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Monday, December 6, 2010

RE WRITES. Do Them. Period.

My novel has officially been rewritten for the fifth time. Yes, fifth time's the charm, eh? So I began when I was turning fourteen and now a couple years on and I have a publisher interested to have a rewrite so here goes fifth time and wow...

First of all I feel that even the third time and the fourth may not be enough. It really depends on you personally and when you have reached that certain maturity with your writing you may not require as much rewriting but with a first novel...So I take a look back and forth and notice how much my writing has changed, It has improved drastically even in my own eyes and I am so excited to be finishing what I hope is my last rewrite. Not only did the writing improve, for I believe I've acquired my personal style instead of telling all the time, but I think the plot has improved drastically.

Now, what I can say is that I believe that rewriting is essential not only to get published but to get the BEST of your story out there. Hey, you may even be so great that your first draft is liked, who knows, right? But the thing is that your story can be better and once its out there, there is no going back. I know we all are desperate to have our words in print, in front of us, but those words can never be changed. They will forever be the words printed. So rewrite and think it over, rely on depth and emotion and oh, yes....I have a great tip. I have a new addiction and that is listening to battle music while writing. It helps, trust me. Especially if you are writing about battles, hehe. Anyways, what are your humble thoughts on rewriting and how many rewrites do you average?

Happy Holidays to you guys also!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Agitating Wait

Query Sent.

You bite your lip.

You check it over to make sure you got everything right.

What if you got the agent's name wrong?

Or what if you missed something?

Darn. But you didn't.

You check your e-mail.

Click. Click. Click.

You wait and click and refresh and read about the agent.

Weeks of clicking are over.

You no longer have fingernails to chew on, you ran out of coffee and red bull.

Should you open it?

It has to be a rejection.

Darn. You click again. They like it!

Manuscript request.

Toast yourself with champagne.

You send it off.

And now you have to wait...Again.

So how do you guys spend time waiting? I personally like to start to work on my next project and the other things I do in this funny thing called life. So, my next project happens to be book 2 of my trilogy. What about you?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another GREAT Contest

Gosh, I seem to be postng about contests WAY too muh, but there are so many great ones to enter that I can't help it! In fact I myself will also be hosting a contest once my blog reaches 100 followers, so help me get there!!! The new contest update is re Justine Dell's Contest over at her awesome blog! Go and enter!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing Changes, So do Blogs

Hello, fellow minions!

This whole summer I have been actively working on my novel and seeking an agent/publisher/person of interest and I can say that so far it has been fun. Fun, sad and exciting at the same time. If you have started to query your novel that you love so much you know what I mean. I have good stats, I think. Scratches head...

5 MS Requests

3 Partials (My top agency is one of those!! YAY!")

6 rejections (3 of them personal, I think, I will post them at the end and you guys tell me...)

4 no replies.

So so far so good, but did I mention I got a rejection on my MS? That made me really flustered disappointed and when I read over my novel (for the umpteenth time) I realized that I know why. The writing isn't up to par with the opening and I have changed. I analyzed my first novel and analyzed the second which I recently started writing and understood my mistake, and the weird thing is that it looks like those two books were written by two different individuals. The first has way too much tell and the second in very show and exciting. So here I am going back to the drawing board and letting thos MS requesters know about this (They were actually nice about it and said they would wait!).

Basically what my post is about is the way we change and fluctuate. Like our characters and ourselves our writing goes through so many stages and I really didn't realize that until now. These changes can be minor or major, but you can still notice them and now I can really understand what those who say to hone your craft mean. I didn't think I could get better back then. Now my own previous thoughts sound silly to me. So how have you changed? How has it affected your novel?
And the rejections promised.....

***Drum Beat***

Dear Ariel,

Thank you for the interesting query. The concept has many worthwhile elements but it doesn't appeal to me. We are rarely able to add new authors to our roster.

Best of luck,


and another:


Thank you for your query. I've read the sample chapters that you've sent, but we just can't represent your manuscript at this time. It's interesting and gripping and I'm sure you'll find the right agency for your story.


The Last one:


I really enjoyed reading through your material. You have great potential with this novel. Unfortunately, I cannot offer representation at this time due to the fact that I don't believe I have the knowledge to sell in the Fantasy market. Best of Luck.


Have an awesome day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Query Critique #1

My friend Jon, who works at a publishing house as a slush reader promised to read some of your guys' queries. Here is the first. Leave your comments and suggestions, I am sure Kay will appreciate them.

I’m sending THE BAD LUCK MAGNET -- a middle grade fantasy set in 1921, complete at 44,000 words. It was very common to start with a small description of your story at the beginning of a query letter, but unless I am hooked by the idea I don’t care for the title or the word count. At the same time, those can lead to a rejection themselves. Personally, I recommend sending the agent directly into the story.

Thirteen-year-old EMMA KLOKEN just knows she’s the unluckiest girl in the world. Just knows? I would recommend something along the lines of… “is the unluckiest girl in the world.” She could know, but really is she? The hook is interesting. But you are setting yourself up for another question which I want to see answered. I want to know why. Every time she turns around, her grandmother locks her in the broom closet -- even before she thinks about doing something wrong. Ok, I believe it would be very strange is her grandmother locks her is a closet every single time that she turns around. Does she lock her in the closet every time she sees her? Does she punish her in that way, or is she trying to let loose her own angst by taking it out on Emma? Just some things to think over. Emma wishes she was able to tell the old bat to go jump in a lake, but she daren’t. So she hats her grandma, but the conflict isn’t set up straight up and right in this query. There has to be more to her hate if she wants her own grandma stone cold, if you know what I mean.

When her family moves to Hardscrabble in the California Gold Country, Emma’s bad luck holds. I didn’t really hear of any bad luck in the first paragraph, other than her grandma locking her in a closet and I wouldn’t call that bad luck. Bad luck is when everything seems to mess up for you. But a nasty grandma isn’t luck its your family, and family you cannot change. The first girls she meets [NANCY and GLENDA] hold a grudge against her because they think Emma’s father ‘stole’ Nancy’s mother’s promotion. Here you mention bad luck again, but you don’t explain it. Why would two girls that are strangers hold a grudge against her because of something her parents did to one another. It doesn’t really make sense to me. You need more explanation and detail. Not a longer query, I am still recommending short but concise. When Nancy and Glenda take Emma for a picnic in the foothills, they throw her new bike down an abandoned mine shaft and ditch her. I still don’t see why they would do that to her. Because of her parents? Trying to rescue her bike, Emma slides into the mine where she encounters GRIMM, a hobgoblin, who rescues her.

When Emma learns Grimm was punished for helping her, she decides to go to Faery to rescue him. What is Faery? This should be mentioned WAY earlier. This IS the importance of the book I imagine. Not the way she got there but the adventure she will have there. Only problem, Nancy insists on joining her because Glenda has disappeared into Faery too. How exactly did that happen? I though they both ditched her?

Overall, I think you have a nice premise, but the query needs work. Not too much, but some rearranging will really make a difference. I wish you the best of luck!


Kay, thank you so much for sending in your query! I really like the premise as well and I am sorry I posted this so late. You can visit and FOLLOW Kay’s really awesome blog here: If anybody else would like their query critiqued by Jon, just e-mail me or comment and I will e-mail you and send it to him. :D

A toast to getting partials, manuscript requests and contracts for all of you guys!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Awesome, Sunny Days!

