Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kelly Gay Interview & Giveaway

Head on over to Susan Adrian's blog for an interview and giveaway with the sweet and awesome Kelly Gay! I can't wait to read her book!

Interview & Giveaway with Author Kelly Gay!

Hi all! It is a giveaway FESTIVAL here. So let's dive in to an interview with Enchanting Urban Fantasy Author Kelly Gay, who stopped by to tell us about her debut novel (on shelves now!), THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS. We're also giving away a signed copy!

Susan: Hi Kelly! First, congratulations on the release of your first book! How's it feel so far?

Kelly: Thanks Susan! And thanks for having me on your blog! My book being ‘out there’ in the world feels awesome, scary, exciting, surreal… you name it. A book debut fits that whole rollercoaster analogy incredibly well.

Susan: I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy yet (I will, ASAP!), so could you tell us a bit about the story?

Kelly: Sure. The book is set in Atlanta about a decade after the discovery of heaven-like Elysia and hellish Charbydon, two alternate dimensions, which are home to beings that inspired our myths of angels, demons, gods, and monsters. Now they live among us, and it’s Charlie Madigan’s job to police the off-world sector and keep the peace, but when a new off-world drug is released, an ancient threat emerges, and her ex-husband makes a terrible bargain to win her back, there’s nothing in heaven, or hell, for that matter, that Charlie won’t do to set things right.

Read the rest here ...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Win a copy of LINGER!

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is LINGER. The elves don't even have to build me one in your shop. You can win it here:

See, I made it easy for you.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

5 most common YA subgenres

Suzie Townsend is a junior agent with FinePrint Literary Management and she goes into detail about the 5 most common YA subgenres. "Common" can sometimes be tried and true, or sometimes, it's just plain ol' tiring. A really great, educational read on Susan Adrian's blog

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My dream book looks like ...

Scott Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN! The Steampunkish illustrations are exactly what I've imagined THE UNICORN TAMER to look like. Hopefully someday ... *crosses fingers*

Today I came on to drool over bookshelves. In the last month or two, I've bought:

* GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
* GOING BOVINE by Libby Bray
* BOY TOY by Barry Lyga
* SWEETHEARTS by Sara Zarr
* HUSH, HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick
* ON WRITING by Stepehn King

and they are all currently lying on my floor because I am out of shelf space. It'll take some re-arranging before I can buy a new bookshelf, but it's still fun to look!

Neil Gaiman shows his shelves:

Popping colors:

Floating bookshelves:

Unique shapes:


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's Its and 5 Ways to NOT reach your dreams

How To Use An Apostrophe

A pictorial guide on how to correctly use apostrophes. Fun!

5 Ways To NOT Get Your Novel Published

1. Don’t be amazing - The single most common reason for novels not being published is that they are simply not amazing. Publishers have an almost unlimited supply of writers looking to get their books in print, so why would they publish anything but the very best writing? Your novel being good is just not good enough.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fancy e-books

Publishing veteran resurfaces with e-book venture

Former HarperCollins honcho Jane Friedman steps into the future, launching Open Road Integrated Media to publish e-books drawn from known and amateur authors.

Super interesting read here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A taste of what it feels like to have an agent!

I won Kelly Sonnack's 5-page crit in Cynthia Liu's "Take the Dare" auction and I think it's some of the best money I've ever spent. Not only did a bunch of kids get a bunch of books, but Kelly is sweet. She's also honest and has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

She's not only:

* critiqued my pitch
* answered really detailed questions I have about publishing/writing-related things
* thoroughly reviewed and provided feedback on my first 5 pages
* been supportive throughout this whole process

but she's also offering to:

* read both my 1st person pages and 3rd person pages to tell me which one is better
* have a phone conversation
* read the complete, polished manuscript

*falls over*

She's amazing and I'm so lucky. Not to mention so very scared. I want FRIENDS WITH DEATH to surpass her expectations. I'm so nervous, I'm having a little trouble writing. Which is why I'm reading (recently purchased GOING BOVINE) - to learn and better my craft.

Anyway, that's what I've been working on. I'm also, once again, wrestling with the decision of "should this story be told in 1st person or 3rd" and I'm trying to decide if I want to do NaNoWriMo this year. I have this WIP to finish and polish and my MG fantasy that I want to completely re-write so I don't know if I have the time to meet the 50,000 words in 30 days goal. I'm super tempted, though. How about you? Are you NaNoWriMo-ing?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blowing Off the Blog Dust

Yup, still alive! I hate to say it, but work has gotten in the way of writing. C'est la vie!

So yesterday, at 1AM, instead of going to bed like a good employee, I decided to give myself a challege: 20K in 7 days. SOUNDS CRAZY FUN, doesn't it? My WIP is about 55% complete and edited. Now, it's a race to the finish line!

In other, non-writely news, the Significant Other and I are trying to buy a house. I wish it was as easy as:

me: "Bank, I have this much. I would like to buy a house for this much. Please loan me the difference."

bank: *checks important things* "OK, I trust you. Here you go!" *poof loan*

me: "I like your house, Owner."

owner: "It costs $525,000."

me: "I'll give you $500,000 for it."

owner: "I won't go a penny below $515,000."

me: *ponders* *loves house* "It's a deal!" *gives Owner money*

me: la la la

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

AS YOU WISH Debuts Today!!

I don't remember how I stumbled upon Jackson's Pearce's blog, but I did, just about a year ago. I follow her antics daily. She's funny, brilliant, charismatic, and makes the best darn paper puppets ever:

Her first book, AS YOU WISH, is out today! Please help her celebrate by buying the book!

Read about Jackson's journey to publication here and DON'T STOP WRITING!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Favorite Book This Year

thus far ...

is Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER. It was lyrical, lovely, and sad.

The talented Ms. Stiefvater has created an animated storyboard trailer for her other novel, BALLAD.

Go forth and read, watch, and dream.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blog Highlights: Bent on Books

I write every single day. I wish I could say that I'm adding to my WIP's word count every day, but sometimes, those words just don't want to come. But still ... I need to write. It's who I am.

I don't count emails so there are 3 other places where I write:, my personal journal, and here, my public blog.

So, I'm way behind on Twitter and Google Reader - which annoys me to no end. I think I may be a bit OCD. I wonder if every writer is. Anyway, I thought I'd combine everything (my need to write, being behind on Reader, being behind on my own blog) and highlight one of the 81 blogs I follow. So if you're interested in writer-ly, agent-ly, publish-y topics, here's what I learned recently from "Bent on Books" ...

