Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year! . . . Now Back to Work!

Happy New Year to one and all! And what a year it has been. Last year at this point I didn't have an agent, I certainly didn't have an editor, and the dream of a big book contract was a memory I was quickly accepting was simply unrealistic.

There are two things this year has taught me. One is that dreams do come true. The other is that it is a heck of a lot of work!

I have worked harder on writing in the last year than I have ever worked before. And that is only slightly more than I worked the year before and--if others' experiences are like mine--slightly less than I will work this year.:)

There's a line in a song from the musical My Fair Lady in which the lazy father of the heroine says, "With a little bit of luck someone else'll do the blinkin' work."

Well, honey, that's not how publishing works . . . or doesn't work, as the case may be.:) (Hehe, I think I'm funny.:)) I have told my husband many times over the last month and a half, "I have the best job in the word!" and I do. But I sense a lot of work in my future. And that's okay.

I'm also looking forward to many exciting firsts next year. My first ed letter, my first pass pages, my first galleys, my first cover art, and possibly my first ARCs (although that might not be till early in 2009.) How cool is that? Other firsts I'm going to have to deal with? My first deadlines, my first book that I have to write under contract. But there are lots of friends and other things to help me out. Like my first writers conference at which I get to meet Pat for the first time.

So I guess it's time to roll out my writing resolutions!

First and foremost, I resolve to meet every deadline I'm given this year. No exceptions.

Second, I resolve to get the first draft of my books two and three finished by the end of December next year. Not polished or anything, just first draft.

Third, I resolve to be a good author. To gracefully accept edits and look for their potential. To let my agent handle the business end of things and my editor, the creative. To pick my battles and hang on only to things that are absolutely crucial and trust the rest to the professionals. I really want to have a reputation of being a professional, easy to work with author.

Hmmm, I guess that's about it for this year. I have lost of resolutions for 2009, but I'd better wait till the end of 2008 to list them. I guess that could be number four: live in the future and enjoy this part of the ride. I'll never get to do it for the first time again.

How about you? Did you have a good year? Are you resolved to have a better year next year? What are your goals?

Ciao!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Loveliest Day And More Sub-Rights

I gotta tell you, I just got back from the most enjoyable afternoon I've had in a long time. I am in Phoenix for Christmas (yea!) and I scheduled a lunch with Stephenie and I had such a great time. I had a fabulous steak and this decadent brownie with about three cups of whipped cream on top (Mmmmmm!) and then we walked through Barnes and Noble and talked about books (you're shocked, I know.) Particularly about the gorgeous covers that Harper Collins tends to come out with and hopes that mine will be just as good.

There's something about cavorting with other authors. Instead of having to explain all of the lingo when you are trying to explain some aspect of publishing to normal people (because after all, we know authors are far from normal;)) she just nodded and the conversation continued smoothly. I got some good advice, some tips, gave a little advice of my own, and talked about myriad personal aspects of out lives to boot. I have not had such a nice visit with a friend in a very long time. I love having friends in the publishing industry. "Co-workers" as I joked to my father-in-law, but there's definitely some truth to the phrase.:) Anyway, I had a great time.

Okay, so now we are on to the lesser known Sub-rights and I will admit to not knowing nearly as much about these as the language rights, so if you have better info or I get it wrong, please correct me.:) I will, however, direct you to this entry by agent Kristin Nelson which is quite informative. (Actually, I recommend her entire Agenting 101 sequence even if you do have an agent. You'll find it on her right-hand sidebar.)

Sub-rights are basically all the versions of your book that are not actually a book. Audio and dramatic rights are the main two although there are others (like the right to make parts of your book into a calendar. Who knew?!) The nice thing about these rights is that although they are not typically big money-makers (with the exception of dramatic (film and TV) rights which can swing either way) they are great as bargaining chips. For example, something that you will not see in my PM announcement is that as well as World English Rights, I also sold Audio rights to Harper Collins (my books going to be an audio book, yea!). Why? Well, HC made an offer for X amount and asked for World Rights and for Jodi to take the book off the table. Jodi laughed (well, not really, but in the fantasy in my mind she laughs;)) and said, uh, no, you need to give me Y amount and you can only have World English Rights. They came back and said fine, you can have Y amount, but we want Audio too. And then we had a deal.

Honestly, I have no idea what Jodi is going to do with the other rights. I just don't think my book is calendar material.:) (Actually, we've already had a couple of nibbles on dramatic rights, but Jodi and my new film agent, Kassie, have decided to wait till the book is a little further down the editorial assembly line before they officially shop it about Hollywood.) But it's nice to know that if the opportunity arises to exploit some of these rights, they are still mine to sell.

So, quick question, what books are on your Christmas list this year? I saw tons of good ones at B&N today!!

Ciao!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Do The Math

Okay, we're going to clarify some things from the comments because I made some assumptions that clearly left people confused. (I can only imagine what lurkers are thinking!)

Now, I personally share Holly Kennedy's opinion that is is *almost* always better to have your agent sell your foreign rights rather than your publisher, if they have the capability to do so. However, I do say *almost* because there are definitely exceptions. Here's where the math comes in. Also, you will see Jamie's point about double dipping in terms of royalty percentages.

Okay, let's say you get an offer from your publisher for 10,000 dollars. (Nice round number). They want North American rights. (For the sake of this entry we are going to say that the unimaginable happens and they agree to pay out your advance in one lump sum. If that doesn't sound strange to you, go here and read how advances are generally doled out.)

Here's how the numbers work: $10,000 - (15% or $1,500)= $8,500 to the author.

Now your agent sells $10,000 worth of foreign rights. She and her co-agent split 20% of the advance which means: $10,000 - (20% or $2,000)= $8,000 to the author.

Foreign Rights plus NA rights combined= $16,500. Savvy?

Good, because now we're going to complicate things.:)

Next Scenario: The publisher wants World Rights and is willing to pay $20,000 for them. Again, we are in dreamworld, so they pay out the $20,000 in one lump sum and your agent takes his/her cut.

