Monday, April 27, 2009

Great posts

A few days ago I read a post by one of the Deadline Dames, Lilith Saintcrow. If you all haven't read it, you should. It's true.

I especially can relate to the writer never being totally happy and constantly having to refine and fiddle. Oh, how I can relate! I could refine a book forever. There will always be something I could change, some better word choice, some new bit of dialogue...
And fear. Yeah. I have that, too. It's all part of the writer's reality.

And another great post by John Scalzi on YA. He tells it like it is. In fact both of these posts do. Guess that's what I like about them.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Finishing up the second-round pass of copy edits for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS. Initially, I made all of my marks on Post-its during the first round (so as not to mess up the manuscript if I goofed or changed my mind on something). Now I'm just going through and adding those marks. Should be done today.

Still working on re-entering all of my author and urban fantasy links. Grrrr. I had so many!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Dang it. I accidentally deleted all of my author, agent, and urban fantasy blog links. Doh. *facepalm*

This further proves that I am technically challenged.

Besides this horrid snafu, I had a good day. Worked on copy edits and am now about a third of the way through. Right on track.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Intro to Copy Edits

I received my copy edits for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS on Friday. Each new stage is like Christmas. Sure there is worry about how much work there is to do or what kind of CE edited my work, but despite all that, it really is like waking up on x-mas morning and seeing presents under the tree. Of course, in between those stages, I go back to feeling like a hermit writer still knocking on doors, LOL.

Anyway, copy edits arrive. And after, 'oh crap, now what? moment', I open, scan, and find that I've gotten a very light copy edit from a wonderful CE who was incredibly respectful of my voice and didn't really try to change anything of that nature.

So what exactly entails a copy edit you might wonder? A copy editor goes word by word over the manuscript looking for spelling and grammar mistakes, inconsistencies (i.e., "Hero has blue eyes on pg 2 and green on pg 245") and they write queries to the author about, say a confusing line of dialogue or an action that doesn't make sense. A very cool part of the process involves a style sheet, which lists the manual of style the CE used, a glossary of unique words used in the manuscript and those that are often misused/spelled/or whatnot. Then, comes the awesome 'world' glossary with all your characters, descriptions, worlds, languages, meanings, weapons, and nearly every small detail you can possibly imagine . . . Yeah, I was squeeing, it was so cool.

Then, came her marks, in pencil, on the actual manuscript. These, I must read through and either leave alone or indicate that I do not accept the change (to do that, I write STET in a different color pencil to differentiate my marks from hers). But seriously, her edit is so good, I have yet to write STET. This is also an opportunity for me to make any last minute fixes to the manuscript, so it needs to be read over very carefully line by line. Once all is perfect, I'll mail the ms. back to my editor, but not before going to Kinko's and making an extra copy 'cus you never know . . . The last thing I want is the ms. to get lost and have to re-do the entire edit and hold up the production process.

So that's a wrap on Intro to Copy Edits. Any questions, comments, or things to add? See me after class. :D

Friday, April 17, 2009


Just a quick post to remind everyone that today is Queryday on Twitter. You can go to Colleen's blog to get the details, how to participate, or just type in #queryday in Twitter search...

Some of you have asked me about posting my query again. So here is the query for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS along with Colleen's dissection. (Two takes from writer and agent.)

And thanks to everyone for the warm welcome on Twitter yesterday! Off to work-out. Joy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

So I caved

I am now on Twitter. And, surprisingly, I'm not nearly as confused by the process as I was 3o minutes ago . . .

The lovely glasses

So, remember when I told you guys I was getting new, extremely awesome eyeglasses? Here they are in all their immense and fabulous glory.

Pic taken by the crazy 8 yr old who insisted on using the flash. (And yes, I refuse to smile).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back home

And very, very tired. Trying to get back on task, but I think we're all having a hard time adjusting. That drive takes so much out of us... Two migraines in two days. Hoping I don't do another rebound headache tomorrow.

Isn't this a sunny post? :D

Oh, did you guys see the Nightline piece about romance fiction sales on the rise? They interviewed Harlequin and one of my favorite authors, Gena Showalter. You can check it out here on her blog.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In the quiet

Sort of. We arrived this afternoon. The mountains are so pretty in the spring. And it's so quiet here. Stand outside and listen and guess what's missing? Traffic. No street noise. The only thing you'll hear is the gentle bubble of the stream near the house.

Of course all this is blown to smithereens when kids burst out the door, but still, for a moment, there is silence. And it's nice.

The drive took 7 hours. Bleh. But, I had the most AMAZING idea for a book. I couldn't write it down since I get car sick from reading and writing while in the car. (It kills me all that lost working time . . . there I am in the car, nothing to do, and I can't write. Gah.) But anyway, I've written my thoughts down and will save this one for another time.

I'm hoping to get much of my revisions on Book 2 done this week and next. Then, I'll break for copy edits to Book 1. And once Book 2 is turned in, I'll finish up the last chapters on Le Super Secret YA project. I like staying busy. ;-)

Monday, April 06, 2009

This week

What's up for this week:

Keeping a close eye on the weather. We have a tornado watch today...

Revisions on Book 2 -- yesterday I wrote out each scene on post-it notes and laid them out on my kitchen table. Want to make sure the scenes and sequences are in the best order possible. This week, I'll be revising chapter by chapter.

Travel -- yet another 7 hours drive to visit family, beginning Wed. Joy.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Agent win, agent fail - a client's perspective

So, I don't Twitter. One day I will, but not yet. :-) Not yet. But, regardless of that fact, I keep tabs on what's going down in the www as much as time allows. I'm sure you've all heard of queryfail, agentfail and the like, so no need to go there -- do a search if you need to 'cus I'm on a mission of another sort . . .

It has recently come to my attention (blame it on Book 1 revisions, Book 2 deadline, and my brain not firing on all cylinders) that my agent and I have been together just over a year now. Time has seriously flown by. Seriously. I have learned so much. More than I thought I would in all honesty. More about the publishing biz, more about relationships and interacting, and more about myself.

From a client's perspective (that's me) on what makes agent-win or agent-fail is quite simple (and this is about client/agent, not non-client querying and the like, though I hope this insight might give those out there looking some additional information to help make a good decision when it comes time to sign).

My experience into my second author/agent relationship, has led me to believe heartily that communication is the key to a win-win partnership. Not just 'communication', but the ability to communicate effectively. Besides having the industry know-how, desire, and contacts to sell your books, this is one of the most important aspects of the relationship, which swings both ways. My agent listens. Considerately. Now, she might correct my assumptions when necessary (which are more often than not), but she listens.

Someone who takes your call or email and doesn't make you feel as though you are cutting into their time, harassing them, or that your questions are trivial is someone who is forging trust and confidence in the writer and the relationship. And why is that so important? Because the minute an agent (or anyone for that matter) is snide with a person, continually puts a person off for long periods of time, or behaves as though your legitimate questions or comments are worthless, ridiculous, or whatever, is the minute that individual starts second guessing and starts feeling there is an unequal balance in the relationship -- the partnership.

You all know what I mean right? This attitude can be so subtle, but we pick up on it immediately. And you know what it does? It makes us hesitate the next time we need to make contact. Are we going to bother them, piss them off? Even a newly signed author and a long-time agent each bring a set of skills that the other does not have to make a whole partnership. You, the writer, brings the ability to craft a sellable piece of work, and the agent brings the ability to sell that piece of work. You are equals in the partnership, in which you both agreed to participate.

But, guess what? The client also bears responsibility in the communication department. It's not solely up to the agent to build your 'communication confidence'. You have to speak up. Also in a considerate manner. An agent can't help fix a situation unless you enlighten her/him. I've heard repped writers express how they are 'afraid' to bother their agent, to ask a simple question (and no, I'm not talking about goofy stuff like: "should I put a white rabbit in my book, 'cus they're really cute and I like them, what do you think?". I'm talking about normal business questions. Though, I have a feeling that if I did ask my agent that question she'd know I was joking, dissolve into laughter and respond something like: "Ooh, is it a white rabbit that can fly and shit rainbows over the city? Then yes, definitely include it in the book.") 'Cus she's funny like that. :D Some clients have this 'afraid' mentality from the onset of the relationship. A great agent can do wonders here by listening and being considerate -- most of them understand that we are nervous and unsure in the beginning. But they can't hold us up indefinitely. In the end, this is our career. To put it in the hands of someone we are afraid to talk to . . . not good. And the agent who fosters this 'afraid mentality', who consistently makes a client feel like a 'bother', and does not treat you on a human to human, equal partnership level? Not so good either.

It takes two people treating each other with respect and with a mutual understanding of goals and what they want out of the relationship. Don't just get excited and sign with the first agent who offers. Talk. Talk about your goals, and not just in selling books, but how you want to communicate and what kind of relationship you hope to have. Just bringing these things up and saying: "this is what I'd like for us, this is the kind of relationship I want to have with you . . ." -- can set the ground work for a great partnership.

So, I have a year + under my belt with my agent. She has sold my work, is my advocate and advisor. And I know I have asked her some ridiculous newbie questions and had understandings about the publishing world that were not totally accurate, but through it all she has been patient and available. And she knows how to laugh, isn't afraid to go to bat for me, and is quite frankly a very nice human being.

And that is all. So there you have it. My preachin' and ramblin' is done for the day. Oh, and happy belated anniversary to my agent of win. ;-)

P.S. Please do not turn my post into an #agentfail bonanza. (See agent Jessica Faust's blog for that). This is just my opinion and I wanted to share my insight into what I have personally learned from my journey. Thanks!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Feels like Friday

I had to check twice already. Weird.

Getting out today. Shocker, right? :D Having lunch with the oh-so-fabulous author Jenna Black. Looking forward to some feedback on B2, some adult conversation of the book-ish kind, and some yummy food (since I live off Hot Pockets and the occassional left overs when I'm working).

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I finished the rough draft of Book 2 a few hours after my last blog post. And yesterday, I took the day off. I spent most of the day outside, raking leaves and cleaning up the yard. Nice, mindless way to rest my brain and get my body moving, plus I needed a dose of sunshine since most weeks my sunlight exposure is very minimal.

Even though I needed the break, it still felt weird not writing. I don't like to take too much time off. Writing is an everyday habit, I like to maintain. Take too much time off and it's harder to get back into the groove. And I like being in the groove.

So, starting a first pass rewrite on the rough draft today. Tackling some of the easier comments made in the margins.

-- I have 65 comments (made by myself), which is less than the first book, I believe. A lot of time this number grows instead of decreases as I rewrite. But most of them are "Check Book 1 for consistency." "Did you cap this in Book 1?", "Does this make sense?", etc... as well as a lot of layering notes.

I am totally excited with the story. It really became much easier to write once I stopped aiming for certain things and just wrote 'in the moment' with Charlie instead of thinking ahead too much. The first book was written with a very clear outline -- and that way worked for that book. This one, was quite a different process! Funny how each book leads me down a different road in terms of writing process ...