Great advice from Agent Jenny Bent:

"You know how you always hear don't write for the market? It's true. Even for the practical reason that by the time you've finished writing the market has usually changed."

"So the plan is two-fold. First, write the book of your heart. Don't worry about the market. At the same time, pay attention to the market in every way you can. Watch bestseller lists, read industry news. When you're done with the book, put your knowledge of the market to use and figure out how what's going on in the market matches your particular genre/style/characters/plot. Preparation will meet opportunity. You'll make your own luck. And the great thing is that the way the market shifts and changes, the windows are always opening up."

"If you can't sell your book to a traditional publisher get it out there however you can. So many of my clients self-published first: Laurie Notaro, Will Clarke, Frank Daniels. In fact, go check this out: . Frank's first novel, FUTUREPROOF was published this month by HarperCollins, and the story of how he got there is pretty amazing."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Catching Up

Yikes! Been almost a month since I've posted.

So ... I live in California, but the S.O. wants to live in Colorado someday so over the 4th of July holiday, we traversed to the Rocky Mountains to do some 'sploring to determine if it'll be a good fit. We went to Boulder (not what I pictured) and Denver (cool, clean city), the Red Rocks (this is a place where stories are born), and Table Mountain (I want to live near here). The best part of the trip was a surprise visit to the little town of Granby where we relaxed in a cabin (and played Apples to Apples in over-the-top Asian accents) and went boating with two of our best friends (who are part of the reason for the "wanting to move to Colorado" idea).

Anywho, I am way behind in life.

* I've been reading a lot more than usual - research to better my Young Adult writing skillz. So far, I've devoured the following books: I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You, Evermore, Wings, Wicked Lovely, and Fairy Tale

* I'm in the middle of Silver Phoenix, Fragile Eternity, and Don't Judge a Spy by Her Cover

* I just bought Blue Moon and The Graveyard Book

* I want to do reviews for everything I read (need to get off my butt and actually do them)!

* I won a 5-page critique with Kelly Sonnack (Andrea Brown Agency) through Cynthea Liu's auction

* I did a test run with the Online Writing Workshop for SF/Fantasy writers - in less than a month, I received 3 thorough critiques! When I have the time, I'm going to sign up for a permanent membership and return the favor to those who critiqued my work, but I'm super busy/behind right now ... I suggest you try it, though, if you're looking for solid feedback!

* I'm holding on to my promise of finish FRIENDS WITH DEATH before fiddling with THE UNICORN TAMER

* I currently have 1 full and 1 partial out

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson is dead?!?

... waiting to find out. Right now, they (NY Times, LA Times, MTV, CNN,, etc.) say that he's been rushed to the hospital. No official word that he's passed away.

This is just so sad.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sometimes when I type ...

I imagine that my fingers are flying across piano keys.

LOVE STORY (Taylor Swift) meets VIVA LA VIDA (Coldplay)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Link Salad, dressing on the side

What do you think of novels where the POV changes from one chapter to the next?

Anywho - just a couple of links for you today

-- Agent Rachelle Gardner talks about how important a platform is for an author

-- I am love with steampunk with a fiery, metalic passion and want to incorporate it as much as I can in my books ... don't know what steampunk is? Here's a great description:

-- A teen talks about what she likes to see when reading YA

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Look Ma! Two Posts in One Day!

I know ... sometimes I go for days without a single peep and I'm sorry. I promise I'm going to try to post MORE HELPFUL WRITELY things more often. And perhaps, even some non-writely ramblings as well.

I want to know what's in your To-Be-Read pile.

Do you read The Book Every Agent/Published Author is Talking About (HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE, GRACELING, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH) or are you reading books that are similar to the book you're working on (for research)?

Are you reading THINGS THAT ARE POPULAR (yes, I'm talking about TWILIGHT) or reading books by successful YA authors to try and determine their sekret sauce (MAUREEN JOHNSON, MELISSA MARR)? Perhaps, you are doing it old-school and going the Classic route (PRIDE and PREJUDICE).

My problem is a global problem: that there isn't enough time in the day. I am still trying to figure out the magic to balancing writing and reading. I'm flying to Philly today and, dude, it was pretty difficult resisting Marr's FRAGILE ETERNITY (I'm half-way through), but I did it. I left it at home. Why? Because last week, I chose to gobble up Marr's WICKED LOVELY so today, I am choosing (forcing myself) to write. Six hours on a flight and no books for as far as the eye can see. Just me and my laptop. Gulp.

I hope my To-Be-Read pile won't miss me too much. I know I'll miss it.

To-Be-Read pile:

DEVILISH by Maureen Johnson (currently reading)
FRAGILE ETERNITY by Melissa Marr (currently reading)
STARDUST by Neil Gaiman (currently reading)
SILVER PHOENIX by Cindy Pon (currently reading)
GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
IF I STAY by Gayle Forman
2nd and 3rd book in the GALLAGHER GIRLS series by Ally Carter
DUST OF 100 DOGS by A.S. King

Um. That's all I can remember for now. Your turn!

Great Advice for Authors from Seth Godin

Smart, encouraging advice! Don't know who Seth Godin is? Bio, here.
"With more than 75,000 books published every year (not counting ebooks or blogs), the odds are actually pretty good that you've either written a book, are writing a book or want to write one.
Hence this short list:
* Lower your expectations. The happiest authors are the ones that don't expect much.
* The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you'll need later.
* Pay for an eidtor editor. Not just to fix the typos, but to actually make your ramblings into something that people will choose to read. I found someone I like working with at the EFA.
* One of the things traditional publishers used to do is provide really insightful, even brilliant editors (people like Fred Hills and Megan Casey), but alas, that doesn't happen very often. And hiring your own editor means you'll value the process more."
You can read all 19 advice points here!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quick! Stop What You're Doing!

Agent Rachelle Gardner is answering all agently, writerly, and publishly questions right this instant (only 30 minutes left)! Go to and sign up for an account.

Also, check out this amazingly precise and wacky new online dictionary called WORDNIK ... it's seriously pyschadelic and genius:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Two Very Different Words That Begin With The Letter "R"

I just received a request and a rejection. In the same hour.

The rejection makes me very blue (my insides feel like Violet Beauregarde's outsides, post Willy-Wonka-3-course-meal-bubblegum) because it's from one of my *dream* agents (ahh ... the elusive unicorn). Her emails have been super relaxed, straight-forward, and fun - qualities I really admire in a business person.

