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Meg Cabot, Angie Fox, & Katie MacAlister Oh My!

I am a WINNER!!!!! I am at the COFW conference and I am having a kickbutt time. I have met the most awesome women ever, plus so many of them are just like me! Writers, authors, mothers, and some are agents and editors too! This has been awesomesauce over chocolate cheesecake, but wait, there’s more!! Last night, I was the very first raffle name drawn and I won a lovely iron basket of books. The basket was called “Paranormal Light.” Do you know what that means? It means my awseomesauce cheesecake came with ice cream. I got a brand new hard cover copy of Meg Cabot’s Insatiable!!!!!!!! That’s right. And I won three paperbacks by Angie Fox, I have two Suzanne Brockman romances, Kiss Me Again by Lori Foster & Suzanne Forster, a Karen Harper novel, a copy of My Zombie Valentine, works by Catherine Mann, and Patricia Mason, and MORE.

I tell you all of this because they will all soon be yours. These books will sustain my giveaway stash for the next three months! Hello New Year’s.

I will blog more very soon, and I will begin ordering my giveaways one per week just for following Musings From the Slush Pile.

Stay Tuned!!

While you wait, Have Some Cider

Keeping busy is an important discipline for an aspiring writer. The whole publishing world seems to crawl along blissfully content and infinitely busy while the writers who are waiting to hear back on submissions, edits, articles, entries, etc are a neurotic-nail-biting-inbox-stalking-mess. AT least that’s what I hear. LOL.

Today, I am waiting to hear on a manuscript, plus an article..OK three articles to two sites, and a contest. Waiting is tough, but its part of the process and I am here to say what you have read before: stay busy. A year ago when I first sent queries, I was glued to my inbox. I refresshed 10,000 times a day waiting to hear. I went crazy during those days just clawing the walls until I got each new rejection.

These days, I rarely think about my submissions. They are always in the back of my mind, yes, but I am too busy to fret over when I will hear back on any individual thing. Now, I’m going to tell you my secret and give you some suggestions.

Secret: I stay busy writing and reading while I wait. Though, you could take up skiing or cooking or body building to the same avail.  (Isn’t it fun that I made the word secret stand out all by itself-goodtimes.)


While you wait, you can do anything to pass the time. It’s true, it really does fly if you’re having fun. I’m going to make writing related suggestions.

1. Read. All writers should be readers. SO, read. I can put away a book in about 2 days, even with life going on. Reading will expose you to voice, and style, development of characters and plots and arcs. It will get your wheels turning on your next project.

2. Write. Start a new project. Get busy compiling ideas for your next manuscript, or chose one and begin to dig in. Devlop your characters, plots, set the scenes, etc. It’s always a good idea to be preparing your next idea because the idea you are currently pitching may flop like a dead fish.

3. Get skills. Take a workshop, a writing class, query course, etc. There are tons of free resources out there to be read. WriteOnCon among other sites off free webinars, and live chats. Mark your calendars and learn. Seriously. LEARN MORE. This is an ever- changing industry and we must stay on top of what’s selling, what agents and editors are seeking and buying. Listen to them, heed their advice. It will only help.

4. Submit smaller items. Maybe you’ve put your heart and soul into the manuscript you are pitching and you refuse to write another until this one is validated. This is a career killing idea, but many feel this way. If that’s you, then while you are waiting for reality to knock upon your door, try this: enter something smaller. There are many online magazines and blogs who accept articles from writers. Yeah, they don’t pay in dollars, but they may pay big in name recognition and confidence boosting and life experience. Women on Writing and Query Tracker accept articles from unpublished authors. Huffington Post, and other magazines are accepting submissions too. There are countless free contests for flash fiction and short story entries. Anthologies and books like Chicken Soup for the Soul are always looking for pieces from writers. Spend some excess energy looking onto where and how you can get your writing out there and submit. You won’t be sorry. Every single word you type benefits you. We learn from doing. So -DO.