Who doesn't love summer? Hey, sometimes we complain but still summer is something that we all want to last forever. Maybe I am just talking for myself here, but that's me. Basically, summer is a great time to write and garner new ideas that will entice your lazy days and compel your imaginations forward. Nothing like the waves crashing against rocks by the seaside to relieve that writers block. :)

To get to the point, today's post is mostly an update. Mostly. Even more so I want to mention that the queries that were sent for critique on Tuesdays will be put up tomorrow. I sincerely and personally apologize for the delay and hopefully you haven't landed an agent yet so that the critique will be useful. Wait, what am I saying? Better off I hope you did but still critiques will come and if you have a query that you want to get critiqued let me know. Though my friend has been a bit busy lately he will get to your queries asap.

Apart from that I just came upon a pretty cool site that you might want to check out. Not kidding go and check it out if you haven't seen it already. There you can paste a paragraph of your writing and it will analyze the structure of your word usage and compare it to those of famous writers. Pretty cool, but really just for the fun of it. Might you guess who I got? Dan Brown. I was pretty surprised because I always thought myself less wordy than him. Hmm. Guess you never know. Anyways the url is: Enjoy and have an awesome Monday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

I am not DEAD! I was just hibernating.

Hibernating in the summer heat, right. Life has taken over a month of my writing and yes I have pulled away but I am back. I have been writing on and off but life had gotten busy and damn I was upset I didn't update my blog :( Well, just to let you guys know. I didn't fall of the CN tower or all of a sudden decide to learn how to fly off a mountain. I am still ALIVE! And from monday I am back to my bloggish blog thinger. Promis I will update with fun and exciting posts and comment too, so sorry if my blog semmed like a ghostly abandoned page for a while. Tootles and be back on monday!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

AW June Blog Chain

June’s Blog Chain is about presenting a scene that defines your main character’s attitude. I’ve selected a scene from my current MS, OVERCAST SHADOWS. He never knew what love was until around this scene...

Slowly they shuffled on the narrow, wooden pier, standing close to the middle so they wouldn’t fall into the deep, cold lake far below. The wooden structure ended after a few meters, at the spot where the executed bodies were thrown into the deep lake. The gusts of wind were cold and strong up on the pier, and Tiya grasped his hand tighter.

“We’ll have to jump and then swim to shore,” he told her.

“Is this the only way?” she asked as she looked up at his face, her eyes widened in fear. He looked down. The fall would be long and dark until they would hit the murky water.

“Yes, it is.” Vitiosus whispered. Tiya’s hair was tousling in the cool wind, her eyes shone in the dark and her lips were parted.

“I can’t,” she mumbled. They were standing so close to each other on the small walk bridge that Vitiosus could feel her warm breath against the skin of his cheek.

“Tiya, please…there is no other way.” Vitiosus took her shoulder gently and felt himself once again mesmerized by her honey brown eyes that were staring back at him.

“I ca—” Tiya whispered. She stopped when Vitiosus leaned in to kiss her. His heart was beating violently and his mind was swirling in confusion but it suddenly all felt right when their lips eagerly touched and his blood rushed through his body. It felt like the whole world was put on hold when Vitiosus put his arms around Tiya’s waist, hugging her more tightly as the wind blew around them. Tiya’s hands wrapped around him, and the wind surrounded them as one. After a long embrace, they reluctantly parted and gazed at each other in awe, each knowing that they had changed in some way. Vitiosus had never felt love before, and what he felt for Tiya was rushing through his blood in unstoppable waterfalls of emotions.

Tiya touched his cheek with her cold fingers, her eyes still glued to his and whispered, “If there is no other way, I will jump.”

Here is the list of participants to the June Blog Chain:

Aimee Laine:
Lyra Jean:
Fokker Aeroplanbau:
Alpha Echo:
xcomplex: ME!!!

*If you didn't get a comment from me! I am reading all your posts now :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

World Building and Query Tuesdays!

I write mainly Fantasy and Science Fiction and World Building is a very important part of that genre. If say in fantasy you are setting the story in your own world, it is critical to describe the scenery, the smells, the unusual creatures, without over doing it. This is the trick and this is what we gotta do.

Personally I hate when world building is over done but also I hate when I pick up a book and after reading 30 damn pages, I still don't know what the hell a mesonur is (I still didn't find out by the way.) Maybe its the authors way of keeping us engaged in the book and making it interesting enough for us to want to find out what the heckle that is.

For me its essential to weave in exotic smells, noises and feelings that are only felt in my world, but with paragraphs of description we all start to skim through. So what is the key to world building even in non fantasy literature?

- Dropping key clues. Readers love clues and they do like to do some of the thinking work but hey, don't make them figure out what a mesonur is...That just isn't going to happen.

- Providing some background Information. Again don't over do it.

- Describing senses. Noises, feelings, voices, scents. It all brings us into your world.

- Appearance. Hey if you have gotten and rubber zombie (Whatever that is) as your lead character i want to know how it looks!

- buildings, Technology and Shrubbery even...Describe this all short and clear and again don't start talking about a shrub for ten pages. Been there done that. JK. Anyways that is my take on my world building, what's yours and have you read any books that throw you in and totally confuse you until the ends?

Query Tuesdays (That's tomorrow!)

And a little update for today. I got into contact with that guy that works at Penguin and he offered to critique 1 query every week on Tuesday! Isn't that awesome? I just got my query critiqued by him and it really helped, yet now comes revision time.

We can dissect it on my blog and you can get comments on what everyone thinks! His comments will be in red and I will add bits of mine in blue. So the way Query Tuesdays will work will be like so...Firstly Tuesday is tomorrow so I am not sure you guys will volunteer just yet, so if I won't get a query I won't send it his way or make a post, but if I will, yay! First come first serve here, I thought that would be fair. So whoever first sends a query to my e-mail at arielemerald (at) rocketmail (dot) com can get one tommorow. If you don't sorry, next week is always there. Also there will be a contest for him to critique a full proposal (query + 1st chapter) once I get 100 followers, so keep following and a big THANK YOU for following!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Some call it slums some call it nice!

Firstly I have been out from the blogosphere for nearly a week and I have an explanation! I was not just slacking. Last week and weekend I went on a great vacation to Calgary and as I rented a small cottage in a forest area I found that I had more inspiration than ever. If you didn't yet do a writing vacation out in nature it's worth the try!

Secondly, I have 37 followers! Thanks to all who are interested enough to read my blog. Once I reach 100 followers I have a friend who works in the publishing industry (To be specific Penguin). He isn't an editor or one of the major heads that can really get your book published but he knows enough about the business and has offered to critique three winning queries. So help me get there and the contest will be up!

Now to the topic. I was listening to a song called Welcome to Paradise by Green Day and while its not at all about writing some of the lyrics just struck me. Just like some area's of living (in the song) people opinioned on "Some call it slums some call it nice" I believe that goes to writing as well. Hell, sometimes rejections just might be because the editor/agent doesn't like the idea. I mean we are not all the same and that's what makes the world such a great variety. So tell me what you guys think and have a great weekend!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Project Intuition

For today its all about intuition. For me, when I start a project I just know if its really 'the' project or not. Some projects are like little pieces of entertainment and some are the real deal. For me it is all about how I feel about the project. Though I am quite a newbie to writing (I have been writing for probably a year) I do have experience and have started countless projects but I do follow my intuition when it comes to loving a project. Though I don't think I can write as awesome a novel as my debut I have tried out countless ideas from romance to horror and realized that my genre is always fantasy.  (Don't question that panther, lol)

Its that feeling you get when you start a project and you just know that you will have to finish it. Because you just can't not follow your character's journeys and you have to end it for their and your own curiosities sake. It doesn't happen for all the projects I work on. So what about you, how do you know when a project is 'the' project?