I hope I get another chance to work with her someday.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Always Want What You Can't Have

Now that I'm going back through FRIENDS WITH DEATH and changing my first-person to third, I'm kinda bummed. There were instances where first-person really worked - or at least, I tried really hard to make it work so 'lo and behold, it actually did!

I kept my copy of FWD - the first-person version - just in case I change my mind. Possibility of that happening? Very likely.

Anyway, I saw Star Trek tonight and I ... I wish there was an even better word than "loved" to use, but since there isn't ... I loved it. Bolded and italicized for emphasis!

I am a proud Trekkie. I grew up on Deep Space Nine and Voyager and spent most of my college years + after re-watching The Next Generation. There were some seriously funny one-liners sprinkled throughout the movie. I wish I was that clever. Here's a new wish: to someday have people quoting my book(s).

*not really a spoiler, but if you're sensitive about things like that, DO NOT CONTINUE READING*

What, are you from the future?
Kirk: He is. I'm not.
Scotty: Well that's brilliant. (pause) Do they still have sandwiches there?


Thursday, June 4, 2009


The enterasmanyfreebookscontests bug has bit me. He sort of looks like a mosquito. With glasses. And a cane.

Yesterday, I entered PartSixofThree's Eoin Colfer Twitter contest and ... whoa ... I actually won? Sweet! ARTEMIS FOWL for me! And today, I open up my trusty Google Reader and a deluge of bloggers are giving away exciting YA books (we can all probably thank BEA for all this)!

To make it super duper easy for you, I'm gonna tell you where you can find these contests!

* 3-book-package! You can win LIAR (Justine Larbalestier), SHIVER (Maggie Stiefvater), and CATCHING FIRE (Suzanne Collins) here.

* The fabulous Mary Kole (owner of is giving away CATCHING FIRE, SHIVER, and ALONG FOR THE RIDE (Sarah Dessen) here!

* What kind of tree are you? Comment on Kate Messner's blog and win THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z!

* And I'm a little behind on this, but SILVER PHOENIX has been set free! The lovely Cindy Pon is holding a monster contest on her blog. She's giving away a ton of amazing stuff: an original framed brushpainting (she's super talented) + a signed copy of her novel, and a $100 gift card to the book store of your choice + a signed copy of her novel. You can watch the beautiful video trailer here:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nice People Make the World Go Round

In the past couple months, I've made some significant changes to THE UNICORN TAMER that I'm really pleased about. I've also honed a new pitch and it's done pretty well on - Ms. Stampfel-Volpe requested a full from it and Mr. Deenan thought the pitch was semi-finalist worthy. So what does one do with a polished-er manuscript and an improved pitch? One queries.

With all the form rejections and the no-answer means no, it's easy to feel insecure about your work. For the majority of this process, it's probably going to be just doom and gloom. Writers have to have thick skin and they have to be completely mad (and madly in love with their story) to weather the seemingly (and quite possibly) never-ending gray clouds. However, even the maddest, thickest skin of the bunch needs a little ray of sunshine every now and again. Yesterday, my ray of sunshine came in the form of a rejection letter from Agent Laurie McLean.

I think she started with a form letter, but then personalized it. She made me feel like she was talking to me. She was kind and helpful, completely honest (about the market and how busy she was) and realistic. She was so sweet, I just had to write her a thank you - a "your rejection letter was so nice" thank you. Ms. McLean then wrote back, encouraging me to query THE UNICORN TAMER to a lot of agents. No promises, just hope.

And that's just what we mad, thick-skinned writing monsters feed on: hope.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm Back!

Home sweet home!

Paris was awesome. I could live off of Paris' pastries (macaroons, chocolate croissants, napoleons ... *drool*), Champagne's bubbly (did you know that France's champagne is special because the grapes are grown in CHALK SOIL??), and Versailles' gardens (Marie Antoinette was way ahead of her time). Magical bites, buildings, and ... beer! If you're a fantasy writer and need help on your world-building, I think a trip to Europe will do the trick. We just don't have the history - or the architecture for that matter - that cities like Paris or Brussels have. Actually, I found my leprechauns' City of Gold in Brussels! I can't say enough good things about Belgium - my 2-day trip there was way-too-short and way-too-delightful. Framboise beer + frites heaven! And with every other store being a chocolate shop, I kept thinking that this is where Willy Wonka would vacation.

I'll post pictures once I get over this jetlag - this going to bed by 9PM and waking at 5AM is very strange.

I haven't been in the right mind to write, but I'm doing my Brenda Novak Auction research! I've been struggling with this: How much am I willing to pay to possibly (but probably highly unlikely) help jumpstart my writing career? Winning any of the agent critiques does not guarantee representation, but it does guarantee this: a read of the first 3 chapters (i.e. skipping the query process). So ... how much is that read by a good agent worth? $200? $500? $1000? Cons: In this economy, I feel bad spending money I should be saving. Pros: The money is going toward a great cause (diabetes research) AND I may get an agent out of it. Oh! Shiny, elusive may!

Before I go attack my pile of non-writing-related work, my query is up for critique in a couple places! Check it out and leave your thoughts (pretty please!): Call My Agent and Editor Unleashed (you need to register for this one ... I highly recommend registering though because Maria Schneider has guest agents visit all the time)

* Even though I'm jet-lagged, I wish I was in NY attending BEA right now ...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

10-hour flights = 10,000 words?

I'm off to Paris!!

I'm bringing with me:

* Aprilynne Pike's WINGS
* Melissa Marr's WICKED LOVELY
* and my laptop!

If I can crank out 1,000 to 2,000 words an hour, to and fro Paris, I just may complete 98% of FRIENDS WITH DEATH!

I still need to do some skydiving and hospital/diagnosis research - the last 2% - but that can wait until I return.

My internet access will probably be spotty so my blog updates will be far and few. My best-dad-ever recently surprised me with a really cool Flip video camera (ultra HD), so once I'm back, I'm going to try and review all the Young Adult books I've read via video!

I hope everyone has a fabulous two weeks!

Au revoir!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sausages, Sangria, and Synopses - Oh My!

Last week, I worked on my manuscript every single day (at least 6 hours every night). All I did was sleep, work, and write. OK ... I fibbed. I did stop to shower and eat things - even though I forgot to eat more often than not ... who knew editing was such a great way to lose weight? What's funny is that I put my manuscript on a diet, too.