$20,000 - (15% or $3,000)= $17,000 to the author.

Now wait a minute. It looks like the author who sold World Rights is actually coming out ahead. Why don't I just advocate selling World Rights? Well, we need to get a little further into the process. Thinking caps on. (Hehe, my third grade teacher used to say that all the time.)

Let's compare apples to apples and say that the publisher was also able to sell $10,000 worth of Foreign Rights.

Thats $10,000 - (20% or $2,000 for the publisher)= $8,000 that the publisher sends to your agent. Now the agent will take his/her fifteen percent commission (and this is where Jamie's comment about double-dipping comes in.)

$8,000 - (15% or $1,200)= $6,800 for the author as opposed to the $8,000 the author who only sold NA rights received for their foreign rights. So in the end, it would actually take the second author $1,200 worth of royalties more to make the same amount of money despite the fact that they got $500 more in the beginning.

However, this is a scenario where all things are even. Do you remember in the last post where I said there should be a reason to sell World Rights? Well, there definitely are some.

Let's have some more scenarios, and we're going to up the ante since higher numbers are often involved when agents and authors are negotiating for World Rights.

A publisher offers $50,000 per book for NA Rights for three books. $150,000 - (15% or $22,500)= $122,500 for the author.

The agent is able to sell an additional $150,000 worth of foreign rights. $150,000 - (20% or $30,000)= $120,000 to the author.

That makes $242,500 to the author. Nice, huh?

However, let's say the Publisher really wants World Rights, and they are willing to pay for it. They offer $175,000 per book for three books. Weird number you say? Watch and see.

$175,000 X 3 books= $525,000

You see what just happened? We just got into the "major deal" range. By doing so, the publisher has just made a huge amount of buzz. You can consider them to have paid for advertising. There are many overseas companies who will make a bid to buy foreign rights sight unseen if they know the books have sold for over half a million dollars. Because of this, the publisher in our scenario was able to sell not $150,000 worth of foreign rights, but because they have an excellent FR department and the additional buzz, they are able to sell $300,000 worth of foreign rights.

Now let's crunch the numbers.

$525,000 - (15% or $78,750)=$446,250 to the author

With Foreign rights we will see the double dipping principle upon payout:

$300,000 - (20% or $60,000)= $240,000 - (15% or $36,000)= $204,000

(Don't add the $204,000 to the $446,250, it doesn't work that way. The $446,250 is all the author gets up front, we'll use the Foreign Rights number later.)


Let's say that in North America, each author sells 100,000 copies of each book (300,000 total) and earns about $2.50 per book. (Yes we could get into hardcover vs. paperback and escalation clauses, etc, but I'm not an accountant.:))

Author A, who sold NA rights has earned $750,000 plus the advance from her foreign rights which her agent sold which equaled $120,000.

Author A has earned a total of $870,000 on three books.

Author B, who sold World Rights, earned the same $750,000 that Author A earned on North American sales, but her royalties from foreign rights equaled $204,000 despite the fact that her publisher and her agent both took a chunk.

Author B has earned a total of $954,000 on three books.

Now I think we would all agree that both authors did ridiculously well, but technically, the author who sold World Rights made more money. Why? Because the publisher saw the value of the World Rights and was willing to pay for them.

When all things are equal, as in the scenario at the top, I say go for only NA or WE rights every time. Keep those foreign rights and have your agent sell them. But when the publisher has a good reason for obtaining those rights, it can pay off and pay off big.

The bottom line? You've got to have an agent you can trust to advise you on decisions like these. They will crunch these kinds of numbers, they know if the publisher had the ability to sell FR better than they do, they know what those foreign rights mean for you. I sold World English Rights to HarperCollins because Jodi advised me to do so. But if she had told me that she thought selling WR was in my best interest, I'd have done so in a heartbeat.

Take the time and effort to get an agent you can trust.

And when you do, trust her.

Ciao!!

*I promise, promise, promise to cover the rest of the sub-rights next time, but really, no one wants to move on to film and audio rights after reading through that veritable calculus class.;)*

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sub-Rights--Or Yet Another Reason You REALLY Need an Agent

Alright, today we're talking about Subsidiary Rights, which I know much less about than my agent. On top of that, my brain is kind of foggy because I have the worst cold ever . . . so if none of this makes sense, it might just be me . . . or it might just mean you need an agent.;)

Sub-rights really are fairly complex, but we'll try to simplify it a bit. And we're going to assume we're talking about books rights, since this is my blog and I can, Ha!;) Let's assume you have an agent who is shopping your book and you've received an offer from a publisher. This is where sub-rights start. As anyone would, the publisher wants as much of your book as they can get for as little as they can pay. (I'm not saying this is bad, it's just business.) So generally the publisher will submit a ground-level offer and ask for world rights.

Now you have a choice. First off, you might be asking, what are these World Rights of which you speak? World rights means that the publisher has the right to print your book anywhere in the world and in any language. Sound good? Maybe it sounds bad? Either way, you're right.:) A lot of deals get made for World Rights. It really can be a great deal. The publisher will usually pay more for World Rights and more is generally good:). Also, if you are with an agent who is either part of a very small house or runs a solo operation, they may not have enough foreign rights connections to exploit your translation rights as profitably as the publisher can. (Note, this is not always the case--many solo agents have awesome foreign rights connections.) World Rights are also a great way for your agent to negotiate a higher advance, or maybe more upfront.

However, you don't want to offer World Rights without a good reason. Those are your rights and you should be compensated for them. Several authors I know have sold either North American or World English Rights and been able to sell Foreign Rights so profitably they doubled their original advance from their English publisher. *Story Time!* When HC made their original offer, I didn't even think about World Rights until Jodi said that they had asked for World Rights and she advised me not to give them. Hadn't even crossed my mind. (Personally, I'd have jumped at the first offer and given them whatever rights they wanted. Thank goodness for Jodi.:)) But Writers House has an excellent Foreign Rights department and Jodi didn't think HC had put enough on the table to justify World Rights in light of that, so she advised me not to give World Rights.