Friday, May 14, 2010


So the reason I started these interviews was to get to know the habits and journeys of other writers. Here is Lee Jacobus, who has published a book of short stories, and his newest novel Crown Island.
Firstly can you tell us a little bit about your novel ‘Crown Island' ?

Crown Island, the most beautiful of the Granite Islands ranging out from Quarrytown, a harbor community in Connecticut, is the magical world of Marie Wainwright and Peter Chello. Their love defies their differences in class, status, age, and culture. They are fated by the Gods to follow a challenging path. While married to others, they keep their love alive for thirty years. Marie, a famous writer who has always lived on Crown Island, brings a world of knowledge to Peter, while Peter brings the muse back to her after the loss of her family in a boating accident. Marie's novels become celebrated and Peter, an artistic stonemason and builder, discovers a richness in life that could never have been his had he not fallen in love with Marie. His path leads him to an understanding of how to share the gifts of love and life that he receives from his Idyll on Crown Island while staying true to his roots and his affection for Quarrytown. An adult story in an adult novel.
What is your writing background up until now?
I published quite a bit of poetry and many short stories when I was in my twenties and thirties, and in my forties I had several plays produced in showcase settings in NYC and NJ. I have published a number of scholarly books and university level textbooks with major publishers such as McGraw-Hill, St. Martins Press, Bedford Books, Oxford UP, and others.
What inspired your idea for your currently published novel?
Primarily an affection for the Connecticut harbor community that is the setting for my book. I lived in or next to it for more than 20 years. The Jamesian “germ” of the novel, though, was the vision of a woman standing on one of the islands looking out to sea one summer evening. From that everything else seemed to spring.
Do you have any specific daily writing routines you stick to?
Yes, it is essential to write every day. I set myself a minimum and maximum number of pages: never fewer than two; never more than five.
So now that you have published ‘Crown Island ’ are you planning a next novel we should be looking forward to?
Yes, “Crown Island” is the first of a series of Quarrytown Novels. Its subject is romantic love and the social context of Quarryton. The next, “An Alligator Ministry,” is essentially a comic novel whose basic theme is religion. A part-Seminole preacher comes into town and sets up his alligator ministry, which then polarizes Quarrytown. The third book is “Sins of the Fathers,” which examines a university professor’s painful relationship with his father, who felt he had made all the wrong choices in his life. Indirectly, one of the issues of the book is the significance of real estate and conducting a business, as opposed to choosing a life of the mind.
After you completed ‘Crown Island ' how difficult was it for you to land an agent?
Extremely difficult. I tried more than 50 agents and while some were interested, none felt that they could make any money with the book. It doesn’t have that commercial dazzle one needs in the first 10 pages. Only three agents asked to see the first three chapters.
The moment you got a positive reply with an offer for representation, what were your initial thoughts? I never got one from an agent. However, I had sent another book, “Volcanic Jesus: Hawaiian Tales,” to a major press and got a quick positive response. The Editor asked to see the novel I was working on, Crown Island, and helped me reshape some of the beginning of the novel and things looked great, but she left the house and no other editor there wanted the book. My original editor essentially disappeared.
How many rejections did it take for you to finally land that agent?
As I said, at least 50 and probably more.
Would you have any advice for aspiring writers?
First, write every day. Second, be sure to read constantly, especially the work of important writers. Read Publishers Weekly, Poets and Writers, but center yourself in the kind of writing you respect most. Then, before you query an agent, have your book professionally edited. After that, go online to an agency and see what the recommendations are for preparing a prospectus for your book.
Would you have done anything differently?
As it is, I along with three other published writers, formed an artists’ co-operative press, Hammonasset House Books, and then learned how to produce our books, get them up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and other online sellers, and also with Ingram, the largest book wholesaler in the country. We learned more than most writers do about the business of publishing. Some very prominent well published writers are following this path because they have been rejected by their own publishers on the basis of slack sales. It’s tough out there. The basic point is that we now know we can get our books out to the public and that we have complete control over design and editorial issues. And our books will be in print as long as we wish. At this moment they are moving onto the Kindle, and we are learning how to market our books online.

Thanks so much for your interview! I agree, that the key is to keep writing and keep trying. You can visit Lee's website and blog, make sure to leave a comment and follow. Have an awesome day!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Writing Influences...YOU!

I have already talked about influences of writing when it comes to noticing someone and placing them in your novel, or playing with previous ideas and adapting them into one, but for today it's a much different topic...

When I first started writing I started to think like a writer. Even more so as I continued. In fact I started to watch movies in different ways and read books in different ways. More so, I think I enjoyed books more before, because as a writer I start noticing all those nitpicky things writers notice and then the book sort of looses that awesomeness it had before for me...Like I might turn back to a book I used to love and realize its so damn cliché, what were they thinking? Movies, I start thinking about how I would write a story like that. How the writer would describe how the plot progresses and the certain action elements that happen. I start to wonder whether it would be as elaborate and whether it would be as persuasive as it is in the movie...hmmm....Which one would be better? So how about you? Did little things in your life change when you started to write?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Awesomesauce award :)

Yay! I got an award over at CipherQueens blog and I thought I would share it with you guys, because she decided to make it a most linked award sort of thing.  Even if the people you award it to don't take it and repost, let's link as many people as we know, alright? Ok so since those are the rules, I give this award to all the wonderful writers that follow my blog :) Feel free to hand this award out to all your followers guys and have an awesome saucy day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

**Interview with Piero Rivolta Novelist/Poet**

Hello Guys! I am posting allot today but it's needed and I am not going to delay the interview with another great writer and poet...Piero Rivolta who's debut novel was originally written in Italien, wow. Firstly can you tell us a little bit about your novel ‘The Castaway’?

It’s a journey of two characters, one a Jesuit priest with a complicated love life behind him and a former Wall Street businessman now living in Sarasota, Florida, whose story of true love was impacted by the tragic events of September 11th. Both trapped in time find redemption in a new land – the Yucatan – and a new sense of what earthly existence is all about in their admiration for the same woman. Though this shared sentiment, they not only renew their taste for life, but achieve oneness with God and his grace.
What is your writing background up until now?
I have been a writer and poet all my life, despite a business career that has included making luxury sport cars in Italy, raising race horses, building shopping centers, condos and residential communities, and manufacturing custom-designed yachts and motorboats
What inspired your idea for your currently published novel?
I believe that we must reintroduce poetry into everyday life, follow our intuition, court simplicity and counter the overemphasis on reason and complexity favored by our government, corporations and media.
Do you have any specific daily writing routines you stick to?
No, I go in spurts, depending on my schedule and other commitments.
So now that you have published ‘The Castaway’ are you planning a next novel we should be looking forward to?
I am working on two books of poetry.
After you completed ‘The Castaway’ how difficult was it for you to land an
agent?I don’t have one because I never found one beneficial for me. These days you have to paddle your own canoe.
The moment you got a positive reply with an offer for representation, what
were your initial thoughts?
I hope this person can do the job.
Would you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Enjoy yourself when you write. If you write form the heart with simplicity, you will find somebody that understands your message.
Would you have done anything differently?
Work less, think more for myself, write more, and not be disappointed by the superficiality of the government, media and financial institutions whose shortsightedness extends only to the next day or day after.
Wow, thanks Piero! From doing these interviews I have learned that every writer has an EXTREMELY different and unique journey and so do we all. Some land agents, some don't need to, can't or don't want to. But what I learned firstly and foremost is that there is always a way out there for your book. So guys I am really looking for guest Posters, if you are interested let me know. Tootles for now!