I am pleased to announce that my 109,000 word manuscript is now 13,000 words lighter! *cake for everybody*

I celebrated Saturday with portuguese sausages and red wine sangria and then spent half of Sunday agonizing over my synopsis. I didn't save any sausages or sangria for you, but here ... if you ever find yourself in a synopsis pickle, I present to you, ladies and gents, my research:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Snip! Snip! Snip!

I've been slaving away and editing like a madwoman, but I just wanted to drop by real quick to tell you THAT IT IS POSSIBLE!

-- What's possible?

-- Deleting words.

-- No way.

-- Yes way.

-- But ... every single word in my manuscript is important! They're my BABIES! My BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS!

-- They may be important to YOU, but if (A) the READER won't miss them, (B) your story still makes sense after they're gone, (C) three sentences is just as good as a whole chapter, or (D) all of the above ... snip! snip! snip!

-- So how did you get rid of 9,000 words so quickly?

-- I combined two chapters.

-- Any other tips for deleting?

-- Adjectives and adverbs. Oh, and, let's say your characters' names are John and Susan. If John and Susan know each other, they do not have to ADDRESS each other in every other sentence. Cutting out names will help decrease your word count.

-- But I like words that end in -ly!

-- Spend your precious writing time on your dialogue and ACTION sequences instead.

-- You do realize you're having a conversation with yourself, right?

-- ... Yes.

* Blog posts like this happen when you don't eat/sleep because you're too busy writing, btw.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Writing YA?

Then go here. Call it "teen reasearch." Call it "wonderful."

You're probably tired of hearing me say, "I'm editing THE UNICORN TAMER again," so I'm going to talk about something personal and *exciting*: I am going to Paris in May!! My mom and I were supposed to go the summer after my college graduation, but then real life (i.e. job) got in the way. 5 years later, we're FINALLY doing it and I am *dancing* with joy+other fuzzy feelings.

We'll be in Europe for 10 days, staying mostly in Paris and taking mini-trips to Versailles (I love the word "Versailles" ... it just sounds SO romantic to me), Champagne (official bubbly!), Brussels and Bruges (chocolate! mussels! beer! lace! chocolate! chocolate!).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Five-r

1. Two of my favorite bloggers, Jackson Pearce (author of AS YOU WISH and SISTERS RED) and Authoress (Secret Agent mastermind and fellow aspiring published author) are both working on new manuscripts and for a brief couple of days, the three of us were all hovering around the 20k mark. The ladies have now BOTH surpassed me in word count, reaching the mighty 30-40k.

I have everything outlined, I know what's going to happen, but I am not producing the word count that I want! Must. Stop. Tweaking. As. I. Go.

2. Deleting words is harder than writing them. Even though I feel like every paragraph I cut is like pulling off a sticky band-aid, it must be done.

3000 / 19000 words. 16% done!

3. It's been 2+ months since I've sent in my full to Firebrand ... my heart beats uncomfortably fast whenever I think about it, so I don't let myself think about it too often. I'm just hoping, and waiting, and ... honestly, would rather not hear unless it's good news. I'd rather just continue hoping.

4. Coolest thing #1: I got another request!!!! *confetti* Coolest thing #2: I received the request in a comment on my previous blog post! How neat is that? I don't know how Ms. Stampfel-Volpe found me, but I am ecstatic!

5. I got sucked into reading interviews yesterday. I. Could. Not. Look. Away. The interviews were long and thorough, seriously good reads. I really enjoyed "A Q&A With Agent Molly Friedrich" and even though the following advice is obvious, it still packed a great deal of punch (IMO):

Q: "Tell me what you're looking for when you're reading a first novel."
A: "That's so easy. I'm looking for the first page to be good. Then I'm looking for the second page to also be good. Really! The first page has to be good so that I will go to the second page and the third and the fourth."

Self: Just focus on the first page. Make the first page the best first page in the whole wide literary world. Then, work on the second page.

The interview was 5 pages long. If you don't have time to read it, I'll copy and paste my favorite parts here for you in the next couple of days. Now I'm off to do work and count down the hours till dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant in the City!

Keep writing!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm Sorry, I'm Already Seeing Someone

What I mean is ...


Don't you hate it when that happens?

This is why the dream of the full-time-stay-at-home-writer is so great. Because then there would be enough time in the day to meet your word count for your WIP, edit your completed manuscript, query agents, research the most random "need-to-know" things (latest research: the differences between the left and right side of the brain), and START NEW MANUSCRIPTS!

I really wish I could share my idea with you, at LEAST that would be somewhat satiating, BUT it's currently a sekrit.

Will try to distract myself by FULFILLING FRIENDS WITH DEATH word count and buying books. I am srsly struggling with my first-person voice. Before I change my mind and re-write to 3rd person, I'm going to read some first-person YA authors and try to learn from them.

Currently in my shopping cart:

WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr
LET IT SNOW by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson
DEVILISH by Maureen Johnson
HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE by Tina Ferraro
WINGS by Aprilynne Pike

What are you reading?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Entering Contests

I missed Miss Snark's monthly "Are You Hooked" call for submissions today. I am sooo bummed! That's two months of no entering.


One door closes, another window opens, right? Well, the window came in the form of QueryTracker's one sentence pitch contest! I sent in the following to try and entice Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary:

THE UNICORN TAMER, a Greek mythology meets Pokémon middle-grade fantasy that will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen's HOOT and Brandon Mull's FABLEHAVEN, is about 13-year-old Emma Brown who, after the mysterious disappearance of her mom, enters a steampunk version of our dimension where endangered creatures such as blue whales, centaurs, and pegasi are protected from ruthless Hunters by teenagers.

I know ... it's a mouthful! I hope she likes it! *crosses fingers*

Friday, April 3, 2009

Back Seat Writing

My writing has taken a back seat to life these past few weeks. Life, death, boyfriend, being there for my friends - all took top priority.

Come April 6th, it's all gonna shift baby. Life is gonna move on back and writing is going to be front and center. By the end of May, I have two goals:

1. Complete the first draft of FRIENDS WITH DEATH
2. Shrink THE UNICORN TAMER by 20,000 words.

I have - once again - halted the query process. My number 1 concern right now is running out of MG agents to query. Last week, I learned that a friend-of-a-friend, who is a super duper talented woman, is working for the excellent Andrea Brown literary agency! Mary - said talented lady - has offered to crit my ms and query which is beyond generous. So I'm taking a break from querying so I can shrink my ms to a more appropriate MG size, apply Stephen Barbara's advice, and wait for Mary's crit.

April is going to be the month of 70,000 words and I'm pumped!