So what can you give them if you want to keep your World Rights? The standard answer used to be North American Rights. (That's the NA you see at the end of a lot of Publishers Marketplace announcements.) Jodi surprised me again and told me that she has been doing a lot of deals lately for World English Rights. That means that the publisher can print your book anywhere in the world in English and you are left with all translation rights. Basically that clears up any misunderstandings regarding where the UK is officially and where Canadian rights end and Australian rights begin and other silly things.:) North American Rights are just what they sounds like: the US, Canada, and Mexico. (I'm not sure if this includes a Spanish Translation for Mexico, so if anyone knows that for sure, they can chime in.:))You can also offer things like Audio and Electronic rights (not to mention movie rights), but we'll get into that next time.

Ciao!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Biggest News Ever!!

And it has nothing to do with me.:)

The twelfth Wheel of Time book will come out!! And it will be written by none other than one of my husband's friends, Brandon Sanderson. I have been following this guy's career since before his first book, Elantris came out. He's gained a nice little following and I imagine some of you know who he is. Here's the press release, stolen from Brandon's blog.:)

"Tor Books announced today that novelist Brandon Sanderson has been chosen to finish writing the final novel in Robert Jordan's bestselling Wheel of Time fantasy series. Jordan--described by some as Tolkien's heir--died Sept. 16 from a rare blood disease. The new novel, A Memory of Light, will be the 12th and final book in the fantasy series which has sold more than 14 million copies in North America and more than 30 million copies worldwide. The last four books in the series were all #1 New York Times bestsellers.

Harriet Popham Rigney, Jordan's widow and editor, chose Sanderson to complete A Memory of Light--which Jordan worked on almost daily for the last few months of his life--and will edit it. Rigney said some scenes from the book were completed by Jordan before his death, and some exist in draft form. "He left copious notes and hours of audio recordings," she said. He also revealed details about the end of the series to close members of his family.

Sanderson, who acknowledged Jordan as an inspiration to him as a writer, has established a loyal fan base as the author of three fantasy novels: Elantris, Mistborn and The Well of Ascension (Tor), as well as a YA novel, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Scholastic Press). Sanderson said, "I'm both extremely excited and daunted by this opportunity. There is only one man who could have done this book the way it deserved to be written, and we lost him in September. However, I promise to do my very best to remain true to Mr. Jordan's vision and produce the book we have all been waiting to read."

A Memory of Light is scheduled for publication in fall 2009."

I think it's an interesting choice, and a good one. Brandon is not a super-star, though his popularity has grown with every book he's released and I think that even without this, he would have become a very popular author on his own. But by choosing someone who is established, and yet new to the game, I think that you have an author who will do their very best, but still do it Robert Jordan's way instead of their own way.

So for those of you who have been agonizing about RJ's death and wondering about the last book, you will get satisfaction. (Or resolution at the very least.) And I think they have chosen a great a great author who is truly up to the task.

Congratulations Brandon!!!

(BTW, check out his interview on Dragonmount.)

Ciao!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The "In" Factor

On Fangs, Fur, and Fey an author named Jeaniene Frost talked about her journey into publication. (It's a good story, you should read it. The perma link is here.) One thing many people ask her (and about anyone who is published) is if they knew someone. Basically, what their "in" was. She goes on to tell her story of knowing no one in and nothing about the publishing industry, doing major re-writes before her agent would sign her, and eventually selling two books to HarperCollins and then three more following that. It's a great story of how work and persistence paid off for her in a big way. I love stories like that. In fact, when people ask how I got my agent, I sometimes feel my cheeks redden just a bit and I tell them I just happen to know a very, very famous author who recommended me to her agent. They smile and say, "Oooohh," like 'now I understand.'

Having an "in" is supremely helpful--I will be the first person to admit that. It is generally a much more effective way to get your foot in the door than the beloved query letter. . . and by beloved, I mean hated and despised.;) But regardless of how fabulous an "in" you have, it can only take you so far.

For example (cracks knuckles) regardless of how great an recommendation you have, if an agent doesn't like your stuff, they won't sign you. Any author worth their salt knows that before they ever give a recommendation. Don't get me wrong, you may get some leeway. Having an agent reading with a positive eye is a great thing, but how positive can you be if the manuscript stinks? (Not that any of your manuscripts stink.;))

Editors are the same way. We all know that tastes are different and what floats one editor's boat may seem old and tired to another. My first book was a traditional fantasy for the adult audience. My "in" loved it, my agent (eventually) loved it. But neither are big fantasy readers. When it was rejected by the editors Jodi sent it to she told me, "What I think is new and compelling, someone who reads fantasy all day every day may think is cliche and unimaginative. That's just how the market is."

With Autumn Wings, however, I really felt like I had written something special. Something different from anything out there, but still with great market appeal. Jodi agreed, and obviously, Tara agreed too. So finally my words were going to be published.

But you know what? I think that if I hadn't had an agent yet, I could have queried and gotten one. I really do. Would I have gotten an agent as great as Jodi? I don't know . . . maybe. Would it have been in time to catch the wave of sales of faerie book we're obviously seeing? Possibly, but probably not. And that is what my "in" got me.

I'm not in any way saying that I was not boosted by knowing a successful author. All I'm saying, is that it can't do everything. So those of you who have an "in," be grateful and use it wisely as an opportunity to present your best work. Those of you who don't, don't worry. If your book is going to shine, it will do so regardless of who you know. . . or, yanno, don't know.:)

Ciao!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rolling Out the Red Carpet!