AW May musical blogchain

I posted a post on music before and I love music. I love listening to it when I write, and I love playing the music I listen to :)

When I write, I suppose my music changes. I do have a certain playlist that I like to listen to and that reminds me of my characters, but it highly depends on the scene for me. Let me break it down here...For example during a love scene or something of that sort I would listen to Still Loving you by the Scorpions. When my MC is down or upset I go for something like...wake me up when September ends or boulevard of broken dreams by Green Day. Yet during a war scene I may listen to something like Your Betrayal or Poison by Bullet for My Valentine.

I think music is a great way to stimulate writing and to get you in the mood. If you are a person that is easily distracted by lyrics I would suggest listening to instrumental records (I don't mean classical necessarily by that). When I turn on my awesome I Pod which I carry everywhere probably my fingers start typing. It helps me concentrate and music portrays those vital emotions which you need while writing that scene, that will make a whole difference in the novel.

Personally my MC if I compare him to music really reminds me of a song called What I've done, in a way. At the same time he is a fighter, so you can mix up that with Your Betrayal and you get him. These two songs really portray what is happening in his life. He is looking back at what he has done, all the pain he has caused and how the ones closest to him betrayed and played with his trust, leaving him a lone warrior.

She is very kind, generous and naive. I would have to have her share her character with the song called Viva la Gloria by Green day, because at the same time she does have a darker stronger world which she tends to hide from others. Still she isn't manipulative and is rather straight forward. Go Tiya!

Out of the blue good guy. His whole focus is figuring out the greater good and serving his nation. He is set upon his morals and won't change them for the world. A bit stubborn at times, yet fearless, I have to associate him with the song called Still Loving You, because he is extremely devoted to his loved ones and goes through allot of hassle to keep it that way.

Overall I think music has great influences of listeners and of course writers. What about you?

Here is a list of some bands you should listen to...

- Bullet for My Valentine
- Scorpions
- Slipknot
- Hinder
- Green Day
- Finger 11
- Linkin Park
- All American Rejects
- Metallica

This was my post for the AW May blog chain. Here are the rest of the awesome participants and bloggers, and sorry I am late guys. Make sure to go by their blogs and check em out. Have an awesome day!

The AW May Musical Blog Chain's Fantabulous Links Are:

Stefanie Gaither:
xcomplex: <<<<>>>
Hayley E. Lavik:
Aimée Laine:

Tick Tock...Goes the Clock...

Time is a gift, yet at the same time an evil thing that haunts all of our lives. It ticks, it tocks and passes, rises and falls and makes us want to turn it back. Yes, Time (sigh) goes by way too fast and though said so many times, it leaves me pondering on the subject of how much more I could do if I had more time. Hey, Leonardo Davinci only slept for 15 minutes every 2 hours or so, but unfortunately I live in the city, I work and I can't sleep every two hours and lurk in the night, which I do too often already (working that is, I am no vampire *snickers*). Seriously here though, one day I plan to do everything and I can't fit writing. Well, because writing was the last on the list in that everything. I am finished my last MS, and working on a new one, but when I worked on my fantasy novel allot of the time I just wrote...Apart from work that is. I sat down and wrote and let myself fall into the story, ignoring all those other things I had to do. I blame that on time. There simply isn't enough of it. Don't you agree? Have you ever felt like the damn ticks were going too fast?

Anyways, yay I have 31 followers, thank you guys for following my blog! If I haven't yet followed you back give me a jingle, no don't call me lol, send me a message. Also I will be having an awesome contest when I reach 100 followers so keep on following :) and I will try to keep on commenting on your blogs. And one more thing...Look out for another interview today.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Want to take a stab at my query?

Well, I posted my query over critique forums and got pretty good feedback but I thought it wouldn't hurt to see what you guys think. Is it at all gripping? Does it suck? Do you hate the idea? Be honest, I won't block you lol. I will appreciate the honesty because in the long run its help :)

Dear Agent,

Raised by his father to hate humans, Vitiosus is a dark Lassertian warrior feared by all. He secretly rescues humans from torture being inflicted upon them by his father’s army, only to see them murdered. His search for peace halts when he learns of his human mother, and that his impure blood could cost him his ambitions, his life, and the hopes of his nation.

Being the prince won’t help Vitiosus when he falls in love with Tiya, an imprisoned human girl. A group of rebels who threaten to attack the Lassertian kingdom see Vitiosus’ love for Tiya and take her hostage. Now Vitiosus has no way out except to surrender to the rebels, but on his way he meets with his long time adversary, Gabriel, a warrior on a mission to bring the Lassertian Prince to his queen dead or alive. During the ensuing battle, he discovers that Gabriel is his human brother. Now he must decide… to trust Gabriel and create a connection between their warring people to save Tiya and the kingdom, or to trust his own kind, that has been helping him all along. Battling for the rights of his people and humans, Vitiosus finds himself venturing a journey that leads him to discover the truth about himself, his people and his kingdom. He only has to keep his life, despite the fact that skulls appear everywhere he goes, warning him of the worst, his death.

OVERCAST SHADOW’S is a fast paced 89,000 word YA fantasy novel. I believe you’d be a great fit to represent my book because you work with fantasy, science fiction and YA and enjoy an action packed and intriguing narrative. Thank you for your consideration and time.



So what did you think?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another Contest!! DUH!!

Here is another one of those chances to win a query critique by the awesome sensei and free chocolate! Head on over to and enter before time runs out!

E-Publishing. E-Books and thoughts.

When I think of E-publishing my novel I literally just want to scream. For some reason it seems worse off to me than not publishing at all. Maybe its because I think that no body will really get to read it or maybe its because it can't ever be a paperback again. My poor book. In some ways E-publishing is freedom for many writers. Some novels have such specific genres that writers know they won't be fit for the market. E-publishing is much easier than vanity. Its faster and you have better chances in finding a fit pressm but is it nearly as satisfactory? I don't know to be honest...Some authors I know decided to just go the E route because of fear of rejections and some because they realized their book wasn't fit for publishing. What about you? What is your take on E-Publishing? Would you consider to Epublish your book or would you rather get published by a small press?

Personally I favor reading real books over E-books. I don't have a kindle so E-books I can only read over the monitor and the brightness just sort of distracts me from the story. I like the feel of real pages, covers and even the scent of holding an actual book in my hands. And hey, maybe one day it will be my book I will be holding. So pick one..E-book or hard cover? Which would you rather read?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

**Interview with the author of the Mobius Striptease**

Woopie! Another interview! I love hearing other's success stories and today we have Carolyn Haley on the blog who decided to publish her book as an E-book. Also my next topic on this blog.
Firstly can you tell us a little bit about your novel?

The Mobius Striptease is a cross-genre story centering on psychic power. It weaves science fiction and romantic suspense around a metaphysical mystery involving star-crossed lovers, whose relationships cause an outbreak of supernatural forces that will unbalance the world if unchecked.