Do you guys have trouble balancing family, friends, sleep, work, pilates, video games, TV, showering, writing, editing, etc. as well?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Twitter Teaser Tuesday!

Twitter Teaser Tuesday! If you want to play too, please tweet & entice us with an excerpt. #TTT

"She held out a fist and opened her fingers slowly, palm up. Bright, orange flames danced gaily in her hand. Like a moth attracted to the light, Ben couldn’t help but look over at his wife who had suppressed this gift for close to 13 years." #TTT

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Found My Happy Writing Place, but I Can't Afford It

I was at Homewood Winery in Sonoma, sitting outside on a tall, wooden table with an English lab gnawing on a pinecone at my feet. I was sipping sauvignon blanc, enjoying the sun on my skin, and gazing out at the newly-sprung flowers when it hit me: I could probably finish my novel if I had my laptop right then and there. I've found my happy writing place. Even though I've still got at least 60% of the book to write, I was inspired and content and fueled by the perfect weather in the perfect location.

Unfortunately, California wine country comes with a hefty price tag. What's your happy writing place?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Agent's Critique

I promised to keep you posted so here we go:

In February, I agonized for weeks over how many $1 "lottery tickets" I wanted to buy to win a manuscript critique by super-agent Mr. Stephen Barbara. The critique was worth A LOT to me because it'd be the first time a professional pair of eyes would read my story. With the economy the way it is though, I didn't want to spend too much. If it were an auction, at least I'd know that my $200 will either win me something or I would lose the bid, but get to keep my money. With a lottery on the other hand ... if you buy $200 worth of lottery tickets and your number doesn't come up, game over.

Anywho, I spent an amount I was comfortable with (if you're wondering, I did not spend $200) and on the night of the drawing, refreshed the results page like mad. To my extreme delight, I won and Mr. Barbara contacted me a couple days later. Wee!

I have to admit, a big part of me hoped that he would fall in love with my story and that the critique would turn into an offer of representation - a girl can dream, right?

Even though that didn't happen, I still bounced with joy over the feedback he gave me. BONUS: he said some very nice things:

"In terms of my critique, I think you have a big premise here and potentially, a novel with a strong chance to succeed in the market ... I also like your line by line writing."

Another SUPER-DUPER-BONUS: he recommended a handful of agents he thinks may like my story.

He was very kind, very professional, and as he listed the things I could work on, I nodded along. This was what I was hoping for: some direction.

Even though his feedback was my-novel-specific, I thought I'd share some of his great advice to help you with your writing.

1. To help improve pacing, he recommended that I read books by Eoin Colfer and Kenneth Oppel - authors he called "masters of tension." He stressed the importance of moving the story forward and establishing a strong and urgent sense of pace.

2. Avoid genre cliches - show readers something they haven't seen before! Got a gorgeous vampire in your story? A white wizard? Sprinkle them with *special* dust and make them edgy and different. Fantasy is a crowded market and you don't want to be "stale."

3. As your heroes get stronger toward the end of the book, be aware that there will be a lot less tension. To counter the strength of your protag, make the obstacles greater. Basically, the big, bad, nasty monster needs to grow, too. It'll make the battle at the end much more powerful.

Hope this helps you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Twitter Teaser Tuesday!

I unofficially declare today & every Tues: Twitter Teaser Tuesday! If you want to play too, please tweet & entice us with an excerpt. #TTT

"With a laugh in his eyes, Christoph said, 'Girls will do that to you. Make you sweat out of places you didn’t even know you had.'" #TTT

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Harry Potter Was Pitched to Editors

This video makes me giggle!

Editor: So her book's about a magic kid and he goes to school ...
Agent: *magic school*
Editor: And they do sports?
Agent: Oh yes.
Editor: Tennis?
Agent: No.
Editor: Football?
Agent: (pause) *magic football*
Editor: So what is the plot?
Agent: He's trying to avenge his parents' magic death!
Editor: Right.
Agent: *magic death*

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two Awesome Guys Whose Names Begin With 'N'

Agent Nathan Bransford teaches about character arcs (really, really essential writing stuff, folks) and answers questions in a cool interview.

and! One of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, has a video interview on! His prose makes my heart skip beats. If only I could write half as well as him ...

So what's up this week?

Did not make the ABNA cut, but am not too bummed about it. I think I prefer the traditional agent route anyway. On the query note, received a rejection on a query I sent in November and have not sent anymore out. Would love to, but am not in love with my query. Don't know if I ever will be. Still waiting to hear back from Ms. Cornier and Mr. Barbara. Have reached the 20,000 mark on FRIENDS WITH DEATH, but have not written anything new in two days. Signed up for a account (for my protag), but got overwhelmed by all the single boys.

Oh, and Happy St. Paddy's Day! I'm sorta bummed that the cafe is not serving brisket and cabbage. Hm. Green beer would make it better, but I don't know where I can get my little hands on some. I also completely forgot to wear green which is weird because I happen to own many a green things. On a happier note, it feels like Christmas! squee! Just learned about all the spiffy new iPhone OS 3.0 updates. Finally, foto text messaging and copy and paste! Hurrah!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


After all that I've learned from #queryfail ... I still queryfail.

I found a spelling mistake tonight on a query I sent to 3 agents.

Yes, I spell-checked, but the computer is not smart enough to know that I meant "form" and not "for."

This makes me very, very sad.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Hello! I don't have enough content to post a Friday Five, but Agent Colleen Lindsay tweeted a really cool blog that I wanted to share with y'all:

"The Public Query Slushpile: Writers, you can submit your queries to this blog. I'll post them, and then visitors can comment on each query. Hopefully they will leave encouraging feedback and constructive criticism. I'd like to think that at some point, a few agents and/or editors may start trolling these waters and find something they like in this Public Query Slushpile."

I threw caution to the wind and submitted my query for public consumption!

I've been agonizing over my query letters for two weeks now. Every time I get a rejection, I re-write. It's very sad. I currently have 5 queries written, but since it took me about 7 drafts each ... technically, I've written about 35 queries ... eep! Query 1 seems to be the most successful. It was the one that got me 2 partial requests from amazing agents. BUT, it was also the one I've used the most. Query 4 is freshly edited and the one I used to submit to the above blog. I decided to post it here, too. Let me know what you think if you get a chance!

Dear Agent,

With a pro-environemt motif similar to Carl Hiaasen's HOOT, THE UNICORN TAMER is Greek mythology meets Pokémon.

