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Closed to Submissions

Have you noticed the growing pattern? More than a few agents are officially closed to submissions. Don’t worry, it’s not permanent. Agents are inundated with queries to a point that they can’t keep up, let alone get ahead, and what if you were a client? Everybody has to manage time. Agents are no exception. The buzz I am reading around some sites I frequent is that writers don’t like this practice. Personally, I don’t get it. Agents aren’t in South Beach together, sipping Mai Tais and laughing at us writers. No, they are working diligently, trying to get their heads back above water and perhaps even reading for fun again.

I make this suggestion to writers who are less than thrilled that their dream agents are closed to submissions- right when they are finally ready to query. I say, celebrate, it takes the edge off. Use this time to give your submissions another pressure-off look. You can’t submit. You can’t. So, relax, look for those things that you missed. You aren’t falling behind. No one can submit right now. This is an imposed break. Let’s start thinking about the next project, write it a while then go back to our query next month with fresh eyes- when our agent crush opens the line again. What do you say?

Thoughts?

When Do You Write?

I am asked frequently when I find the time to write. It’s a good question. Few of us are fortunate enough to be retired to a quiet community where our help cares for the house so that we are free to simply explore our thoughts. In fact, I probably couldn’t handle that. My reality is a lot like everyone else’s. I have three children, 7, 4 1/2, and 2. I have a fabulous husband, laundry piled up to the ceiling, yard work, housework, homeschool, friends, extended family, volunteer commitments…life is busy. Life is life. What can you do? I write about life, so its good to be busy living it.

The question was, “When do I write?” Um, constantly and everywhere. I have been known to scratch notes for a story line on receipts in line at the checkout. I scribble on napkins at restaurants. I type anytime I have access to a computer. I recently wrote out an entire scene in freehand along the edges and in between the lines on our church bulletin. Once I have given in to a story, agreed to tell it, I MUST tell it. I’m extra loony bins until I do. So, I write and type and daydream all around the clock. Last night I even folded my laundry in my basement so I could work through a scene mentally. I knew that no one would go near the laundry room. I took advantage and dallied long enough to get it together.

I find that being busy helps me write. I see all kinds of inspiring things every day. For example, today I ventured to the local flea market with my mother and all the children.  We saw people with various disabilities, antiques, people in costumes for absolutely no reason, hippies (yep, few of those these days), dogs in clothes, dogs in strollers, kids throwing fits, Amish people selling produce, Asian people selling flowers, and kettle corn being made in a drum large enough to climb inside. There’s ten novels worth of fodder right there. I just have to sort it out.

All the sights and smells and textures were intensified by my two fighting boys and my daughter carrying a kitten shaped umbrella to shade out the sun. We were stopped by every third person for compliments on their behavior (apparently they did not see what I saw) and Miss Hollywood had her polka dot shades on under the umbrella. Oh, and rain boots with her sundress. Having kids along added to the number of interactions that we had and it caused me to move more slowly and see more than I would have without them. Chaos is great for a writer.

The way that I see it, sitting on a peaceful shore wouldn’t help my writing. It would stall it. I’d have to write from memory and my memory just isn’t what it used to be. Living makes writing  much more real.

Free Online Writing Conference! WriteOnCon!

If you are a writer in need of some free information, critiques, ideas, guidance, then you love me today! I have registered for a FREE (who says that nothing is?) online writers conference. Woot! The catch, if you consider it a catch, is that the conference is not for adult books. This means that the main character must be under 18. I say, what an incredible opportunity to learn. Even if you are not writing this genre, are you sure that you never ever will? Also, how much different in YA from adult in terms of voice, pacing and plot. I am positive that I will learn and improve my writing by listening to what these agents and authors have to say. It is a great opportunity. Don’t miss out. Also, you can make some new writer friends, perhaps stumble onto someone to trade beta reading with?? Opportunity. Knocks.

I copied this directly from the site: WriteOnCon

“What WriteOnCon is:

WriteOnCon is a free, interactive experience, designed to give writers many of the features of a writer’s conference, but in an online environment. Thanks to technologies like blogging, vlogging, livestreaming, and chats, WriteOnCon will connect writers with both industry professionals and fellow peers from the convenience of their own homes. Critique forums will allow writers to receive feedback and exposure for their work, and the entire program has been designed to be both informative and entertaining.

The conference has been scheduled for weekdays, so that attendees won’t have to set aside an entire weekend to be glued to their computers. To accommodate day jobs, the schedule will feature more static elements during working hours, and all live events have been saved for the evenings. Transcripts for most sessions will also be available for download.

What WriteOnCon isn’t:

WriteOnCon is not a replacement for larger, live writer’s conferences. Regional, national, and international conferences are a staple of the publishing industry, and WriteOnCon has been designed simply to supplement that experience in a free, easily accessible format.

WriteOnCon is also not exclusive to kidlit writers. In order to stay organized, the curriculum has been focused on picture book, middle grade, and young adult writers. However, much of the information provided will apply to all writers, and since the conference is free, any interested writer is encouraged to attend.”

This material, copied from WriteOnCon was written by Jamie Harrington

Blog News and Events

It has been a month since I began keeping this lovely blog. The thing is, I am sort of winging it. It’s my first blog, and blogging is more complex than keeping the diary that I  hide beneath my pillow. I realize now that the ramblings of my unstable inner dialogue are not really of dire interest to anyone but me (sometimes not then). I also get that even other writers don’t want to simply read what comes to my mind each morning. I’m a writer, I want information. I want to give information too. So, now that I have established my blog in those dread rankings (google me now, and you may actually find me on page one- this is big). Also, I’m in a routine for my posting and I have a button, and a contest, a little blog roll and bio. So, now it’s time to get a little more organized.

I propose the following:

Monday will now be my official book review day. I am currently reading 2-3 novels a week and its cutting into my showering and such. No one wants that. Monday will be book review day and I am open to book reviews from you. You write them and turn them in to me. I will post them with your pic and blog line.

I will try to run a monthly giveaway, assuming that the Vampire Diaries giveaway goes well. So far so good.

I am lining up interviews with writers. CJ Redwine will be interviewed later this summer here, and Mary Lynn Archibald will be here on August 3rd.

I plan to keep journaling my quest for publication, but I’m also giving that some pizazz. Some regular articles to help others who may be just coming into the game.

Here’s to new plans, improvement and order! Change is afoot.

Size 12 is Not Fat by: Meg Cabot

345 pages in 2 days. I loved it. This is the first book in the Meg Cabot series starring Heather Wells, a former teen singing sensation. Heather is now working at a residence hall at NYC College, and only a week or so into the new school year, freshman girls begin to die (only 2- but in 2 weeks, so that’s intense). The official report says that they were elevator surfing, but that doesn’t sit right with Heather. Lucky for her and the entire residence hall, Heather lives with a private detective who humors her investigation in to these unseemly deaths.

Cabot takes us on a very funny ride as her character defends her lovely size 12 figure in a city filled with zeros. She deals with love lost, love unrequited (she thinks) and an ex boyfriend who won’t go away. I love that the men in this book aren’t singling women out by their dress size. They all seem to appreciate Heather for her fabulous outlook, sunny disposition and real world charm. I would happily date this woman, if I were in the market for a woman, which I of course, am not. Plus, you know, she’s not real and all.

So, if you haven’t read Meg Cabot, you should. You’ll laugh, you’ll blush, you’ll see the proverbial light bulb. It’s fun. I love fun. Read it.

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