't.  I have notes scattered everywhere in three different notebooks.  I now have to go back into B1 and check facts and locales and little incidentals.  If I had a nicely organized notebook with subject tabs, I could just flip to a subject and get my info quickly.  Yeah, I know, it should all be in my head, right?  I mean, I created this world and these characters.  And yet I forget small details, little things, like:  What did that particular character smell like?  Or what shade of blue was her eyes?  Did she wear the Heftie (weapon) in her left holster or was it her right?   

So, I'm organizing a series bible.  Character descriptions, settings, beings, histories of my worlds, factions, etc . . .  are all being gleaned from B1, and my notes, and put into this bible.  I should have done this sooner!  

Has anyone else put together a bible?  How did you organize yours?  Any tips or secrets you want to share to make this job easier?  This curious mind wants to know.    :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lazy Days

It's hot.  It's humid.  Rainforest humid.  Go outside and you're drenched in a matter of minutes.  Even the air conditioning is struggling.  

Things seem quiet everywhere.  In town.  Online.  A lot of my writing pals are getting ready for conference, and I'm kinda missing the fact that I won't be attending this year.  Ah well, I can't complain; the next two weeks are going to be heaven for me.  Yes.  Heaven.  Despite the heat.   The children are spending time away with their grandparents, auntie and cousins.  The house will be eerily silent.


Kelly shall be writing.  And that, my friends, is heaven.  ;-)  

Friday, July 18, 2008

Doggie bubbles

So I was doing my usual blog surfing and came across Jeaniene Frost's post about her dog eating raisins, which reminded me of a similar experience when Yeager (my dog) ate an entire bar of soap.  After calling the vet, she told me to give him peroxide to induce vomiting.  We were concerned about getting him to take it, but it turned out it wasn't a worry because (obviously) the dog eats anything -- soap, rocks, socks, and apparently peroxide, which he licked straight out of a cereal bowl.  She also told me to be prepared for the bubbles.

So he and I walk into the back yard and he starts farting bubbles.  OMG.  I almost died.  I swear to God, bubbles came out of his ass.  And his nose.  I felt sorry for him, but it was the funniest damn thing I'd ever seen.  Finally, he threw up the soap.  And for the rest of the night, he let these horrible little bubble stinkers . . .

Beware the dog who eats soap!  

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rough drafts

I write short rough drafts.  65,000/70,000 words give or take.  I write fast, getting the rough draft down in a few weeks, all the dialogue and scenes that are already in my head.  If it's not coming to me, I skip over it and continue.  I don't like to stop and think about whatever it is that's not coming.  So in those places, I put notes in the comments of Track Changes.  Research this.  More description.  Why is she doing this?  He needs to get pissed and let her have it.  And a lot of other stuff.  

When I got that skeleton-story existing in my head complete, then I go back.  This is the fun part.  Now I have a playground in which to play.  I love to look at a page and figure out how to make it better, what things I can flesh out, mold, and shape, and really get into.  I love reading the notes and taking things one step further.  This is where I dig deep, work on internal motivations, reasons, main and sub plots and relationships.  I'm a crafter.  A weaver.  I'll make several passes on the manuscript, and eventually, almost always, I come in between 90,000 to 100,000 words.  It just ends up that way.  

Some writers naturally write longer rough drafts.  They flesh out everything as they go from the very beginning.  Some go over word count and then cut.  Their process is right for them.  The creative mind and the creative process is unique, in some way, for each person.  And there's no wrong way to do it.  I love my process.  This is how I write, and it works for me.  So, how do you write?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A bright spot

Amid the joy that is laundry day, clean sheets day, vacuuming, blah, blah, blah, there was a bright spot -- Melissa Marr's Ink Exchange came today!!  Yippeeee!!  

((sigh))  Back to household chores . . .

Monday, July 14, 2008

Interviews & Chocolate go hand in hand . . .

Good Morning!  I'm happy to report that my first author interview is up at Keli Gwyn's blog, Romance Writers on the Journey.

Please stop by if you can; I'd really appreciate it.  And if you comment, you could win some very yummy chocolate!  What could be better than that?  I'll be stopping by throughout the day to answer questions and respond to comments.  It should be fun.   See you there!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Writing in a vacuum

So, I had lunch with my CP, Jenna Black, on Friday.  It's been a while since we've seen each other. We used to meet once a week, but then things kind of trailed off . . .  Anyway, we touched on the subject of writing in the vacuum.  And I'm sure many of you know what I mean.   Besides, having another eye when it comes to your writing, I think it's healthy for us introverts to actually get out once in a while.  We need to talk to other writers, and share experiences, and learn new things.  Even in a non-critiquing capacity.  Just to be around folks who know what the writing life is all about; folks who can relate.  It's nice to have that in a life often filled with solitary work.  Those once a month writing chapter meetings are a great time to socialize, pick up new info and chill with other writers.  Conferences, events, whatever . . .  ya know?  Anything to make you get out of those pajama pants, fix your hair, and escape from the writing den.  

This from a person who is never able to make her monthly chapter meetings, and is often forced by others to leave the house.  I can get very hermit-like.  But, after having lunch, I realized how much I've missed the interaction, how I need to make it a habit again, and how invigorating and inspiring it can be to just sit and talk to another writer.  

Friday, July 11, 2008

New website look

If anyone has time, please check mine out.  So far it looks good in Internet Explorer and Firefox.  Safari -- still having a few issues.  I'm curious to know how it looks in other's browsers.  There's a few more links and some additional content I need to add, but mostly it's complete.  Oh, and do you like the angel in the pic or no?  I'm not sold on it, but the Hub likes it.     

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Organic writing

Or, as many call it, writing-by-the-seat-of-your-pants.  The Pantser.  This is not me.  Okay, well, that's not totally true.  I'm becoming more of a non-planner these days.  Usually, I have everything mapped out.  I need to know what to write, where the story is going, and what the next scene entails.  But lately I find myself not bothering.  Some neat things are evolving with B2 that I hadn't planned on, scenes I hadn't envisioned when I wrote the synopsis for the book.  I mean, the synopsis was only two pages long, but that overall story I had in my head -- well, some scenes are just popping out of nowhere.  It's like I'm writing blind.  Not reading it as I write, not thinking ahead, it's like I'm watching it unfold as my fingers type the words.  Totally bizarre.  But it's cool when something suddenly fits together with something I'd planned ahead of time, and I didn't even mean it to.      

I think I'm a comma-aholic.   I've been using them at the oddest places and when it's totally unnecessary.  It's like I have to use one .  .  . must resist!

Monday, July 07, 2008

My Precious

Hope everyone had a nice Holiday weekend.  I did, for my Alpha Smart came and I got a boat load of writing done.  I love it, cherish it, get tickled pink by the light weight, no wires, the two AA batteries that will keep it running for nearly a year, and more than anything I love that sense of glee when I plug it into the PC, hit send, and see all my words start magically speed-typing across the screen.  Dude.  It's the best.  I took it to the coffee shop on Friday and wrote 17 pages, came home and wrote 6 more pages.  I think over the entire weekend I amassed a little more than 50 pages.    

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Busy little bee

I love Gladiator (the movie).  Anyway, busy here working on B2 (Book Two), so I'll make this short.  Some cool giveaways happening on blogs -- Rachel Vincent and Jocelynn Drake.  Oh, and Gena Showalter has a little Q&A on her Lords of the Underworld series (which, if you haven't been exposed to the awesomeness that is Gena's imagination, go now and immerse yourself.  You won't regret it.)  

What is it with me and parenthesis today?