So few things happen in any person's life that are truly life changing; getting a big book deal is one of them. So, of course, that will be reflected in my blog. I've been thinking about the journey of publication the last week--in particular, my journey as it has been reflected in this blog. I started this blog almost two years ago when I was still agent-shopping. (Ha! I say that like it's as easy as walking down an aisle and picking one.:)) When I signed with Jodi my blog changed . . . matured? Maybe that's going too far. But it changed. It went from the blog of an aspiring author, to the blog of an agented aspiring author. A subtle change, perhaps, but it definitely took my blog in a different direction. I changed some of my links on the side and didn't quote other agents' blogs as much. I started looking for advice about publishers and acquired a couple of waiting buddies. (Hi Michelle and David;))

Well, things are changing again. I'm not an aspiring author anymore; I'm a soon-to-be-published author. That changes everything. (And I suspect another subtle change will occur once I am an honest-to-goodness published author . . . but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.) And yet it changes nothing. I'm not (I hope) going to lose my still struggling author friends, my daily life hasn't really changed, I'm not becoming rich and famous (Though goodness knows my family seems to think so.;)), and, unfortunately, my children have not turned into perfect angels.:D However, though I;m not running with a new crowd, I would like to spotlight the crowd I've been running with for the last two years. (Some less, some more.) So please join me in rolling out the red carpet for the authors whose books are all coming out the same time as mine. (And there's quite a few! It makes me happy!)

Michelle Zink, Little, Brown -- 2009

Carrie Ryan, Delacorte -- 2009

Jamie Ford, Balantine -- 2009

Cyn Balog, Delacorte -- 2009

Lesley Livingston
, HarperCollins --2009 (or late 2008)

Tessa Dare, Ballantine -- 2009

Sarah Rees Brennan, Margaret K. McElderberry Books (Okay, I admit, I don't know her, but I reeeeeaaaallllyy want to!)

And, of course, Aprilynne Pike, HarperCollins -- 2009


Shoot, I feel like I'm missing someone important . . . if it's you, please let me know.:) If you're someone I don't know but you have a new book coming out in 2009, let me know that too! I'm excited for me, I'm excited for them, and why not add a little more excitement. It's going to be a long 18 months for all of us, we might as well celebrate now.:)

Ciao!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Four To HarperCollins!

Sorry for being so quiet the last ten days or so. It hasn't been easy! But the announcement is official!


Aprilynne Pike's AUTUMN WINGS, four-book series about an ordinary girl who discovers that she is a faerie sent to guard the gateway to Avalon in the mortal world, and when she is thrust into the midst of a centuries-old battle between faeries and trolls, she's torn between a mortal and a faerie love, as well as her loyalties to both worlds, to Tara Weikum at Harper Children's, in a significant deal, in a pre-empt, by Jodi Reamer at Writers House (World English).


I'm a professional author!!! I have been bouncing off the walls since I got the call that Tara was interested in my book. There have been tons of calls between Jodi and me and I even got a chance to chat with Tara. She's so excited about my series and that makes me really happy.

Janet Reid mentioned on her blog a few weeks ago (and I'm paraphrasing) that as a whole, the publishing industry moves at a glacial pace, but that individual transactions move at the speed of lightning. That was certainly the case with me. We sent the book out on October 29th. We received our first rejection less than 24 hours later from an editor who just didn't think faeries would work for the YA audience. Well, to each their own. :) Twelve days later (which seemed like an eternity to me, but was actually remarkably fast) Jodi called to let me know that Tara was interested and would be taking my book to her acquisitions meeting two days later. I was cautiously elated.:) The next day Tara called with her offer. That was surprising to me; I wasn't expecting to hear anything for two days! It was an excellent offer, as far as I was concerned, but Jodi didn't think it was excellent enough to take the book off the table. I was just thrilled to know that one way or another, my book was going to be . . . well, a book! The next day Tara called back with her pre-empt offer. Within hours, the deal was done.

It was--and still is--so strange to go from just another aspiring author, to a professional author in a matter of hours! (That and recognizing that HarperCollins basically owns me for the next five years!:)) It has been such a roller coaster the last few weeks and I'm so grateful for those of you who have held my hand through this and offered encouragement and support. A book truly is the work of a community, and I'm so glad to have all of you in mine.

Ciao!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Have News . . .

You know, the kind of news that you can't actually tell, but that's okay because everyone knows what it is anyway?

Yeah, that kind of news.:)

Stay tuned!!

Ciao!

Monday, November 12, 2007

NaNo

I'm going to catch up. I swear! *sigh*

Well, I'm falling behind, but I'm still managing to get something written everyday and as my husband reminded me last night, that really is more important. But I still want the little winner icon to put on my blog when this is all over.

So I am really curious about what all of you are working on. I know there's a bunch of you and I'd love to see you come out of lurk mode, at least for one comment. Here's what I want to know.

What are you working on? (Book, poem, short story, etc.)

Genre?

If it's a book, what number is it for you? (First, second, eighth, etc.)

How long have you been working on it?

Is it a stand-alone, or part of a series? If it's a series, how big of a series?

And any other little tidbits you'd like to share.:)

I'll go first, of course.:)

I am working on a novel. It is a YA fantasy (paranormal, whatever you want to call it.) It is my fifth or sixth book depending on how you count (long story.) I have been planning it for months, but started writing it on November first for NaNoWriMo. It is the sequel to the book my agent is shopping right now and the second of a four book series.

How about you?

And as a special request, if you are not a writer at all, I would like to know three of your favorite books. please list the genre with each one in case they are titles I (and my lovely readers!) don't recognize.:)

Thanks in advance for sharing!

Ciao!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Are You Sick of Your Life?

Then apparently you are in the right place. Remember about two weeks ago when someone found my blog by typing in "I am so tired of being a stay at home mom?" Well, last night someone got here by searching for "I am so tired of being in law school." What gives?!?!? :)

Anyway, my life is going great. I am almost 10,000 words into NaNo, I've joined the Word Wars for my region (and we're winning! Yea!) I got some incredibly kind words from an editor yesterday and I had a great week with losing baby weight.:) So although visitors to my blog may be sick of their lives, I'm not. I'm lovin' mine.:)

Ciao!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

NaNoWriMo

For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo.org sponsors a contest of sorts where authors try to write 50,000 words (about 220 pages) in thirty days. Last year I used this time to query agents on my already-finished book, in hopes that others would be taking a break from querying to write their books.