5. Beef up your online presence. If you refuse to write anything or are experiencing writers block, or something else and aren’t going to be writing, then this is a great time to establish or increase your online presence. Get your name out there by becoming active in some forums for writers. I like AbsoluteWrite’s WaterCooler and Lebrary, but there are soooooo many to choose from. I have even connected with writers in the LinkedIn forums. Find writers and make friends. It’s good for your soul :) Don’t forget to make nice on FaceBook and TWEET for the love of cream cheese and coffee people, PLEASE don’t make me say this every single day. *deep breath in**out**

6. Brand yourself. It’s just good fun. No harm done. Pick a theme, some visual element or scheme that you want all your future readers and online friends to associate with you and then run with it. Set up a blog, customize it to suit you, design business cards, t-shirts, travel mugs, I don’t care, just don’t buy anything you don’t need and for heaven’s sakes STOP CHECKING YOUR INBOX.

So, that’s my advice for today. Write, read, read about writing, learn about writing. There is plenty of writing related things to be doing while you wait. Just leave your inbox alone and do something productive.

*** As a side note, my background in human behavior and general love of humanity demand that I add this final thought (which is NOT very writing related). You can do one better than my suggestions 1-6 by leaving your house. It’s fall, the most beautiful and pleasant of seasons. Go for a walk. Go for a hayride. Visit a pumpkin patch. Pick apples. Have an ugliest gourd swap with friends. Have a bonfire! Plan  tricks to scare unsuspecting children. Decorate your house for the season. Stuff a scarecrow. Stack hay-bails by your front door. Attend an applecider festival. Get lost in a cornmaze,or take in a street fair. Embrace what is happening right now instead of sitting in a heap at your pc clicking refresh. Go live. After all, life is what your novels are made of.

Beta Readers Are an AMAZING resource

Meet Nikki: Beta Extraordinairre

Writing a novel is a lot of work and it involves so many more steps than just dreaming it up and getting it on paper. In fact, editing is arguably the most important part of writing a novel. No matter how incredible your concept is, if you can’t get it down coherently, sans plot holes, bloat and general errors, then no one will read it. I dare say that a novel written about a day in my life (b.o.r.i.n.g) could get an agent if the writing was really good, and the more I read agent blogs, the more I know my theory holds water. Agents just want to find good writing. They are begging, seeking, praying to discover then next great writer, and well, that doesn’t happen without a little work. —OK, a lot. A lot of work.—

Lucky for us, there is an amazing support set in our culture of fellow writers and readers. The publishing industry is off putting for sure, but its a business, and like most businesses, there are resources in place to help you get a leg up. Unlike other businesses however, one of a writer’s best resources is totally free. What’s free anymore you ask? Betas.

Betas or beta readers are persons who want to read your manuscript, at no charge, and will provide feedback. Betas love writers, they love to read, they want to do it. Betas are almost always voracious readers and are greatly familiar with books on shelves. They know a grabbing voice when they see it, they find plot holes, arc lags, spelling errors, missing punctuation, or if your language is just off, they’ll spill you.Please See Don’t be a Geezer. It’s their thing. We write. They read. Betas are our friends.

Actually…there is a very specific beta who literally IS my friend. Lucky, lucky, me!!! Nikki Brandyberry is my beta. She’s very good. She makes me feel encouraged and her slaps come with a shrug. *Had to be done* She’s always right. Nikki has been reading my stuff for over a year and some of my novels stopped before chapter three on her advice. “Been done.” “Don’t like it” or my favorite evaluation of concept and opening chapters: “Eh.” Other manuscripts have succeeded to make it all the way to multiple requests for fulls under her keen eye. I seriously thank Nikki. God bless her. She has no reason to do this. She just wants to. <—nuts. Now, she’s got a nice little set up going, and she’s branching out, and I’m afraid I can no longer blind her with my coffee and muffins and love. Nikki’s Blogging at Ramblings From A Chaotic Mind. She’s Tweeting. PEOPLE. TWITTER. REALLY. She’s out there and she’s opened the door to beta at large. So, in honor of this complete-personal-rip-off. I hate to share. (just kidding!!!).( – totally not). I wanted to introduce her to some of my fellow writers who may have a chapter or two  or a script they’d like to see beta’d.

Hello Nikki! I’m totally psyched to be interviewing you as a beta today! I normally just grill you for me. Finally, I’ll shut up and hear about you. LOL! Do you like me hair? Kidding! But you do, right? Fine.

Nikki, to say that you are an avid reader is a major understatement. I don’t think there’s a word to describe your appetite for books. How many books would you say you’ve read this year?