Try being 13 and discovering that your parents spent your whole life lying to you.

Try being 13 and having to deal with a kidnapped dad.

Try being 13 and learning that your mom - yeah, she can create fire with her bare hands.

When Emma Brown's dad mysteriously disappears, Emma is catapulted back to her birthplace - a dimension where fairies are anything but tales. In the wonderland called Drualtys, teenagers study to become Tamers - people who form unique bonds with legendary animals to save them from extinction. Through this bond, Tamers absorb the creatures' majick, special powers ranging from the ability to control lightening, run on water, or see through skin.

Emma embraces her taming lessons to rescue her dad from the Hunters, a ruthless clan of humans hell-bent on proving that man is the most powerful beast of all. Their mission: murder the creatures of Drualtys and steal their majickal abilities. The prize: a unicorn's cloak of invisibility. Together with her newfound friends, including a half-pixie who's too pretty for his own good and a whimsical boy who can talk to animals, Emma must stay one step ahead of the Hunters and save her dad and the unicorns - before she is hunted herself.

THE UNICORN TAMER is approximately 100,000 words and is the first in a middle-grade fantasy trilogy. Upon your request, I'd be more than happy to send you the complete manuscript.

I graduated from Santa Clara University with a Major in Communications and a Minor in Creative Writing. I worked on my university's literary magazine as well as a Children's Storyteller at Barnes and Noble.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.



Thursday, March 12, 2009

Waiting On A Full

The road to publishing is difficult and depressing. Shiny, happy BUT, it's also exciting! First kiss exciting!

I'm currently on my *first* full request and if you think waiting for a query or partial reply is agonizing, just wait till you're in the spot I'm in right now. Waiting for a reply on a full is COMPLETELY and UTTERLY different than waiting for a reply on a query or a partial. I'm no longer refreshing my Gmail every two minutes. I kind of don't want to ever open my Gmail again. The reason: because if the agent loved my full, I'd be getting a phone call, NOT an email.

Now you can see why Gmail and I currently aren't speaking.


* 1 full out
* 1 full crit out
* 12 rejected queries
* 4 no-answers
* 2 no-answers that probably mean no
* 7 agents that I really, really want to query
* 4 days till ABNA (Amazon Breathrough Novel Award) quarterfinalists are announced
* 9,000 words that need to be deleted from THE UNICORN TAMER
* 33,000 words that still need to be written to make my March wordcount goal for FRIENDS WITH DEATH
* 19 more days in March left
* 1,740 words need to be written a day
* 0 words written today (#writerfail)
* 9, on a scale of 1-10, on how much do I hate writing hooks? (with 10 being 'a lot')

Friday, March 6, 2009


I learned today that printing with an inkjet printer takes a VERY, VERY, VERY long time! Cry. I started at 3PM - thought I had plenty of time to print my whole manuscript out (380 pages/doublespaced) and make it to the post office before 5PM. Wrong. Printing was still going on at 5PM. Fail.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Can't. Pull. Myself. Away. From. Twitter!


Because it's #queryfail day!

RT @christinepuddin aspiring authors: today is #queryfail day! it's like a free "do not do" query class from agents - check it out!

The agents are really doing us a HUGE favor! Also, some of the #query fail tweets are HILARIOUS! So go, what are you waiting for? Go glue yourself to Twitter for day.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ahh, Book Research

You know what's on my writing-to-do-list for this week?

Sign-up for a account.

Not for me, no. I've been happily dating the same guy for 4 years. It's research for my book. I need to find my dying girl a boyfriend ASAP. Since my protagonist is under 18, she's not going to be picking up guys at a bar. So she's turning to the interwebs for true love. I'm not REALLY going to create an account but I'm going to go through the motions so I know what it's like.

This should be fun.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Five

Not only is it the end of the week, but it's the end of the month! February went awfully fast, didn't it?

1. If you don't read Nathan Bransford's blog yet, subscribe now. Seriously, right now. Because if you don't, you're missing out on one of the best literary agent blogs out there. Period. Nathan's blog was the first blog I subscribed to and he was also the first agent I queried. He's smart, honest, knowledgeable, and incredibly charming. He also links to great stuff , like this.

2. I. Can't. Stop. Thinking. About. Writing. All I want to do is write because there's SO MUCH TO DO: sentences to delete, character voices to improve, people to kill. Unfortunately, other things get in the way. Driving, work, showering - doh!

3. I should be querying more. All the success stories I've read usually start with, "... I queried 100 agents." It really only takes one. I've been quiet in the query department because I've been anxiously (very, very, very anxiously) waiting for a reply from Ms. Cornier. But, it sounds like agents are receiving up to 500 queries per week! So maybe I should just get my queries out there so I can start ... practicing to be patient. Ahh the strange phenomenon that is waiting!

4. I did not reach my 25,000 wordcount goal for end of February. I'm punishing myself by setting a 50,000 goal by end of March. Get 'errr done!

5. Please take a moment to mosey on over to Authoress' blog and critique my chapter ending! Pretty please?


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Read These

I read two very interesting articles today that I wanted to share with you:

One is a Q&A with 4 young editors who respond to questions like: "Give me some things that you find beginning writers doing wrong" and "Aside from what's on the page, and somebody's skill as a writer or voice or obsessions, what other things influence your thinking and decision-making?"

The other article is about Binky Urban - executive vice president of International Creative Management. She talks about the authors she represents, e-books, and how we're in the midst of a literary revolution.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Epiphany Before Bedtime

Sometimes I just get these *spurts* where all I think about is writing and all I want to do is write. I rushed through bath time and dinner time and have been sitting in the same position for about 2 and a half hours. I've written about 1,800 words.

I've mentioned before, I don't really write detailed outlines. But tonight, for some reason, I just had to. Writing an outline for the entire series will help me make sure that it's the best it can be [at the moment] for Mr. Barbara. I'm - ONCE AGAIN - going through THE UNICORN TAMER with a big, fat, red pen. Didn't I just do this before I submitted my full to Nadia Cornier? Why yes, that's correct. But Christine, weren't you supposed to do that before you started querying?

Why yes, that's correct BUT ... there's a but. I had an epiphany!

I don't think a writer can ever say, "OK, I'm done fiddling with this forever!" The only way I'm ever going to stop making it better and better is if somebody takes it from my hands, publishes it, and puts it on shelves. Only then will the story be safe from my big, fat, red pen because, well ... there will be too many copies to hand-fix. And bookstores don't like it when you write in their books. I should know. Did I ever tell you I worked at Barnes and Noble for 4 years in college?