This year I'm a participant. Yea!!

I've decided that this is as good an excuse as any to get a good jump start on the sequel to the book my agent is *cough, cough* currently shopping *cough, cough.*

Can I just repeat (again) that starting a new book always reminds me how much I love writing? Really. There's nothing like starting a new book. A whole world full of possibilities just waiting for you to bring them to life. *Deep breath* Gotta love it! My friend Stephenie told me once that you have to really love the process of writing your first draft because it carries you through the rest of the work involved in getting your book published. I'm not published yet, but I think she's right.

So anyone else doing NaNo? The website is down right now, but I'll put the link up to my profile in the next couple of days over in my sidebar. If you are doing it too, feel free to friend me.:)

Also, my blogging may be a bit sparse over the next 27 days.;)

Ciao!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is Awesome!

I am the number one hit if you Google "Stubborness + Tenacity." How cool is that? The number one hit! Google must know me.:) Seriously though, If I can be known for my tenacity and stick-to-it-iveness, then I expect I've done something right.:)

Ciao!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Linkage!


Weird Google Search= "Memoirs of Gum Wrapper Chains." Is this a book I don't know about?

Okay, we have a bunch of linkage today. I've done a lot of surfing the last few weeks and have found a lot of fun sites. (Yanno, because I don't have enough to read. *rolls eyes*)

First, since the event we have all been mourning for five months, another* agent has suddenly started blogging much more regularly. I have been denying the rumors for months, but I finally decided to go and check out Janet Reid's blog and I enjoyed it immensely. When I get a second, I'm going to add her to my links. Good advice, fun jokes, and it's not too hard to read around the client promotion.:)

*Take that how you will.

Next, Mr. Jamie Ford who, I'm sorry to say, I thought was a woman for several months. Jamie's debut novel, beautifully titled Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, recently sold and he has a lovely blog. I would buy his blog as a book--he's that kind of writer. Please go check him out. But watch out, you may find yourself backreading for an hour as I did the first time I visited. This is my favorite entry. He will also make it onto my links when I get a few spare minutes. The picture at the top is stolen from his site.:) Thanks Jamie!

And lastly, my bragfest. This is the link to the video of my two-year-old son (as featured in the previous entry) reading.:) Yea!

Ciao!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Son is Amazing!

My son, Brennan, is two years and seven and a half months old.

And he is reading!

I was sitting on the couch feeding my other son and not really paying attention to Brennan who was just talking to himself over by the bookshelf. Then I look over and realize that he is flipping through my daughter's early reading flashcards (mostly two and three letter words) and he is reading them correctly! I had him bring the cards over and we went through the whole stack! I have no idea how long he's been able to do this. For all I know he could have been reading for months.

One of the main reasons for this, I think, is that he watches his sister read (she reads to him, it's so cute!) and he also sees his parents read. If a child really wants to be able to do something, he's going to learn to do it much faster than if he is simply forced to do it. That is why reading to and in front of your children is so important.

It reminded me of a story of a guy my parents used to know in Phoenix. Very blue collar, uneducated man who at the age of thirty-something, had never learned to read. But he was a really, really good man and wanted his son to have a better life than he did. So he asked--I believe, his son's teacher--how can I help my son love to learn? She told him that boys in particular are more likely to enjoy reading if they see their father reading regularly. So every night for about a half an hour, this man would sit with a book in front of him and pretend to read while his son played in the same room. In the end, they both not only learned how to read, but learned to love reading.

I love reading. I want my kids to love reading. So far, I think I've done a good job.:) My daughter has been reading since she was three, and now my son has started reading at two. That is something that makes me very proud. I think learning to read and learning to love reading are two of the greatest things you can learn in life. I'm glad my children have caught the fire, so to speak.

Ciao!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Last Dragon

Weird Google Search= "Literary Agent Ann C. Crispin" Apparently someone thinks the illustrious Ann is an agent. (It's only funny if you know who she is.:))



I recently received an e-mail from J.M. McDermott (Badducky for those of you in the Absolute Write community) with a preview of his debut novel Last Dragon, coming out form Wizards of the Coast Discoveries in February of 2008 (Available for pre-order now at the usual websites.) I got to read the first chapters and found it very interesting. Not what I expected. It is quite literary and the first chapter, at least, is written in a multi point of view, sort of stream of consciousness style. Very different, but nicely executed. Don't expect it to be like many of the series novels you typically see from WotC, they are starting to produce more traditional novels and novels with a literary twist. The cover you see here is not the cover I saw when I checked it out last week and my only real criticism is that I liked the old cover much better. I am not sure which one they are going to go with, but luckily, the cover is not the most important part.:) Check him out at his website.

Ciao!

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Choice

Weird Google Search= "Babies with no arms and legs." Trust me, don't even ask.

Today's post has very little to do with writing, so feel free to skip it if you're not interested. I debated posting this at all, but it's been bugging me for four days now and as many of you know, writing something down often gets it to stop bugging you. That's why we writers are so calm. (Ha! Calm? Right.:))

Last Thursday I was checking my results on Sitemeter and someone had clicked on to my blog after Googling "I'm so tired of being a stay at home mom." (It says up in my banner that I am a stay at home mom and at some point I had a post entitled "I Am So Tired," that had to do with revisions.) It has been on my mind ever since because I am picturing some mother out there so desperately lonely and depressed they are sitting around on their computer looking for answers? Others to commiserate with? I'm not really sure what her goal was but it's pretty clear she is unhappy.