First off thanks for having me on your blog today! This is the first blog interview I have done so please bear with me.

Wow, that’s a hard question. To be honest I just stopped counting. If I were to venture a guest I would say about 100, maybe more. Once the husband commented on my book buying “problem”, I just stopped telling him I bought another one.  Is it a sign if the librarians know me by name? The people at Borders wave at me? I don’t think so. The husband thinks it’s weird. Whatever.
Now that I have a blog I plan on keeping track of the books I read. I started recording that this month actually. I haven’t read nearly as much this month though because I have been doing a bunch of beta reading. I am still working out a schedule where I can get all my beta reading done AND read the books I compulsively buy :)

What is your preferred genre? and do you have some specific authors that you love to read?

I think if I were to pick a specific genre it would have to be paranormal romance. I love vampires, shape shifters, werewolves…but my favorite…DEMONS. Can’t get enough of those sexy, bad boy demons. Something about a tough guy with a heart of gold really does it for me. Since demons aren’t supposed to be able to have feelings, I love seeing them evolve into something more, something pure. I have to stop there…I will get uber excited and talk talk talk until you all stop reading from boredom.
Having said that I also enjoy contemporary romance, YA, some mysteries, historical romance, very very light Christian and even some erotica when the mood strikes. I enjoy when mythical aspects are woven into the storyline as well. Throw in some Greek, Egyptian or even religion mythology…I’m hooked.
I can not read fantasy. By that I am referring to anything that resembles World Of Warcraft or Star Trek. Unless some Vulcan ends up getting busy with a elf…that I can do :) .Some of my favorite authors are Cynthia Eden, Lucy Monroe, Larissa Ione, Nora Roberts, JR Ward, Nicholas Sparks, Eve Silver, Gena Showalter, Cherry Adair, Elisabeth Naughton and Maggie Robinson…*sigh* just to name a few. I don’t want to corrupt your bandwidth with ALL the authors I enjoy.

What is it about a book that draws you in?

Well they say never to judge a book by it’s cover, but I will admit if the cover catches my eye I’m way more likely to pick it up. For a romance I like to see both male and female on the cover together. If it is a paranormal romance maybe through in dark eyes or a cool tribal graphic. Most of the YA I read are usually recommended to me so it doesn’t matter what the cover looks like. Mysteries should be dark and intriguing. If I am perusing the shelves at my local Borders I simply can’t look at everything. If the cover catches my eye I will pick it up.
After I pick the book up the back blurb needs to be extremely well written and give me the basics without boring me. If I can’t get past the back blurb there is no way I can read the entire thing without it boring me to tears. My money source is limited, so I can’t waste what little I have on something mediocre.  I save those for my library requests.

Last, but certainly not least, I read the first couple of pages. I have been known to throw my purse down and sprawl out in the aisle for awhile. I just went recently and bought Cherry Adair’s new book Black Magic. I read the entire first chapter propped up against a book shelf in the middle of the floor. On a side note it is amazing the type of conversations you hear in a bookstore…just sayin.

How did you get started as a beta? I know, but let’s share, shall we??

HAHA well, when I started beta reading, I didn’t even know that’s what it was called. (Neither did I!).My fabulous cousin (that’s you by the way) WHEE! happened to mention that she started writing a book.(It was a stinker as most first novels are, Fun, but a stinker) I asked it I could read it. After being told there hadn’t been any editing done to it thus far, I asked if it would be okay for me to point out mistakes I saw, spelling errors or if the plot line wasn’t working for me. She told me sure, go for it. That’s how that started. Refresh my memory…it’s been about a year and a half right? (Yeah.) I am sure there have been times that my awesome cousin rued the day she asked for my help.(Never).  I am a tough one to please sometimes. However, I hope that I have been more good then not.
That led to me signing up for Twitter and starting a blog. I talk to a lot of bloggers, published and aspiring authors and everyday people on there. I keep up with what is selling and what isn’t. I stalk, errr visit, lots of blogs to see what other people are saying. Last week I signed up at . If you haven’t been there go take a look. It is a awesome resource for writers. Since signing up I have acquired more people looking for beta readers. Literally my email box is filling quite quickly.

Don’t you find reading unpolished materials to be, well, annoying?