The heroine, who finds herself the centerpiece of the affair, is skeptical about paranormal phenomena. So first she must overcome her disbelief, then figure out how to harness extrasensory powers and restore cosmic balance before the situation explodes. Although the forces manifest through people, creating a good-versus-evil drama, the underlying story is about positive and negative energies and their long-term, rippling effects.
What is your writing background up until now?
I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen. In early life, I wrote diaries and journals and did a lot of art. These morphed into novella-length teenage fantasies. I was on course for a career in illustration and graphic novels, but the combination of college, working lousy office jobs, and shared living arrangements took away the time, privacy, and will needed to sustain my art. So I channeled my energies into writing, aided by the arrival of computers. Since that turning, I’ve become a professional writer and editor -- and hope to stay on that path.
What inspired your idea for your current novel?
Two unanswerable questions bothered me: Do supernatural phenomena truly exist? and, What would I do if something supernatural actually happened to me?
Do you have any specific daily writing routines you stick to?
No routines, because I work as a freelancer, so every day is different. But I do write daily, mainly correspondence and mini-essays via forums and e-mail. Every second or third week, I compose an entry for my blog. All my commercial writing is driven by client schedules, and all personal projects are worked on when opportunity allows.
However, plots and concepts are always evolving in my head, and I consider that writing. I try to do creative work in the mornings when fresh, or the evenings when too tired to analyze. Regardless of timing, I first do a bad rough draft, then step away for a while, then return as often as necessary to revise and polish.
Why did you choose the E-book route rather than traditional publishing?
I took a hard took at reality and concluded that my novel doesn’t meet today’s publishing criteria. If you self-publish or vanity-publish, you can put out anything; but if you wish to be published by a commercial entity, then your book must have the potential to earn money. In general this means either something with mass appeal (ideally, a blockbuster) or genre appeal, so that an established audience will snap it up, talk about it, then stand in line for the next one.
The Mobius Striptease, as a hybrid, appeals to a small number of readers across several genres, so it can’t be vertically marketed. It’s also too esoteric to be a best-seller. I don’t have enough stories in me to pump out fast enough to build a genre audience. My choice, then, was to consign the book to the dustbin or find another means of reaching an eclectic audience.
My ego couldn’t accept vanity-publishing, and my pocketbook couldn’t handle self-publishing. That left e-publishing -- which, by the time I faced facts, was building up steam and opening new doors.
I had to be careful, though, because e-publishing is still so young that it lacks many of the quality controls that define traditional publishing. As yet, no brand-name, big-respect e-leader has emerged. Contracts, unusually unagented, are full of pitfalls. So I spent hours on the Internet, learning the players and the rules.
I compiled a list of e-publishers, then cross-referenced it to “writer beware” websites and any reviews or interviews I could find. That produced a (very) short list of candidates, at the top of which was Club Lighthouse Publishing in Toronto. This company publishes all the genres my book covers; lists its titles through major e-book outlets; offers a competitive royalty rate; and takes electronic rights only, for a limited number of years, leaving me free to pursue a print option. I also liked the editor's art portfolio, which offered the prospect of a good cover.All that homework paid off. Club Lighthouse accepted my manuscript and released it in December 2009 -- with a nice, zorchy cover!
How different do you think is the process in getting an E-book published vs. a hard back novel?The process is the same: study the market, compose a good query package, and keep submitting until somebody accepts. The difference lies in how easily the process goes, and how long it might take.
E-publishing has fewer gatekeepers, sometimes lower standards, and quicker response time. You can usually submit directly to the publisher, and often send the whole book on first contact. This combination is rare with print publishers, for which you usually need an agent. The query/response cycle can take weeks, months, even years and often requires installment submissions of query, synopsis, sample chapters, partial manuscript, full manuscript, in varying combinations.
The publishing industry is understaffed yet overwhelmed with submissions; meanwhile, the print marketplace is tightening. So the chances of publishing a first novel in hardback are akin to winning the lottery, unless you’ve got one of those blockbusters or genre-fitters mentioned above.
For your non fiction novel how many rejections did it take for you to finally land that agent?
Neither of my books required an agent, so I don’t have one. My attempts to land an agent for the novel, prior to switching to e-publishing, accrued dozens of rejections over 20-plus years.
Would you have any advice for aspiring writers?
It’s a two-sided equation. Nothing can happen without a finished manuscript, so you must (1) park butt in chair and write; and (2) understand your publishing options and their requirements. This is also twofold: You can (a) decide where you have the best chance of success, and write the sort of book that will take you there; or (b) write your book from the heart, then do the legwork needed to find its proper home. In either case, the name of the game is CRAFT. Learn to write well and appropriately for your market.
Would you have done anything differently?
Oh, yes! I wrote my novel backwards, glomming together a bunch of ideas then figuring out how to construct a story. Honing it to commercial standards took decades! Part of that came from not studying craft and market early. I learned everything the hard way and wasted a lot of time. Happily, I now have a better idea how to go about things, so the next book should come together a lot more quickly and easily.

Thanks so much Carolyn for doing this interview and I can't wait to get my hands on your novel! Though I personally have not had any experience with reading e-books...
For now, interested readers can learn about The Mobius Striptease through her page at Author’s Den or you can go ahead and read an additional story excerpt is available through the publisher’s website.

Don't we all LOVE updates?

Happy wednesday awesome people a.k.a writers! If you are wondering why that picture my answer is because i liked it. Apart from that here are some updates about what's happening with me, my blogs and the agents that rejected me. Firstly I want to say that I had another blog for a while. It's called Fantastic Fiction. I posted one post on it and then bam, I forgot about it. So now that CipherQueen reminded me I had that blog by telling me I won a makeover contest I decided to make use of it. Fantastic Fiction from now on will serve as a blog specifically for my personal stats, rejection posts and query critiques. Yes, I am going to offer to put up other's queries for ctitique, because I know the more opinions the more chance you have. So if you follow this blog follow fantasticfiction.
Secondly I just finished my second novel. Yay! It's a Paranormal Romance and yes it is YA. Actually its called the Drifter and its about Pip who is a drifter and has a special very cool supernatural ability. So what's going on with you guys?  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