So why is it different for me? I love being a stay at home mom. I adore it. But maybe that's because it is my choice, not the situation I happened to fall into. I'm not unemployable--not in the least. I have a BA in Creative Writing and tons of restaurant management experience. (I could manage a creative restaurant, Ha!) I am a trained doula and I've actually worked for a small publishing company. At this point in our lives it would actually be very helpful for me not to be a stay at home mom. Law school ain't cheap.:) So why am I at home "wasting" my skills? Because I decided a long time ago--well before I got married and started having children--that this is what I wanted to do. It may be the only thing I've wanted to do longer than writing books. (Junior High on that one.) My mom was a stay at home mom and I loved that. Soon after I met my now-husband, he let me know that having a stay at home mom for his children was very important to him. A make it or break it issue, even. If I had expressed no interest in staying home with my kids, I don't know if he would have married me. Luckily, it was important to both of us.

Maybe it's different because I am more than just a stay at home mom. When I had my daughter (my first child) I wasn't quite so happy. I went from being the main breadwinner (my husband was in school and only worked part-time) to being the main money spender. I had a very easy baby who really didn't require much of my time and I'd gained quite a bit of weight during my pregnancy so none of my clothes were even close to fitting and I couldn't go out running because I had a baby I couldn't leave and my husband was rarely home during the daylight hours. When Aud was about three months old was one of the most unhappy times of my life. I had pretty much resigned myself to being a boring, fat, dowdy housewife. Honestly, I'm not sure what changed. But one day I was sitting around watching "Judge Judy" and my baby sleeping and the next, I was a different person. I decided that the only person keeping me from being who I wanted to be, was me. A lot of things changed at that point. I started writing my first book, I discovered Tae-bo and started dropping baby weight, I went for walks with Audrey, and read books instead of watching television. I am a stay at home mom, but that's only a part of me. I was letting that title take over my life, and one day, I took the reigns back. And I've never looked back.

I know women who are stay at home moms and would rather be working; I know working moms who would rather stay at home. I'm not trying to convince you of anything here or even say one is better than the other. There is a time and place for that and this is not it. All I'm, saying is that whatever you are doing, find a way to be happy. If you are a working mom who wishes she was home, bring your kids to work with you in picture form. If you are a stay at home mom who wishes she could work, find time to do something you think is useful. Find a hobby you love. Something.

Me being so happy as a stay at home doesn't mean I love my kids more than other moms. It doesn't mean my kids are better than other kids. In fact, it doesn't have anything to do with my kids at all. I'm happy because I took control of my life and found ways to make myself happy. It wasn't easy, especially not at first, but it was totally worth it. And now, I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's in the world.

*cough* In other news, Jodi is sending my YA out to editors sometime this week.

Ciao!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oops, Forgot.

Okay, I am having so much fun with my new toy called Sitemeter (referral courtesy of Moonrat) and one of the things it does is tell me what people Googled to get to my blog. So I am going to start off my blog entries with the best Google search term. But since I forgot yesterday, you get a couple today.

I am the number one hit if you search "Princess Bride" "I hate to wait." :)

Today someone found me searching miss snark auction preempt. That's pretty cool.:)

Anyway, more next time.:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Adventures!!

My children are adventurous.

(I will bring this back to writing, I promise.)

The last week has pounded that home. Hard.

My daughter is one of those people who throws herself into the fray with abandon. She wants to do everything!

Like hop on the rocks at the zoo.

Big rocks.

So last Thursday we were at the zoo waiting in line to ride the little train (which my son has been bugging me to go do for a week.) Audrey was playing at a small fountain, and after a few minutes, started climbing on the big rocks that are everywhere at the zoo. Suddenly I hear her scream and I look over and blood is pouring down her face! To make a long story short, she sliced her head open in a two-inch gash that went all the way to her skull and gaped open about half an inch. I wish I had had a camera at the hospital. It was way impressive.

Luckily, my daughter is also brave. The resident who assisted said Audrey was the only four-year-old she had ever stitched who didn't have to be sedated. The only time she got a little tetchy was when the doctor put her arm in from of Aud's eyes. Why? Because she couldn't see the T.V.! (This is me rolling my eyes.)

After getting fourteen stitches, Audrey decided it would be a better idea to play "Step Rock" instead of "Hop Rock." I think she's on to something.

My son, on the other hand, is quite caution in terms of jumping off large things. However, he likes to test what I say. If I say "No" he wants to do it just to find out why I said no. This morning, for example. I heated up my curling iron and curled my bangs. I told Brennan several times not to touch it, because it was hot. I was very clear and explicit. I walk out of the bathroom and five seconds later, Bren screams. (This is also where I rolled my eyes.) I got his finger under cold water and asked, "Did I tell you it was hot?" To which he responds in his cute little two-year-old voice, "Uh-huh." *sigh* He knew! But he had to be sure.

So, are you an Aud or a Bren when you query? (See, I told you it was coming back to writing.:)) The Audreys in this world are so anxious to get their book out there they query a book before it is finished (I've been guilty of that once) or query fifty agents all at once with their first-draft query letter. They send off their partials without looking through them first, they query anyone and everyone and decide they'll research after they get that offer of representation. I think we all spend at least a little time being an Audrey when we are brand new writers. We get excited and throw caution to the wind. Honestly, there's nothing particularly wrong with that. But you can paint yourself into a corner doing it. I suggest you spend as little time being an Audrey as possible. (Not literally of course. The real Audrey is charming!)

However, literary Brennans are far worse. They are careful and calculating. They listen as everyone tells them what not to do. Don't write a three-page query, don't include pictures, bribes, or money, and don't print your partial on neon green paper. But there are some of us who just have to do it anyway. Just to see. Well, you know what? 99.9% of the time, you're going to get burned. Period. One of the reasons I get so frustrated with my son is that he listens. He understands. (He's absolutely brilliant. A bit scarily so, actually.) He knows what is going to happen, and he has to do it anyway. I know lots of writers like this. They are so sure they are the exception and seem to feel like they have to prove how great they are by breaking all the rules and hoping for an acceptance anyway.