No not at all. I think for someone that loves to read as much as I do, the thrill of seeing something evolve is worth it. For me, I just like being able to help. Since I don’t have the skill to actually write anything more then a few pages on my own, helping aspiring writers is right up my alley. To be honest I beta read not only for the writer but also for myself. I get to see the storyline change, twist and rewrite itself. I get to give my opinion on where the storyline should head or if the conversations aren’t working for me. Its really a ideal situation for me.

What kinds of help do you offer writers who you beta for? (ex: plot holes, inconsistency, POV issues, unexplained behaviors, grammar, spelling, format- those last couple are commonly considered line editing)

That starts with the author. I have had writers want me to line edit for them. Others just want me to read for pace and opinion. Some want the whole shabang…plot problems, character problems, editing issues, whatever. I can do any of that. My weak link is normally grammar. It’s definitely not my strongest attribute. That being said, believe me when I say if you have a ton of typos, I’m most likely gonna tell you whether you want me to or not. Nothing bugs me more then when I am reading a published book and I find spelling mistakes. It’s like my eyes are constantly searching for mistakes. They hunt them down and then my brain gets stuck and won’t go further. I start talking out loud “why didn’t anyone catch this, it must have been read by at least 10 different people up the chain of publication”. Husband starts laughing at me, that ticks me off and my night is ruined. By one misspelled word. See…crazy….that’s me.

How do you manage it all? Satisfying your reading fetish, beta work, blogging, social media, a hubby, two kids, a job, a social life? Do tell.

Uh, I get up early and go to bed really late. (Seriously. Does anyone in this industry sleep?) That is probably the easiest answer. I am up by 7:15am at the latest and in bed no earlier then midnight. I tend to read (beta or published) whenever I can fit it in. I am NEVER without a book or my Kindle in my purse. Waiting in line…reading. Picking up the kids…reading. Cooking dinner….reading (in between burning myself because I’m not paying attention. Talking to hubby…thinking about what I’m reading later. Watching tv…reading. Get the drift yet?
My day job is extremely flexible for the most part so I work around whatever else I have on my plate. I would be lying if I said it was easy. It’s not. I have two school-aged kids, two dogs, two cats, four frogs and a husband. I always have something that needs done or someone that needs my help. Add to all that I am pretty much OCD in the cleaning department. Seriously, if there is anything on my floor I freak out. My days are filled. I find the time to do what I love though, and that’s reading and helping others with their writing. Without finding the time to schedule in what I love, I tend to get a little screwy. Yes, more so then normal.

What do you have on your beta plate right now?

Right now I have several things on my beta plate. I just finished a erotic short story, starting a YA  and of course anything and everything Miss Julie (Me. <– that’s me.) decides to write. I love beta reading for her because I never know what I am going to get. (See Artistic Freedom or Chaos.) Since Julie seems to be able to handle pretty much anything. Even when she is hard on herself *wink wink* I still keep the faith. Julie, you don’t give yourself enough credit. You’re a amazing person, a wonderful mother and an increasingly good author. Even though I question, fix, suggest and change….you come back with something even better. One day when your signing books at Borders I will be first in line. Or maybe standing beside you handing you books so the massive line doesn’t get antsy. You WILL get there. No one said the road was gonna be easy…don’t get discouraged. Until then, keep plugging away because when it happens there will be no turning back. Do you see why I love her?

Are you taking on any manuscripts right now? What are you looking for?

I am always willing to listen to pitches. Just keep in mind what I have going on. Once I take on a manuscript I devote my attention to just that. I only make exceptions for short stories because I tend to get those done in a day or two once I start. But full manuscripts can take a lot of time depending on the individual story. Since I do have a day job and about a zillion other daily responsibilities I need at least a few weeks to read and review. That doesn’t mean it will take me that long, but just in case. I had the YA manuscript with a three week turnaround that I did in one sitting. That one didn’t involve any line editing, just my opinions. So I guess it also boils down to how much the author wants me to do.
I also look for authors who are willing to actually converse. I honestly think a connection with the author makes things a bit easier. Plus some authors can’t take harsh criticism…I need to know that beforehand. By talking to the author in email or visiting their website I can get a feel for who they are and what they may or may not be able to handle. As far as genres, anything that I tend to read published, I can beta read.

How do you prefer to get materials? Chapter by chapter? etc

I PREFER chapter by chapter. Just because that kind of forces the author to talk to me during the process. The YA I am going to be starting was sent as a full manuscript. The author said she didn’t mind if I sent it back in chunks or all at once. That gives me hope that she will actually talk to me if I have questions. I have read horror stories of authors not giving the time of day to their beta readers. That has yet to happen to me. I am hoping it’s a long time until I encounter that. But for every one story I hear that have bad aspect, I read ten more that are positive. It’s not so much about the public acknowledgment, but more about the private one. This take a lot of my personal time and energy. So it’s nice to be respected and answered if something happens and I need to ask a question or need further information.

If someone wants to discuss beta reading with you, how can they go about that?

The best way to reach me is my email (nmulder81 at hotmail dot com). I am pretty fast at getting back to you at that address. If you send in the middle of the day remember I have a day job, so it might be that evening before I get back to you. I unfortunately don’t have a cool cell phone that I can check email on. I’m pretty sure I am the only one on the face of the earth that doesn’t have a iPhone or Droid. You can also find me on Twitter (@NikiBrandyberry). You can even leave me a comment here if you wish. I also encourage you to check out my website to get a feel for me on a personal level.

Wow Julie, this was awesome! I again thank you for letting me take over your blog for this short while. I hope I gave everyone a accurate account of how I go about doing my job as a beta reader, what I am looking for and what I expect in return. I absolutely love what I do! A few years ago I never thought I would be reading aspiring writers works and helping them with kinks or giving them reviews/opinions. That was honestly just a dream. Who knew my super busy, home schooling, crafty cousin would get the notion to write a book? Who knew I would be sitting there when she busted it out and placed it in front of me, not knowing how I would respond? I think it was just down and dirty LUCK. For that I feel incredibly blessed. Not only did she learn she had a talent…so did I.

Thanks Nikki! I am definitely the lucky one :) We’ve had a lot of fun (acute sleep deprivation and moderate caffeine addiction) and I am looking forward to where this takes us. Regardless of the outcome, its been so much fun connecting with someone on a new level. I love it! Thanks for coming by and everyone else: Leave a question or a comment for Nikki! She’ll keep an eye on it all day.

Writer Wednesday Welcomes Valerie Haight!!!

My Crit Pal Val!!

Oh boy! Oh boy! *Clapping* *Applause* *Curtsy* Today I have a very special treat for you guys! And please know that I worked to get her here. She is WAY to modest to know that she rocks my face off regularly with her awesomeness. Valerie is brave and beautiful. She’s encouraging and energizing and if you ask nicely, she will cartwheel for you, but don’t tell her I told you.

Valerie is right beside us in the trenches. She is an aspiring writer, a wife, a mother, she has a real job that pays unlike blogging, but wait! You guessed it. She does that too. Take a peek at the Write One. Oh, and SHE TWEETS. Get on twitter people. Twitter.

Valerie and I traded some tweets and emails and the next thing I knew, she asked if I wanted a crit partner. See Avoid Writer Brain Post. Now, we are crit partners and writing-besties. For the most part, we are a force to be reckoned with.  Today feels like one of those days.

Without further adieu, allow me to introduce to you, Valerie Haight.

Valerie!! Welcome!!!

Hi!! *Waves*

Who ARE you Anyway??

I am 34 and I am ecstatic about the fact that I’m finally re-discovering my passion for all things literary.  I am a descriptive analyzer by nature.  This makes socializing in person difficult.  Example: You walk up to me inquiring about a meeting on Thursday, but before you’ve uttered a single word, my mind has already whizzed forward to contemplate what type of material your skirt is constructed of.  Is it soft cotton? No, more polyesterish velvety looking. Does it swish or rustle? Neither really, its smooth contours make the soft fibers flow silently over each other.  Oh!  Were you expecting me to answer or did you just want me to stand here in dumb silence? Awkward. I really love to be funny and thoroughly enjoy a good laugh, but I’m not as snappy with the comebacks as I’d like to be because I’ve just analyzed every word you said so give me time to think it over…like an hour or so…and it’ll be comedic pandamonium.  Delayed comedic pandamonium!

How long have you wanted to be a writer?

Since I was a senior in high school and nailed every assignment my Honors English teacher gave me.  It was effortless and sheer bliss.  I lived for it…as I do now.

SO Awesome!  It really shows in your writing too. Your love of the craft really comes across. It makes reading for you so much fun! But Valerie, how do you find time to write with all the other life roles you play?

I find it’s increasingly difficult to find time to write and I end up feeling unfufilled a lot of the time because I have so many characters swimming in my head shouting their perspectives at me.  If I’m unable to get their story on paper, it creates more confusion for me…Like I need any help in that department! LOL!  I make time to write, usually very late at night or very early in the morning.  But I have to say, I do my best writing then, in the hushed calm, before even the birds wake.  That is…unless I’ve fallen asleep on the keyboard, which always makes for incredibly interesting writing!

OMG! I have so woken up on my keyboard. No joke. It stinks and those little square marks stay with your for a really long time. Do you write everyday?

If I don’t get the chance to write everyday, I usually, at the very least, think of an addition to something I am writing and jot it down on paper for later when I can get it keyed in. And yes, I’m one of those sloppy writers with sticky notes and scribbled jottings taped all over my desk.  Another of my continuous goals (aside from completing my ms or polishing my query letter) is to get those changes made so I can *sigh of relief* toss the notes!

I know exactly what you mean about the post it notes. I do that too! I love when I can get caught up on edits, but then I’m always way behind on my reading (anyone notice Book review Monday took a hike when the conference got closer?? There’s not time to read! Are you mad??? You love to read. What do you read? Do you read what you write exclusively, or are you more diverse in one area or another? Because I write everything (Eh, no romance) but every single time I go to the library, I’m hauling in YA.

Now that my smallest child is 4, I’m finding I have more time to read again and usually have three or four books going at one time. I am reading FIVE right now! I think that’s record for me!  I read any type of fiction I can get my hands on because I can lose myself and forget about my worries in fiction, focus on someone else’s crisis’! LOL!  I read every avenue of fiction, but I only write thriller/mystery….for now.  Who knows what I’ll branch out into?  I’ve only just begun my second novel, but already I’m gathering courage to try a more edgy approach.

When you tell ppl who have known you forever that you want to be a published author do they look at you like you have a third eye and a unibrow? I speak from actual experience. I was once told by a friend who already thinks I’m weird for staying home when I have a degree and homeschooling, which is in her mind for people in Appalachia or those starting a Jihad, “Oh, no. Julie, not a writer. Honey, writers are weird.”

Actually, I was a closet writer for over a year.  I wrote for myself, reveling in the comfort level of my long-lost hobby.  I never considered being pubbed.  My awesome and incredibly faithful beta reader, Lisa Martin, suggested over and over that I should get my ms published.  At first I thought she was hilarious, but her enthusiasm was contagious and it wasn’t long before I had to admit, I’d been bitten by the pub bug!  It was all over for me then…I quickly immersed myself in the wealth of e-information and here I am now, struggling with the best of them.

I’m glad to have you!! Do you lisen to music while you write? If so, what kind? I can’t because everytime I start the music, I get up and dance. I’m pathetic dancing queen.

I listen to classical piano solos when I write.  They are incredibly soothing and really get my creative juices flowing.  I always get more words written when I’m listening to the melodious tinkling of a baby grand.

Tell me what you’re writing now. (OK, I know, but play along).

I’m in the process of polishing my finished manuscript, HALLO. It’s a thrilling story of a woman who finds herself entangled in a battle over her husband’s clever invention.  But she soon discovers that her entire family is in danger and fights to stay alive for them.  I’m also working on my second novel, one that I’m hoping to incorporate more romance into.  It will be about a 20-something woman who inherits an estate and relocates several states away from her hometown in order to starts her life from scratch at her birth mother’s childhood home.  She discovers a hidden century-old family secret, but with no living relatives from which to glean information, she seeks answers at a local heritage museum.  There, she meets Dax, a history buff with lots to offer in the way of companionship.  A relationship soon blossoms, but when she realizes he knows of the secret and only befriended her because of it, she’s hurt and bent on uncovering it for herself.  I’ve also begun to write a couple articles for submission to my favorite blogs and websites.  What a FUN break to that tired old ms I’ve been looking at for a year!