Anywho - good night!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Won The Lottery!!

No, not the monies ... but, for an aspiring author, the prize is just as good:

Manucript Critique by Agent Stephen Barbara!

If you went to school in the U.S., you've probably read THE LOTTERY by Shirley Jackson. As a young girl who wanted to be a writer when she "grew up," this vivid short story definitely left a big, purple, internal mark.

I agonized for days over how much I felt comfortably losing - tickets were $1 and you could buy as many as you wanted. When I saw my name on the winning list, I was dancing on cloud 9!

I'll keep you posted on THE UNICORN TAMER'S journey to Mr. Barbara! Swoon!

To read more about the contest I entered, go here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Query Haikus


Girl saves endangered
mom, unicorns, and schizo
leprechauns from hunt


Kate sees black auras
warns the dying: get dessert!
underworld boyfriend

Yeah ... I think I could've done better. They were really hard to write! I went through at least a dozen drafts.

Friday Five-rrific

1. Resurrecting my Twitter account was the best thing I did this week! Also the most time-consuming (you can endlessly go from one followers' list to the next). I am addicted to following literary agents and experienced/aspiring writers ... it's really quite a lot of fun. I mean, who knew you could learn so much from just 140-character snippets? Or be so entertained?

2. What happens when I discover someone new on Twitter? I find their blog, too! I am now following 60 stupendous (people should really use this word more) blogs and my brain likes gobbling up all that literary information! Please don't 'splode, brain. Soak it up!

3. The last query I sent was ... January 12th. I'm waiting to ... (be still my heart) ... hear from Firebrand before I start the query process again (hopefully ... I won't have to ... gah! crosses fingers and toes). In the meantime, I'm all about contests! There are the super fun mini-ones like: MSFV's Secret Agent and The Swivet's haiku query challenge. Even though they're small contests, the prizes are fabulous: like query and manuscript critiques! Then there are the big ones like ABNA - March 16th is when the field is narrowed from 10,000 to 500!

And finally ... for #4 and #5, I leave you with two funnies:

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell. She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes."Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"

"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."

and Jackson Pearce's Book-A-Minute video on Twilight.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fluttering Heart

(Conflict-free) Diamonds, flowers, cupcakes ... yes, all the above make my heart go a'flutter. But I'm also an aspiring author which means that partial and full requests make my heart race as well.

I am just ... oh-so-nervous and I know, I know I'm getting my hopes up WAY TOO HIGH, but I can't help myself. I'm excited and nervous and ... no ... I'm not going to throw up, but seriously heart, calm down!

Firebrand held a Query Holiday where they accepted and read over 3,500 first chapters. They only requested a little over 100 full manuscripts. Yup, I am one of the uberly lucky 3%. A part of me just wants to be grateful and I am (!) but ... can I also be an itsy bitsy hopeful as well? So far, Firebrand has extended two offers with one acceptance. I hope they don't stop extending offers. Yes, I hope that I get a golden ticket.

You can read all about it here from Firebrand Agent Nadia Cornier's blog.

Seriously. Can't. Stop. Dreaming.

Am I one of those "bring into meetings" manuscripts? Will I be???

I'll keep you posted - good or bad, I promise.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Learn From This

Just a quickie:

If you don't already know this - I love my Google Reader. I get a high from reading blogs by literary agents, accomplished authors, and aspiring writers - you know, the kind of high you get when you're reading a really good book.

Just wanted to share three - educational - blog articles that I read today:

From Editor Unleashed: "Want to publish a book in three years? The time to start building your readership for that book is now." I really liked the tips on how to better your blog!

and from Danielle Steel: I thought it was super interesting to read about her writing process. She's so disciplined!

and from Dame Jackie: because you can never have enough query advice ...


Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Five

1. Aspiring writers meet Authoress. Authoress meet aspiring writers.
If you have not yet heard about the blog Miss Snark's First Victim, you're seriously missing out. Authoress, the lovely, hard-working blog owner, puts on Secret Agent contests once a month! There's one going on right now and I'm entry #22. Go forth and critique (please)! And come back for the next Secret Agent contest come March - seriously, they're ADDICTING! Free, honest feedback, with the possibility of a query or manuscript critique by an agent - what's not to love? It's like Christmas every month!

2. I edit as I write.
That's how THE UNICORN TAMER came about. I'm still making minor (but still important) tweaks such as grammar fixes and simplifying sentences, BUT I have not done any huge, heavy re-writing. After one whole week of intense line-edits, I'm taking a breather from TUT and working on FRIENDS WITH DEATH.

3. Wordcount deadlines.
As I've mentioned, I tend to edit as I write, but I know a lot of (successful) writers who write, focusing all their energy on meeting their word count goal, and edit when the manuscript is completed. I'm going to try and force myself to just write FWD. I really want to complete the manuscript ASAP and I'm not getting very far because I keep re-reading and tweaking already written parts. I work 50 miles away from home and take the shuttle to and fro so I'm going to try and use that time to fill all that white space with black! Words shall be spilled!

4. There's a GREAT Q&A going on over at the Debs. If you ever wondered what kind of financial terms/compensation is common for a typical young adult novel or how long it takes to find an agent - mosey on over!

5. My Early Valentine
I dislike the commercial aspect of Valentine's Day (it seriously bums me out to see Valentine's day cards and candies being sold the day after Christmas), but it's a nice day as any to have date day! The beau and I are celebrating Valentine's day early tonight with a chocolate-themed dinner complete with beer pairing! Om nom nom!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ABNA Kept Me Up At Night

I've been spending the last two days scrubbing THE UNICORN TAMER until it gleamed. Since December, I've been toying with the idea of entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, but kept going back n' forth on my decision. I don't know what exactly swayed my mind, but I, on a whim, decided to start the ABNA entry process at midnight. Two hours of formatting later ... I was officially a contestant.

I still have my heart set on the traditional route: query, agent, publisher, Barnes and Noble, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to try. After 2 solid days of line-editing, I fell in love with my first novel all over again so I'm going to do everything I can to get it published.

Next on my list: sending out my full ms to NC and really putting some meat on the bones of FRIENDS WITH DEATH ...

Dream on!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Foodie, Lush, Writer

The only excuse I have for not writing or blogging about writing is this: it's because all I've been doing is eating gorgeous, delicious foods and learning a lot about the foreign object that is wine.