There us a place for rule breaking. There is. But be very, very careful about doing it. Don't mistake pride for brilliance. Publishing is a business and, like any business, there are rules and policies and if you don't want to get fired (rejected) you have to follow them. That's just the way it is.

Ciao!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Did You Miss Me?

I'm back! I spent the weekend plus Monday at my parents' house in Idaho and had a wonderfully relaxing and productive time. However, because--as we explained to my daughter--my parents do not have internet in the air (WiFi) I was not able to surf. Because of that I was not able to respond to anyone else's blogs or post on any of my favorite message boards. I have done just a bit of catch-up since then, but not a lot. So If your splendiforously brilliant blog entry did not get a response from me, my apologies. I'm getting there!

Quick sum-up of how my hubby and I met. When I was at college my hubby was a missionary for the LDS church and he was sent to my area. It was one of those love at first sight things, but LDS missionaries have super-strict rules that include no dating so that was out. He also had to be with his companion all the time so there was no talking about it either. But after he left and went to another area, there were letters. Lots of letters. We wrote for about eighteen months and set the date about two months before he came home. (Thus the invitations ordered before the engagement.) I went to Arizona to see him about a week after he got home, we got engaged the second night I was there, but he didn't actually take me out to dinner till the third night we were there, which was our official first date. We got married one month after that. Fun, fun.:) We had a gorgeous wedding!

And since we're on the subject of my family and some of you have been bugging me for pictures, here you go.




This is my oldest, Audrey, on her fourth birthday. On a side note, my hubby and I spent about three hours making that cake. In it's original form it was two regular rectangular cakes and three tubs of cream cheese frosting.:)





This is my second, Brennan. He is my model boy. He is so photogenic and prettier than any boy has any right to be, long dark eyelashes and all. This is just a quick snapshot of him playing in a fountain in Salt Lake City and it looks like a sunscreen ad.




And my baby.:) This is Gideon at two months old in his blessing tux. (The equivalent of a christening.) The last pictures I posted of him were with a hat on and for some reason, hats make him look really fat. He's not quite as chunky as he looked in his last pictures. Plus he has more hair than most babies his age and what are pictures for except to show off?:)






And last but certainly not least, this is one of my favorite pictures of my husband, Kenny. It was actually taken over four years ago, so the little bundle on his chest if my daughter, Audrey. I tell you, there's nothing sweeter than a father holding his baby.:)

And that's us. Well, there's me too, but my picture's always up there on your right.:)

Ciao!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sorry!

In case you haven't noticed, the blog has been quite sparse lately. I'm afraid I've been very, very busy on two count. A bunch of "Mom Stuff" has come up (doctor appointments, volunteering in school, major grocery shopping, etc.) I have also been completing the final tweaks to my newest book in preparation for my agent sending it out in the next couple of weeks. It's been long and stressful work, but I'm almost there!

Anyway, I am going to follow in Moonrat's footsteps and do a fun meme today. Eight things you probably don't know about me.

1.) I used to collect socks. All sorts of fun designs. I would buy socks everywhere I went and had about 40 pair at the peak of my sock addiction. Now I let that addiction live on by buying fun socks for my daughter.

2.) My husband and I conducted our courtship almost exclusively through letters. I ordered our wedding invitations before we were actually engaged and we had our first official date the day after we got officially engaged. We'll have been married six years next month, have three kids, and are still going strong.:)

3.) I'm kind of an exercise nut. My big extravagance while my hubby is going to law school is my gym membership. I work out six days a week and take yoga, pilates, kickboxing, and group weight lifting classes as well as regular sessions on the elliptical trainer. I used to run, but my feet are not allowing that right now.

4.) My favorite color is yellow. I don't know why. I don't wear it (makes me look sick) I don't decorate with it, and I can't stand yellow cars. However, I like yellow skittles the best as well as yellow starbursts.

5.) I am not a feminist. I sometimes will refer to myself as an anti-feminist, although that's probably not accurate.:) I think the old-fashioned role of women in the home is the way to go. (Although I *completely* respect other women's right to choose their own paths. I'm not a fascist non-feminist.;)) However, I am a huge and rather active advocate of women's rights in childbirth and am always encouraging women to stand up to their doctors. Hmm, go figure.

*Aaaah quick break to go rescue my make-up bag which my son decided was a great place to pour a whole cup of water. Sigh*

6.) Okay, I am afraid of bees and spiders. Snakes? Not a problem. Heights? Actually, I always have this little urge to jump just to see what it would feel like. Mice or rats? Well, rats are kind of gross, but they don't scare me. But put a spider or a bee around me and you will see some super-human jumping.

7.) I started wearing glasses when I was five. Big, huge, coke-bottle glasses. I then started wearing contacts when I was twelve. However, due to a rather severe bout of corneal ulcers when I was twenty-four, I am now wearing glasses which, due to modern technology, are much, much thinner than the glasses I wore when I was five. I've only met about three people in my life who have worse vision than me. . . One of them is my younger sister, poor girl.

8.) I look back and wonder how I managed this, but when I was fourteen, my boyfriend was nineteen, when I was fifteen, my boyfriend was eighteen. My husband, on the other hand, is only one year older than me.

So now you know a little more about me. Don't you feel special?:)

Ciao!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Look Me in the Eye Is Out Today!



My friend John Elder Robison's memoir, Look Me in the Eye, comes out today. I'm writing about it on my blog for more reasons than simply because he is my cyber-buddy (and heck, isn't that reason enough;)). I really think that this book is going to be a huge road-builder in the world of Asperger's and want so badly for people to know that this tool exists.

For those of you who are unaware of what Asperger's is, it is a high functioning form of Autism that is often--possibly even usually--non- or mis-diagnosed. John himself did not find out just what his problem was until he was an adult and it is only in looking back that he can see how helpful it would have been to know and understand himself earlier.

I haven't read the book yet (give me a few days to pick it up. Three kids, yanno.) but I have read pieces of it and listened to a teaser from the audio book and everything about it sounds wonderful. It is getting rave reviews and, unlike my own little works of fiction, should be a truly important book in our time.