**Interview with Sheila Lowe**

Today we have an interview with a great author, Sheila Lowe who has 4 mystery novels out there.  Firstly can you tell us a little bit about your very first published novel POISON PEN?[SL:] Poison Pen was my first novel, which took seven years to get published. I finished writing it in 2000, entered it in a competition (Southwest Writers), won third place out of 97 entries in mystery, and figured I was on my way! Not. I kept getting rejection letters that were complimentary, except they said, “it’s just not strong enough.” Unfortunately, they failed to tell me what that meant and it was a long time and many drafts later before I understood. Now, I’m happy to say, Last Writes, the fourth book in my Forensic Handwriting Mystery series, will be released July 6. There are sample chapters from each book at
What is your writing background up until now?
          [SL:] My first published book was non-fiction: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis came out in 1999. Until then I’d written a lot of technical monographs and articles about handwriting analysis (my avocation since 1967 and later career). A year after the CIG I was contacted by a publisher to write Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, which is a collection of 75 handwriting samples of well-known people from Galileo to Hillary Clinton, John Lennon, Ted Bundy, etc., etc., and my short analysis of each one.
What inspired your idea for your first (Poison Pen) published novel?
[SL:] I had always wanted to write fiction, but got busy raising 3 kids on my own and making a living, so the desire simmered for a long time on the back burner. Finally, around 1998 I got an idea for the book that became Poison Pen and started writing it. My first two books were best-sellers, but what I didn’t realize was, writing fiction is a whole different story (I know, groaner). I had to learn a whole new craft. What inspired the story was the sudden death of a woman I knew—the type of person you love to hate. She could stab you in the back and smile sweetly while she twisted the knife. Her death was ruled suicide, but nobody who knew her believed it. There were interesting things I knew about her background that lent themselves to a mystery plot. So I borrowed them and twisted them into a story that worked for me, and I began to write.
Why did you decide to expand into a series?
[SL:] I don’t think I deliberately decided to write a series. It was taking so long to get Poison Pen sold that I just started writing another story featuring Claudia Rose, my handwriting expert protagonist. When those two were sold, it seemed to follow that I would write more.
Do you have any specific daily writing routines you stick to?
[SL:] Yeah: email, email, email, all day long. Other than that, when I’m under a deadline I make sure I write a thousand new words a day after editing the work from the day before. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t, and being able to look at the word count helps push me forward.
So now that you have published are you planning any more novels that we should be looking forward to?
[SL:] I’m now working on a standalone mystery thriller, but Claudia will have a cameo role. Then I hope to write more Claudia stories.
After you completed your first novel that you published how difficult was it for you to land an agent?
[SL:] I didn’t have an agent to publish Poison Pen. After being unable to get it published after all those years (during which I paid a couple of independent editors to critique it and formed a critique group myself), I had an opportunity to show it to a small startup press. They liked it and had me send it to their editor. Finally, I learned what it meant for the writing to be “weak.” The editor, Ellen Larson, showed me where Claudia could be a stronger protagonist, and—very important—I learned to cut out most adverbs (“ly” words). Choosing a few strong verbs makes for better storytelling. When Poison Pen came out with Capital Crime Press, it got a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, which was really, really cool, and led to Penguin making an offer for a two book deal. Then I got an agent. After that, I got another two book deal.
The moment you got a positive reply with an offer for representation, what were your initial thoughts?
[SL:] As I’ve said, I sold my first several books without an agent, but let me backtrack. During the time I was being rejected, I went through four different agents, none with well-known names and for good reason. When I finally got represented by an agent with a good reputation, I was very excited and hopeful. Sadly, that didn’t turn out as well as I’d hope, as it turned out that we had a different vision for the next couple of books that I plan to write.
How many rejections did it take for you to finally land that agent?
[SL:] I don’t even know. Maybe 20? And again—it wasn’t an agent who sold the first book.
Would you have any advice for aspiring writers?
[SL:] Yes, even though you want to be published by a big house, give some of the small presses a chance. And understand that getting published is only the beginning of the process. Even if you have a major publisher you will be expected to do most of your own PR and pay for it. No one will tell you that you have to do this or that, but if you don’t promote your own books, they aren’t going to sell, and then it’s a downward spiral. There’s tons of competition, so being aware of that from the beginning, and knowing that you will need some financial resources, even if you get an advance, can help you prepare. And, by the way, most authors these days get very small advances, if any. And one surprise I got when I signed with the big publisher was, the advance doesn’t come in a lump sum. You’ll get some of it on signing the contract, some more when you’ve delivered the manuscript and the publisher accepts it, and the final payment after the book is on the market. Sounds discouraging as I write this, but really, it’s better to be realistic.
Are you still with the same agent that you first landed?
[SL:] See above. Right now I’m talking with a very good agency and hope we go forward together. Everyone, wish me well!
Would you have done anything differently?
[SL:] I don’t know what I could have done differently. It just took me a long time to learn some of the lessons I evidently needed to learn. And really, it’s a process that continues over your career. What I’ve found is, from time to time I suddenly realize that my writing has reached a new level. And it’s still happening. Those moments feel really great.
Good writing!

Well, thank you so much to Sheila for doing this interview and good luck to her with finding the perfect agent! You can check out er site here:

Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stretchy Minds

We writers are all about imaginations. About combining different puzzle pieces to create a whole. A different world, a unique person that readers adore and crazy circumstances to place our characters in. Technically what we do is all about creative thinking and of course the imagination centre of the brain. Ok to the actual topic...

As I keep on writing I keep generating weirder and yes you said it, weirder ideas. I mean no regular person would think of something like that, or would they? Writing has even stretched my imagination so far that I start thinking in a different way when I do regular things. For example, I am walking in the park at night (I am no freak I don't stalk people at night :D) and I start brainstorming ideas of what I would do if a pack of blood thirsty werewolves that walk on hind legs come out of the bushes. I know its not going to happen, (yep real life is boring) but I start making up scenes and what would happen and hey, I have an idea. (Yawn, another?).  So my question for today is, how much has your imagination stretched since you first started writing?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What rocks YOUR socks?

Personally I love to listen to music when I write. It helps me write so much. I mean I can't really write without it, well I can but I would rather not. I know this is rather different for many, but for me I love music. So here is my playlist.

  1. Still Loving you - Scorpions
  2. Boulavard of Broken Dreams, American Idiot, Know your enemy - Green Day
  3. Better than me, Lips of an angel - Hinder
  4. Wait and Bleed - Slipknot
  5. In the End, What I've done, Bleed it out - Linkin Park
  6. Pain, Break - Three Days Grace
  7. Lithium - Evanessence
  8. Devil on my shoulder - Billy Talent
  9. Fade to Black - Metallica
  10. Say Goodnight - Bullet for my valentine
So its interesting to know what music you listen to when you write or when you don't write! Comment guys, and of course rock on! :D

Friday, April 16, 2010

One more Contest!

I thought it was really nice of Rachele over at Freckle head to host this contest and to critique others query letters. She has an agent and her novel is on subbmission so she has experience with those nasties. Check it out over here on her blog:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My first rejection... :(

I just got my first rejection 30 minutes after I sent off my query. It was a form rejection. Blah! No dear author even and no name or personalization. Rejections are tough but for some reason this just made me laugh. Yes, I can be random like that. For one I sent out 5 query letters and got 1 rejection. I guess there is something wrong with my query if I don't get a partial request after 10 rejections or no replies right? But I didn't send out 10 query letters yet. I guess I am planning to. The only thing I want to know is if I will need to bo going back to the drawing board with my query...I hope not lol. Truthfully though I am not sad or unhappy or even mad because this is just the beginning of my query journey. So how did your first rejection feel?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Interview with Janice Hardy - The Shifter

Today I am posting an interview with Janice Hardy. She is the author of THE SHIFTER which is a very cool supernatural novel which has a sequel that will be out soon. Today she will tell us a little bit about her novel which you can purchase here and her journey to publication. Firstly can you tell us a little bit about THE SHIFTER?
THE SHIFTER is an adventure fantasy about Nya, a war orphan with the unique ability to heal by shifting pain from person to person. When her younger sister disappears, this ability turns out to be the only weapon she has to save her. She risks exposing her secret to the enemy forces occupying her city, because if they catch her, they'll use her as a weapon against her own people.
That sounds very intriguing! What is your writing background up until now?
I've always written, though I've never really published anything before the book. A couple of short stories in magazines no one ever heard of, but that's all.
What inspired your idea for THE SHIFTER? Years ago I was playing with common fantasy ideas, turning them on their heads to see if I could find a new angle on them. I started thinking about healing, and how healing rarely has consequences. That got me thinking about the darker side of healing, and how you might take something usually good, and make it evil. That led to the idea of buying and selling pain, and I began world building just to understand this world and these people. The story developed from there.
Why did you decide to expand into a series?
Originally it was a stand alone book, but as the story developed I saw that Nya's sister's disappearance was only a smart part of what was really going on, and there was a much bigger story lurking there. I made notes about the other books, but didn't write them since I had no idea if I'd sell the first book. My agent asked for synopses of books two and three when she was submitting, so I worked out some general plots based on my notes. I guess the real decision to expand it was when my editor said she'd buy all three (grin).
Do you have any specific daily writing routines you stick to?
When I'm on deadline I usually write every morning, since my most creative hours are between 7am and noon. But ideally, I like to write a few days in a row, then take a few days off so I don't get burnt out. When I have to write every day for a few weeks in a row, I don't want to be anywhere near a keyboard.
So now that you have published THE SHIFTER are you planning any more novels that we should be looking forward to?
Book two, BLUE FIRE comes out October 5, 2010. The third and last book of the series comes out October 2011. After that, I have five ideas fighting to be next, but the winner is most likely going to be a YA supernatural thriller I had 60% written when THE SHIFTER sold. It got set aside so I could write the next two books in the trilogy.
After you completed your first novel that you published how difficult was it for you to land an agent?
Remarkably easy. I sent out seven queries, and had one in-person pitch appointment (I attended a conference the same time I sent out the queries). I received four manuscript requests and three offers of representation. I went from pitch to signing with my agent in ten days. Had I not had three other books I couldn't sell, I'd have thought this whole writing thing was easy, but I knew better. It took a lot of work to finally get to this point.
You must have had a stellar query to get such great results! The moment you got a positive reply with an offer for representation, what were your initial thoughts?
Holy $%#@! over and over. Then I had to remind myself to breathe. Once I got myself under control, I remembered all the advice about contacting other agents who had your work, thinking over which you'd like to sign with, asking questions and all the things you're supposed to do. All three offers were from great agents, so I was lucky, but it was a hard choice. Maybe harder because they were all so good.
How many rejections did it take for you to finally land that agent?
For THE SHIFTER? Three. (one form reject, one "not for me but I'm sure you'll sell this," and one no repose). Oh wait, four, because one agent who asked for the full passed. But before this, about 60 on other books. Up until THE SHIFTER, I'd never even gotten a full request before, and had very few partial requests. In fact, my eventual agent turned me down before this book. Twice.
Would you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write a lot, read a lot, and learn what makes both a great story and a great book. Don't rush, and take the time to sharper your skills, because you'll need them to make it. And don't give up. It's common for your third or fourth book to be the one that sells, so if one book doesn't land anywhere, write another and try again.
Are you still with the same agent that you first landed?
Yeppers. Agent Kristin Nelson. She's fantastic.
Would you have done anything differently?
I don't think so. I made my mistakes on the first three books, so by the time I had the "right" book I was ready.

Well Janice, thank you so much for your time and your interview. I wish you luck with the next installments and will get around to read your novel which sounds really cool!
Check out and follow Janice's blog here (she shares lots of great advice for writers here) and visit her site here.

ANOTHER great contest

I had to post this for you guys to let you know because this is an awesome chance to get a manuscript or query critique and its generated randomly. Here is the link to the contest:

Here is some pasted info about the contest and what you can win. Yippie :)

1 Lucky Winner will receive a critique of their first 30-40 pages by the fabulous Suzie Townsend + a pack of Twizzlers + a copy of Hex Hall

3 Lucky Winners will receive a query letter critique by one of these three agent extraordinaires: Kathleen Ortiz, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, or Colleen Lindsay (One agent will be randomly assigned to each winner.)

1 Winner will receive a writer's survival guide consisting of Twizzlers, a copy of Silver Phoenix and When You Reach Me, and a cute notebook and pen so you're never tempted to do this:
1 Lucky winner will score a lunch date with THE Janet Reid and THE Suzie Townsend. Um, yeah, that's not a typo. (I'm tempted to enter myself. Would it be so wrong?) Unfortunately, this is not a free trip to NYC. BUT if you live in the NYC area, or whenever you're visiting NYC? You. Janet. Suzie. LUNCH.
So Good Luck if you enter!

Writing Rebels

We writers, we have rules that we are told to follow and abide. Just like traffic, drinking and crime. Most people follow rules but some of us are rebels. Big question is: Is that a bad thing? The answer is beyond me. I have read many first time authors break the rules in their first books successfully and by rules I am talking of rules like first person present, too much adverbs etc. Keep in mind grammar can't be broken too much. As in you can't spell regular words wrong everywhere and you can't not know how to punctuate. So yes I am speaking of plot rules, character rules, and even basic length rules. So what rules do you rebel against and why?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 2010 Chain: Meeting V

     Early in the morning, rays of sun shine through the canopies of leaves above me. I take slow steps as I listen to sounds of nature that surround me. My heart thumps. Wasn't I just at my computer writing my latest novel? The sky high trees that surround me are covered in lichens and moss, damp and fresh. Ferns release a woody scent that drifts to my nose. I hear a twig crack nearly a meter away from me and I jump. I know what lurks in these forests, but should I fear it? It is all after all a part of what I created. Behind the thick foliage I see an eye. Light grey and inhuman. That’s when I know it’s him. Vitiosus. We stare at each other for long until he slowly emerges from the bushes. He is tall. Almost a head taller than me, yet he is just like I imagine him.

He is dressed in black clothing, his dark, straight hair hanging right above his shoulders. His sword hangs loosely off his hip. He is so close that I can smell the scent of the forest that is part of him. I see his dagger attached to his lower leg, glinting in the sunlight. A long scar runs all across the left side of his pale face and I feel a stab of guilt for inflicting him pain. He seems so real now and I reach out my hand to touch him. What if he is just an illusion? Maybe this is just a dream. But I stop when he starts to speak.

"What are you doing in these forests?" He asks softly, looking me over. He stares at my jeans and black coat in confusion. As if I have come from a different planet all together. I don't belong. His voice is sulky and mysterious. In fact everything about him sparks my curiosity. How could I know so little of the guy I wrote? My mind itches to warn him off what will happen but I can’t utter a word. I am rooted to the spot mesmerized by his image, by his strange eyes. We stare at each other both in curiosity and doubt. He kneels down to the ground and picks up a small colorful pebble from the ground. He wipes off the dirt and holds it out to me. The pebble has a purple glow to it.

"Take this, you have to leave now." He says to me nodding. I want to say more to him but I know he understands everything I meant to say without words. I look into his eyes one last time and I take the pebble from his cool hand. The minute I touch it, I am back at my computer desk, the pebble still in my hand. The scent of the forest is still tickling my senses. I smile. Could this really have happened?

This is my entry in the Absolute Write Water Cooler Blog Chain April 2010. This month's theme is "What would it be like to meet your novel characters?" I have always wanted to meet my new MC Vitiosus who went from an antagonist to a protagonist. I looked around the net to find any actors that resemble him (He is 18), but I found non that fit my imagination. What would it be like to meet your characters?


xcomplex: (ME)<<<
>>>>Frodo: (NEXT)
Forbidden Snowflake:

Enjoy all of these great blogs!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chopping away at the dictionary-heavy manuscripts

After reading lots of blogs, critiquing lots of queries and struggling with this in my last novel I found many ways how you can chop at your manuscript without completely chopping off all the meat and only leaving the bones. Many writers I know have a tendency to over write. Let’s just say some novels run up to 200,000 and over and that is way too long unless you are a known author. For me this current revision of Overcast Shadows I planned everything out chapter by chapter and ended a little fewer than 88,000 which was perfect, but how did I keep it so low, considering the amount of story I have packed up in like 350 pages. Here are my tips and I hope they can help you if you are running into this problem.

• Focus on the action and what is happening. Do spend time on describing the setting, emotions and the way your character thinks but don't spend ten pages describing the velvet cloth that covered the mahogany brown bed. Over description can dull the story down and will make you word count higher than needed.

• Some scenes are unnecessary. Keep scenes that are crucial for the story to move on. Also make sure that every scene keeps the story progressing because if it doesn't it simply shouldn't be there.

• Don't write things like: James noticed that or James saw this. Believe me once I took all that out and rewrote it with real prose it cut nearly 1,000 words which was quite surprising. Instead switch that with describing what James saw to the reader.

• Take out unneeded words. You have to be very clear and concise when writing so its easy for any level reader to follow the story. Some words which shouldn't be there way too many times. Search and find them and you will see how many you can really take out. Here is a list I came up wit from many different sources and from my personal experience. (In no particular order):

• Very

• And Also

• Extremely

• Basically

• Considered to be

• Kind of

• Literally

• The reason why is because

• On account of

• Strangely

• Unadvisable

• Thus

• Thusly

• Really

• of

• Regardless

• Quite

• Fairly

• Sometimes

• Often

• However

• Many

• Interesting

• Amazing

• Super

• Suddenly

• Hopefully

• Slightly

• Avoid Fragmented sentences

• And last but not least keep a very rough outline or synopsis that you can follow so that you won't go off course. So how about you? How do you keep your word count from exploding?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interview with Stuart Nachbar, Author of Defending College Heights

So today we have Stuart here to interview and he has written a few novels published through iUniverse instead of through vanity publishing.  He also talks about why he chose that route. Leave a comment and your opinions if you have read the novel!
Firstly can you tell us a little bit about your novel Defending College Heights?

Defending College Heights is a story of an investigation into the murder of a U.S. Army recruiter on a college campus, Hudson Technical University in New York State. Anti-war activists are first suspected to be involved, but as the story unravels the truth about the murder and the future of the college are closely linked together.
What is your writing background up until now?
Defending College Heights is my second novel. My first, The Sex Ed Chronicles, is the story of a young reporter who comes to the aid of a teacher who is accused of teaching sex education and blacklisted by a conservative parent's group. That story takes place in 1980 New Jersey as the state board of education considers sex ed while politics are shifting to the right.
What inspired your idea for your currently published novel?
I worked for ten years in software marketing and college career counselors were clients. I learned a lot about on-campus recruiting as well as military recruiting through my work. I also followed education politics quite closely. I was curious to learn what might happen if a recruiter were actually murdered--such an event has never happened--and to compare Vietnam-era anti-war activism with anti-war activism today.
Do you have any specific daily writing routines you stick to?
I blog most mornings on education-related topics on my own site at and reserve the remainder of the day for writing and research for the novels.
So now that you have published Defending College Heights and a few other novels are you planning a next novel we should be looking forward to?
I am finishing the manuscript for a new novel, Tip Offs, about a young bank executive who reluctantly becomes a girl's high school basketball coach.
Very interesting. We will look out for that one. After you completed Defending College Heights or your very first novel how difficult was it for you to land an agent?
For The Sex Ed Chronicles, my goal was to complete and write a compelling story. I did not give consideration to seeking an agent. I felt that I had worked so hard on the story that I wanted to see it published. So, I went the print-on-demand route through iUniverse. My relationship with iUniverse was successful. Chronicles earned Publisher's Choice, their highest writing and design award, and the story got into Barnes and Noble and Borders stores close to home. For Defending I tried to get an agent. I went to a Writer's Digest "pitch-slam" that was a part of Book Expo America. I spoke to five agents, got five requests for chapters, but all rejections.
The same thing happened when I contacted agents I had researched though Predators and Editors, an excellent reference site. So, I went the print-on-demand route again. The story also won an iUniverse award as well as a presence in bookstores. Defending has reviewed very well, so I'm convinced that the next time will be the charmer. I have gotten considerable advice and criticism for Tip Offs that has helped make it a better story. I will go the traditional route for this book and work with an agent.
Would you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write about what you know. I worked with schools for several years, so I had a good understanding of their issues and politics. I had contacts who could help fill in the blanks in my knowledge. I want people to believe that I have added something new to help them understand some very complex issues. Find serious readers, writers and instructors. After my experiences with writing Chronicles, I invested in workshops conducted at Colgate University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and by Writer's Digest Online. I needed to know the basics about how stories must be told so that they hold the reader's attention. I received the best direction from instructors who are also professional writers. Develop a Web presence and learn as much as possible about marketing online. I had been in an Internet business before I started writing but I knew little to nothing about search engine optimization and search engine marketing, among other things. I discovered these were musts. The most cost effective way to sell and promote is online; the 'Net takes you to the largest possible audience. I'm now enrolled in a certificate program in digital media marketing at New York University, and so far that education has been worth every penny.
Would you have done anything differently?
Possibly. I might have been better served to take the digital media courses earlier, but the technology available to writers four-five years ago was not close to what it is today. I might have blogged earlier, too.
After doing Defending through print-on-demand, I worked with a very good editor to shape up the story. Had I worked with an editor prior to submitting the manuscript and remained persistent, I believe that I would have earned representation. Defending became that good a story.

Thanks so much for your time Stuart and I hope you guys enjoy!

What keeps you writing?

From the first day you start writing you being for yourself. Clearly for the love of well...writing. But as you read all these blogs and as you discover how to get your novel published that’s what your goal is. The simple joy of writing is well...gone. Admit it.

You still enjoy to write and it is still your passion but would you write that novel if you knew it would never be published? If only a few family and friends praised it and then you were forced to stash it in the drawer? As I think more and more of this, most of us do write to be published.

Most of us want to be those 1 in a million people that become famous with writing, even if we know its practically impossible. But when critiques come in and say that there is no chance how do you take it? If you really love writing you won't give up. Instead you will keep going and improving, using those critiques to improve but if you are writing to be published you might as well trash your novel now.

What about you? What keeps you writing when you are feeling rejected by agents?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Contest Alert!

''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Middle Grade and Young Adult (with agent Regina Brooks).  *This contest is being held by not me.  Check out their site for more information. I pasted the main things you need to enter below:


E-mail entries to Please paste everything. No attachments.


first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of middle grade or young adult fiction. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, I ask that you do one of two things: 1) Mention and link to this contest twice through your social media—blogs, Twitter, Facebook; or 2) just mention this contest once and also add Guide to Literary Agents Blog ( to your blogroll. Please provide link(s) so I can verify eligibility!


1. This contest will be live for approximately fourteen days—from March 31 through the end of Wednesday, April 14, EST. Winners notified by e-mail within 14 days of end of contest. Winners announced on the blog thereafter.

2. To enter, submit the first 150-200 words of your book. Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.

3. This contest is solely for completed book-length works of middle grade and young adult fiction (kids novels).

4. You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again.

5. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA's publisher, F+W Media.

6. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms added by me in the "Comments" section of this blog post. (If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at


Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of 10 pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to

Exclusive Query letters

We all want the greatest chance of getting an agent. Do exclusive queries really make agents pay more attention to us? In one way they are worse because we have to wait. But at the same time patience is everything in the publishing world. The other way if this is a reputable agency that you really want to land then maybe its worth the wait...Personally I sent out one exclusive query letter and am still waiting for a reply. The only reason I took that step was because the agent is surely reputable and because they are looking for a novel just like mine. How about you, what is your take on exclusive  query letters?