Oh! I can’t wait to get a hold of your new manuscript too! Keep me in mind *wink*wink* That’s awesome that you’re preparing articles too. They are a great way to get your name and your face out there. They also give a little tast of your personality and your voice. I am pro-article writing!
What has been the best thing you’ve done for your writing so far?

I think it has really helped to surround myself with the postive support of fellow writers and those who want to see me succeed.  Not only does it help to keep me motivated and optimistic, it makes me strive to do better.  I want to continue down this road of doing something solely for myself because it gives me an awesome dose of self-worth and confidence.  And what’s sexier than a confident woman? Not a whole lot!  Well, except for Dax….And Alex Rowe in HALLO.  I can’t wait for you all to meet Alex.  He gives a new slant to dreamy…..Where was I? Oh yes. Writing…*wipes drool*  A crit partner is one of the best things I’ve done so far as well.  I have you to thank for being my crit partner.  That’s HUGE for me because I was half-way through my first novel before I even realized there was a “right” way to do something like this.  So I’m now cleaning up mistakes I didn’t even know I’d made. You’ll never know how truly thankful I am that you said yes!  As I stated on my blog, when I received your email, I could truly identify with the adolescent male who’d just gotten a dream date to prom, and promptly fell over backward.

Anything you’d like to share for others in our boat? Hoping to become a real life published author? Wisdom? Encouragement? “Get out while you can!!!?” LOL?

Oh my gosh, I can’t stress enough:  Get out there and glean all you can from bloggers, tweeters, facebookers.  They’ve written and submitted novels, query letters, articles.  They’ve been on the receiving end of AWESOME highs and dreadful lows.  They know where to go for great workshops and how to point you in the direction of an amazing amount of information.  From there, make your own decisions, but definitely GET THE INFO!  There’s absolutely NO reason we can’t get published if we just stick with it.  As all the fabulous literary agents say, “It only takes 1 yes!”

Thanks Valerie! I’m so glad you came by to visit today! I hope you come back soon! AND I hope that everyone who stops by will ask you a question and check out your blog The Write One and follow you @Valeriebrbr on Twitter!!

Please say Hi to Valerie!!!

A Post for Posterity

I am having one of those slap-you-down writing days. There is simply too much on my plate, all of which is self imposed. Aside from the real life stuff, which takes an enormous amount of stamina and fortitude, there is the writing.

I am leaving for a conference in 3 days. I am not finished combing through the manuscript I intend to pitch. Which by the way has given me fits for a month AND is undergoing a complete overhaul of storyline and the addition of a second perspective.

I am fiddling with a 2 page entry to the Vampire Bunny thing. I want to do it and I’m gonna do it.

I got my manuscript for Death By Chocolate back with edits needed from my agent. I am not joking when I say that it is now about 7,000 YES seven-thousand words shorter after removing all of my unnecessary “ands,” “thats” and combining all the compound words that I missed including but not limited to rain coat, and making contractions of all my “can nots” and “did nots.” This poses the issue of Now my ms is too short. I will need to add to what I thought was darn near perfect – No. In addition to this, I changed POV to discuss the story from other perspectives, and I will need to change or eliminate all of it. If I do that, the book will be ten pages long. My son can turn it in as a second grade short story.

Watch me throw my arms in the air and walk away.

So, I will fiddle with my 2 page entry as a means to disconnect from manuscript woes. Then, I will likely continue plugging away at my pararom for pitching. Death by Chocolate will have to wait for me to return from my conference this weekend, hopefully rejuvenated and inspired and ready to face the daunting task of basically rewriting the book, plus adding to that word count so it can be submitted to publishers.

These are the days when an aspiring writer says “What am I thinking?” I’m missing out on time with my kids, losing sleep, grumping, stressing, and all kinds of other things because I am putting everything I have into this dream. I must be crazy. In the end, if I never get published, I will have nothing to show for the time lost and sacrifices -of my entire family.

That’s all for today. Just wanted to encapsulate this moment because if there are other writers like me out there, looking for camaraderie, here you have it. Not every day is a reach-for-the-clouds, happy-happy-joy-joy- day. Somedays are just good old fashioned tough, and I imagine that is why so many writers are rumored to quit before ever seeing their name on a cover they didn’t print themselves.

Boo-hoos aside. We all have days like this, but life is going on, and so shall we. I’m off to take the kids to a playdate, run some errands and come home in focus.

See you tomorrow.

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