January was a busy month:

* I turned 27 (!)
* the bf and I turned 4-dating-years-old
* we saw one musical (The Phantom of the Opera) and stayed at one spa (MacArthur's Place)
* we visited two museums (the Academy of Sciences and the De Young) and the Conservatory of Flowers - all in one day
* we dined at one of Thomas Keller's restaurants (Ad Hoc) and one of San Francisco's best (Gary Danko)
* we visited 10 Sonoma wineries (2 consecutive Saturdays) and tasted over 40 wines
* we ate real (non-Americanized) Italian and French food

Since January was an extreme foodie and lush month, February will be more writing intensive. It's already begun:

* I got my first full request!! And it's from Firebrand!! Maybe birthday wishes do come true?
* As promised, blurbs for my work and my work-in-progress: THE UNICORN TAMER and FRIENDS WITH DEATH!!!!

Coming up:

* Reaching the 15,000 mark for FRIENDS WITH DEATH
* Miss Snark's First Victim's February Secret Agent contest

Happy February Writing, friends!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Fluffy" Gets A Real Title!

Agent Colleen Lindsay is having a super fun query contest on her blog: Write a query in 140 characters or less!

I decided to try to entice her with a a sentence about Fluffy! I'm also taking this opportunity to introduce you to Fluffy:

FRIENDS WITH DEATH: Mary Kate has 2 problems: an almost dying boyfriend and a guy who calls himself Death who visits her in her dorm room.


I am SO EXCITED to finally tell you about my work-in-progress. I'm having so much fun writing it. I hope to finish in February or March, but we'll see. Here's my current word count:

12533 / 60000 words. 21% done!

Coming up: I'm going to post short blurbs (think of them as mini-synopsis without telling you the ending or ... the "meat" of what I'd put in a query letter) for both THE UNICORN TAMER and FRIENDS WITH DEATH. Huzzah!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Game is Rejection!

I wonder if I'm:

A) growing thicker skin
B) so crazy in love with The Unicorn Tamer that I'm sure somebody somewhere will love it too, thus, am driving forward, full-force, like a train with no brakes ...
C) trying to stay optimistic because it's only January

I think a little bit of B and C.

Query update:

14 queries sent
8 rejections
2 partial requests
2 partial rejections
0 full requests
4 pending/possible No Answers = Rejection

Kinda shameful numbers huh ...

In the new year, I've sent 4 version 2 queries (I'm going to send about 6 more before I decide if version 1 is better than version 2). I received 2 rejections today alone. Yay for the speedy response and well ... nay for the nature of the response.

I'm unnaturally not down ... I've got my eyes on the finish line! Is it bad that my first thought to the rejection was: "This means I can query so and so next ..."??

I hope I'm always this upbeat about rejection. Who knows. Maybe my next query update will be stained with tears and defeat.

On more brighter notes: I woke up at 7AM to enter Miss Snark's First Victim Secret Agent Contest. The response was enormous and all the spots filled up in 3 hours. I am super stoked that I made the cut! I'm lucky #23! Please stop by and critique if you've got a moment. The posts will be up on Wednesday.

Still waiting to hear from Firebrand ... crosses fingers!!! Also, trying to decide if I want to enter Amazon's Breakthrough Novel contest.

I'm making progress on Fluffy! I even have a title! I will post about my new, exciting project soon ... in the meantime, mosey on over to Kelly Gay's blog - she's got a nice post up about writing a series proposal!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Writing as a Hobby

The truth is, very few people get to do what they love for a living. It's more common to hear, "I hate my job" than "I love my job." Even fewer people can make enough money as a full-time, stay-at-home author who gets to write all the live long day (sounds great, doesn't it? but unfortunately, health insurance is very, very expensive). That's where hobbies come in. I think that you should obsessively, utterly, and completely love your hobby(ies) - especially if you don't like your job. Your hobby should make you feel good about who you are and who you want to be. Your job shouldn't define you, but I think your hobby can. Plus, a lot of us can't be in charge of our destiny in a corporate environment. I hope that by working my butt off, I can be in charge of my writing destiny.

I read this interesting post today about quitting your job to be a writer. I think it's a very smart, realistic point-of-view. If you ever dreamed about being a full-time writer, I think you should read it!

I especially enjoyed the part about practice (writing is like any hobby - to be good at something, you'll need thousands of hours of practice) and about rejection (agents/editors won't know about your work if you just leave it on your hard drive ... do not be so fearful of rejection that you don't send that ms).

I do disagree with what the author of the blog says about talent though. She believes that there's no such thing as talent. I disagree with her because I wholeheartedly believe that some people are born with natural gifts. I don't believe that talented people are better than people who have to try and work harder ...

And that's where hobbies come in. I mean, if you're lucky enough to be uber talented (or perhaps just plain lucky), you'd write bestseller after bestseller and get to be that full-time, stay-at-author who gets to write all the live long day. But for us non-magical-genius writers, it should be our hobby to write and to write and to write.

On an end note: I am desperately trying to catch up on my blog reading. I've also added two more blogs this week: Agent Nadia Cornier and Words on Words by Maggie Stiefvater. Read and enrich yourselves fellow aspwriters (aspiring writers)!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Setting My Sights High in 2009!

Happy 2009!

It's time to get my writing butt in gear! After 10 days of being gloriously lazy, it's time to get back to work. I'm in srs bsns mode. I have really high writing hopes for 2009:

-- an agent
-- a publisher
-- a complete YA Urban Fantasy novel

Pretty aggresive goals if I do say so myself. The point is ... to make aggressive goals! Dream those big, scary, possibly impossible dreams. The really sad part is not that you may not make your goals, but that you didn't even want to acknowledge them. So there, I wrote down goals that I may not succeed in. Time to celebrate!

Here are my current goals:

-- polish Chapter 1 and submit it to Firebrand's Query Holiday extravaganza by Jan 15th
-- submit to Miss Snark's First Victim's Secret Agent contest on January 12th!
-- Query 5 to 10 agents by Jan 31st
-- strengthen the partial portion of The Unicorn Tamer
-- read and provide feedback to 10 chapters of Jill's DTY by Jan 11th
-- write another 3,000 words to Fluffy (while listening to the Phantom of the Opera's outstanding soundtrack ... I received 5th row, Orchestra seats to the Phantom for Xmas and you can color me smittened! I think the story and music are perfect inspirations for my new ms! ... hmm ... must find the complete musical on CD ...)
-- read up on Amazon's Breakthrough Novel contest ... anyone entering?

So those are my writing New Year resolutions ... I wish you good luck on yours!