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.