If this is the first you have heard about John, fear not, you will here more about him in the future. And from far loftier sources than me.:) (Think the Today Show and People magazine, just to name two.)

Congratulations John. And really, this is a book worth buying. I know I am.:)

*By the way, you can find the link to his blog over there ------->*

Ciao!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Three Legends

They say deaths come in threes. As most of probably know, in the last ten days or so, we've lost Luciano Pavarotti and Madeleine l'Engle. After hearing that I thought about the saying that death comes in threes and wondered if there would be another to make up the proverbial trilogy. Sure enough, Robert Jordan died yesterday.

Three legends.

Genuine, bonafide legends.

Luciano Pavarotti was not a writer. For any of you who do not know who he was, he was considered one of the greatest male tenors in the world. Absolutely amazing. He wasn't a writer, but I see no reason why tributes on this blog should be reserved only for writers. The ability to create something deep and beautiful that touches people's hearts is certainly not a market we have a corner on. If you have never heard Luciano Pavarotti sing the famous opera number Nessum Dorma, pleased do.

Madeleine l'Engle was a writer of both adult and young adult fiction, but she is best known for her Time Quartet, and most notably, the first book in that series, "A Wrinkle in Time," which earned her the Newbery Award in 1962 and is arguably the beginning of the YA Speculative Fiction era. I didn't actually read AWiT until I was an adult, but trust me, it is worth the read even if you are not a young adult. If you haven't read it, I definitely recommend that you do.

Robert Jordan is knows as the premiere fantasy author of our generation. Although he has written many books, including several Conan the Barbarian novels, he is, by far, most famous for his super-epic series, The Wheel of Time, which opens with "The Eye of the World." Robert Jordan completely re-defined the epic series with his twelve-book series, the last of which has not yet been published. Anyone who considers themselves a fantasy reader has probably read Robert Jordan, even if not the whole series (which is somewhere around 3-4 million words long. I am not obsessed with his series as many people are *cough, cough* My brother Richard *cough, cough* but I I'll always remember "The Eye of the World" as the first real fantasy I ever read back when I was fourteen.

It's sobering to lose three legends like this all in a less-than-two-week period. There are not that many true legends in the word and their numbers have now been diminished. But besides simply being famous, these are three legends who are legends for having true talent. They are not freak shows, children of wealthy or talented people, or people who have just been around so long that everyone knows them. An incredible singer, a gifted wordsmith, a storyteller with some of the greatest stamina the world has ever seen! Incredible people. I'm sorry the world has lost them.

But they will last in memory, as only the truly amazing do.

Ciao!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What Are You Doing Instead . . .

Of writing your first or next novel?

We all know we should be doing it. It's like the big science project you get in Junior High--you know you should work on it as soon as it's assigned, you even have a great idea! But somehow days and days go by and you still haven't started on it. Are you doing that with your books?

I am.:)

What are you doing instead?

I wish I could say I've been blogging like mad, but all of y'all would know that was a lie!:) Actually, I've been doing a lot of review reading on Amazon.com for books in my genre. (At the moment that's YA.) I justify my time by telling myself that it is "market research." . . . And it kind of is!:)

What are you doing? Posting on forums? Reading? Making bubble gum wrapper chains?

Or maybe you're one of those Hermione-esque creatures and you ARE working on your book. Well good for you! How's that going?

Ciao!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Lamenting

Okay, so bear with me--this story really will have a point . . . eventually.

I have a two-year-old son who is extremely addicted to his binky. When my daughter turned two we took her binkies away and it wasn't a big deal. However, we tried that with Brennan and it did NOT work. He was severely addicted and not only would he cry forever for his bink, he would also find them. Places I didn't even think he could reach he would retrieve binkies from. Like the binkies gave him some supernatural power to reach high places and see through solid objects. Super-Binky Man! I was beginning to think we would never get him off the bink.

Then, last Saturday he woke up from his nap (with his blue bink in his mouth) and I spotted the orange bink on the floor. (We did manage to get him down to two.) I picked up the orange bink, thinking I would again attempt to hide it in a high place when I saw it had a little hole in it. Hooray! No good for sucking any more. So I gave it to Brennan and showed him where it was broken. I said, "Okay, let's go throw it away." He was excited about that because if there is anything a two-year-old likes to do more than sucking on a binky, it's throwing things away. So he tossed his broken bink in the trash. Then, totally kidding, I tapped the blue binky in his mouth and said, "How about this one? Should we throw this one away too?" Now I was totally expecting him to shrink back and yell, "Nooooo!!!!" But to my surprise, he popped it out and threw it away. My hubby and I looked at each other in amazement, but without a word we both turned and retreated from the garbage can before he could change his mind and snatch it back.

Fast-forward to bedtime that night.

Bren went to bed okay, but about ten minutes later we heard him get out of bed and come to sit by the closed door. Then, in this sweet little lamenting voice he said, "I frew away my binky, oh no, oh no."

There are several people in my writing cyber-world who tend to start books, get like 20,000 words into them, then delete them and start over. They do this like five and six times. Now I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I am saying that I don't understand it. It's such a permanent thing! Any time I delete a large section of text, I save it somewhere, just in case. Even if I know it's bad, I save it just in case I happen to find a place for it in either another spot in the book, or even another book entirely. If I ever deleted a big segment of text I would do like my son did--sit at the computer the next day lamenting, "I deleted that whole segment, oh no, oh no."

So those of you who do this, help me understand. Why? Don't you ever regret it? Maybe it makes you feel more like you have a fresh start. I don't know. I just have gone back way too many times to borrow back bits and pieces of a section I don't want anymore (even if it's just a line or two) to ever just delete such a large section of text. Do you ever regret it? Or, like my son (who is now binky-free, Yea!!) do you just move on?

Ciao!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Talented and Fabulous Michelle Zink!

Check this out . . .

"Nancy Conescu at Little, