Archive for January, 2009

How Do You Read?

Friday, January 30th, 2009

A topic of discussion on one of my writers’ listservs got me thinking about the different ways people read, so I thought I’d do a survey. When you read a book for pleasure, do you read it lying down? I do. I read lying down on my bed. Reading sitting up bothers me. I only read sitting up when forced, like on an airplane, or when I’m in public and I know full well that laying on the doctor office floor to read might get me carted off to the Looney Bin.

(Okay, now I’m suffering paranoia about the whole lay/lie thing—should I be writing laying or lying?—gah!) (That’s my excuse for writing it different ways in the above paragraph).

Well, reading sitting up doesn’t bother me, per se. I’m perfectly capable of doing it. But to me it’s not relaxing. And I want to feel relaxed when I read.

I also watch TV lying down. In fact, I’m quite the couch hog, because I take up the whole thing!

What about you? Do you lie down to read? How about when watching TV?

TBR Pile Gems, Featuring Alesia Holliday

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

You know how it is. You win a free book at a conference drawing, think, “Cool, I have to read this.” Then it goes into your To Be Read pile for months…or sometimes years. You really want to read the author, but you’re not too sure the story line appeals to you. You feel guilty because she signed the book for you and you know her on-line. She’s great. Surely, her books will be great. But for some reason the book you won keeps stagnating in your TBR pile. You notice the author has a new release, so you buy that one. Now you have two of her books in your TBR pile. You read the purchased one first. You love it. You adore it. You wish there was a sequel.

Months pass. You finally decide to read the book you won. You’re on the fence, because you’re still not certain the story line appeals. You start reading it. You realize you’re an idiot. You love it. You adore it. You wish she was still writing under the same name and the same style of books—fun chick lit and quirky mysteries—because you enjoy them so much. But she’s moved on to greener pastures and now publishes action-adventure romances as Alyssa Day.

I’m talking about Alesia Holliday, a talented author I wish I’d discovered sooner. Or, um, released from my TBR pile sooner.

Which books am I pimping? Blondes Have More Felons and American Idle. holliday_idleThe latter I won during an RWA conference workshop drawing presented by Alicia, other authors, and an agent (or two, I can’t recall). That’s the book that unfortunately sat in my TBR pile for years. Sorry, Alesia. I didn’t think the reality TV singing show setting would appeal to me. Boy, was I wrong.

If you like, or even if you abhor, American Idol, you’ll appreciate this fun look into the behind-the-scenes life of production assistant Jules Vernon. Alesia employs a lot of laugh-out-loud humor—the kind of writing I love. Humor is very tricky to write. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. But Alesia’s humor works for me. I’m just sorry she didn’t get a chance to write more Alesia Holliday books.

holliday_felonsBlondes Have More Felons is her foray into funny mysteries, featuring former corporate attorney, December Vaughn. I wish I could include the back cover copy from the books, but Alesia no longer maintains a website for her Holliday books and I’m too lazy busy with my own writing to type out the descriptions from my copies. But check out all the great reviews for both books on Amazon. If they sound like your thing, give them a chance. And don’t let them waste their funny lives away in your TBR pile, too.

Discovered any gems in your TBR pile lately? Let me know. If it’s in my pile, it’ll inspire me to dig it out. Or buy a copy to add to the ever-growing pile.

Sara Megibow Dons Her Agenting Hat

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Assistant to agent Kristin Nelson, Sara Megibow of The Nelson Literary Agency is now looking for her own clients. From the agency’s January newsletter:

In terms of genre, the Nelson Agency still reps romance (everything but inspirational and category), science fiction and fantasy, young adult, middle grade, chick lit, commercial and literary fiction and some memoir. Personally, I love super sexy and intelligent romances. In the sf/fantasy world, I am looking for the story and characters to be as compelling as the world. In terms of YA and MG, I am excited to see more projects set in the real world (as opposed to vampires or werewolves, although, of course, those are still okay). Finally, I am itching for some fabulous historical fiction (like MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH) or multicultural fiction both for younger readers and the adult market.

There you have it. Submissions Guidelines can be found on their website.

Tell Me Tuesday

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

How’s your week going? I’ve been very busy working on my WIP and also doing tons of promo stuff for Penny. In fact, I did so much computer-oriented promo for Penny on the weekend that I think it affected my eyesight. Honestly, for awhile there, I couldn’t focus beyond two feet.

The RITA reading is motoring along. I just began the seventh book in my judging packet. Two more to go after that (which means I received 9 books to judge in total—wow, that’s a lot!). I’m saving the longest book for the last. If I’d read it first and time had started getting away on me, I would have begun to panic. This way, reading the shortest books first at random, I can feel free to take my time with the fat book. Note I am not short-shifting the short books to accomplish this! They just take a shorter time to read, obviously.

If you haven’t checked out my Upcoming Guest Bloggers listings in the sidebar in awhile, I received a request the other day to host my first co-authors. Karen Tintori and Jill Gregory, co-authors of the thriller, THE ILLUMINATION, are visiting next Wednesday, February 4th (I didn’t include links for their names, because it appears they are both updating their websites). They’ll both be here to respond to comments, and they’re giving away a copy of the book, so please make sure to drop by. Information about THE ILLUMINATION will go up February 3rd, so there’ll be no Tell Me Tuesday next week. Which means, if you have something to tell me, do it today. Quick, before the offer expires.

Sourcebooks Pitch Opportunity!

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Here’s a great opportunity for unagented writers. On Thursday, January 29th—three days from now—Sourcebooks editor Deb Werksman is accepting 50-word pitches on the Casablanca Authors Blog. Ms. Werksman, along with the Sourcebooks publicist and Casablanca blog authors, will decide on the winner (I hope I got that right), who then gets to submit her/his full manuscript for Ms. Werksman’s consideration with a guaranteed reply within 3-4 weeks.

Believe me, a guaranteed reply in such a short time span is something you want.

You have from one minute after noon January 29th until noon January 30th to post your pitch to the Comments trail of Ms. Werksman’s blog on Casablanca Authors, appearing January 29th. Please note, do NOT post your pitches to THIS blog. You can leave me a note thanking me for telling you about this opportunity (I’d love that), but I can not accept pitches for the contest. If you submit your pitch here, I’ll just have to delete it. And, no, I won’t forward it to Ms. Werksman, either.

Go to the Casablanca Authors blog on January 29th to post your pitches. In fact, there’s a great blog post over there right now that tells you all about the contest rules. Click here to read it.

Please note that Ms. Werksman only wants blurbs for completed manuscripts:

Please enter pitches ONLY for finished, polished manuscripts that are at least 90,000 words in length. No works in progress please.

That’s a direct quote from the Casa Authors blog. So don’t submit a pitch if you’ve finished a manuscript but it’s not the absolute best it can be. Polish that sucker and wait for another opportunity. It does you no good to send in a blurb for non-polished work, because the winner’s name will be announced on the Casa Authors blog February 14th and the winner will then only have until the 16th to submit her/his full manuscript. If your work isn’t polished, it’s not likely you’ll receive an offer of publication, which just wastes everyone’s time.

Details of the Break Up the Winter Doldrums contest are on the Casablanca Authors blog. If you want to enter, please check them out, in case I didn’t get something straight here.

Over and out.

How Smart is Your Blog?

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Not sure what this says about me:

blog readability test

Okay, to be honest, The Blog Readability Test isn’t so much about intelligence as it is about, well, readability. So, I am plenty smart, I assure you. It’s just my blog that’s not. Despite my advanced years, apparently it’s yet to graduate! :::sob::: Must be Elle’s influence.

How smart is your blog?

RITA Controversy Makes PW Blog

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

The controversy about the new “mass-produced” stipulation in RWA’s 2009 RITA contest has reached the Publishers Weekly Blog. Makes for interesting reading, and you can share your views as well, if you wish.

I’m glad the RWA office appears to have clarified the confusion surrounding the return of disqualified books. Yes, they will be returned. From RWA, via the blog :

A rumor is circulating that RWA refused to return disqualified books. That is not true. They have either been returned or are in the process of being returned. The mailing of the RITA books to judges was a priority for the staff, delaying some returns, but any member who contacted the office with this question was told that her books would be returned.

As for returning the entry fees, that’s another issue. When you enter the contest, you sign a box stating you have read the rules. Despite the confusion surrounding the new mass-produced stipulation, it appears RWA is sticking to their guns on this matter.

By the way, a blog post and petition begun by author Kristen Painter led to the Publishers Weekly blog post. You can have a look at Kristen’s petition here. Information about why she felt it necessary to spearhead the petition is on her blog.

There has been talk on one of my chapter forums about whether or not to protest this latest kerfuffle by returning one’s box of RITA or Golden Heart entries, thereby refusing to judge. I do respect individual choices, however, to me, sending back entries as a form of protest hurts the individuals who entered the contests more than it does RWA, and who’s to say that members whose books weren’t disqualified don’t share the same philosophies as members who are considering returning their packet of books? Also, it’s the RWA office staff that then has to run around and find more judges for the returned entries. The staff has nothing to do with the change in rules. However, they must enforce the change.

Every RWA member must make up her own mind how to protest, if indeed she wishes to. For myself, I have no intention of returning my box of RITA books. I do respect the right of others to send back their box of books, however. Meanwhile, I am 2.3 books into judging my packet of 8 or 9 books, and I’m enjoying the process very much.

Happy Belated Inauguration

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

I intended to watch the Inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday. I really did. After all, I watched most of the debates and I watched the election, and I wanted him to win. Yet for some reason I can’t identify other than January 21st sounds to me like a much better date for an inauguration than January 20th does, I missed it completely!

I’m pleading the “I’m Not American So it’s Okay to Miss the Inauguration” Amendment.

Or I’m pleading ignorance.

Take your pick.

Resurrecting Tell Me Tuesday

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I’m resurrecting Tell Me Tuesday for the next few weeks, until I host my next Guest Blogger (Susan Gable, for those interested, who’s visiting February 9th, for those not inclined to check the schedule in the sidebar). So please share your news—good or bad. How’s the writing going? The non-writing? Great, horrible, indifferent?

As my faithful readers know, I took a Blog Holiday for most of December. Because My Liege’s work and the kids’ college/university didn’t start until Jan. 5/6th, the Blog Holiday extended as well. When I returned to my work in progress, I found it difficult to sink back into the characters. So I spent a good week editing from the beginning of the manuscript (I’m about 2/3 – 3/4 of the way through the writing of the whole thing). This gave me the opportunity to tighten and apply comments from The Suzannah contest, which the manuscript finaled in recently (and the finalists are currently being judged by an impressive array of editors and agents—eek). Interesting, I found the first several chapters required the most tightening. Even though I revise as I go, until you’re deeper into the manuscript it’s often not easy to see what can be tightened or deleted in the beginning. It became evident that the more I grew to know my characters and discover the plot, the easier it has become to tighten as I write. This gives me hope for the remainder of the book, but no doubt when I finish I’ll find all sorts of areas in the chapters I’m writing now that can be tightened as well. It’s a can’t-see-the-trees-for-the-forest sort of thing, I guess.

Now I’m back into fast-drafting and revising new scenes, plus revising scenes that I fast-drafted back when I fast-drafted the whole manuscript in chunks. I had a big chunk of novel missing in the middle-to-end part that I’ve been working on writing these past several weeks. It’s interesting that a great number of the previously fast-drafted scenes I’m encountering as I proceed through the book STILL work. Others, I notice I’ve already used the information in new scenes and can delete the old ones. So, a bit of double-writing happening, but not enough to really annoy me.

Okay, that’s me. Who’s next?

Agents Who Write

Monday, January 19th, 2009

I accidentally found out while surfing the web a few months ago that agent Lucienne Diver is also a writer (in case you’re wondering, the link leads to her writer’s website, not her agenting website). (Want her agenting website, too? Sheesh! Okay, okay!). She’s represented by Kristin Nelson, has a couple of short stories and a novel with Five Star published under the name, Kit Daniels. Her first novel as Lucienne Diver, VAMPED, releases this year.

I already knew that agent Roberta Brown publishes as Kate Angell, and Deidre Knight publishes as, well, herself. I know there are other agents out there who are also published writers, but their names escape me at the moment.

Some authors are dead-set against having an agent who writes. I confess I used to think that way, too. Now, my concern is much more along the lines of how would OUR author/agent relationship work and thrive regardless of whether the agent is also a writer or not? Personally, I would not discount an agent who writes, but I know there’s another viewpoint. If anyone cares to extoll the pros of NOT signing with an agent who writes, I’m all ears. Is having an agent who writes an advantage, a disadvantage, or…it depends?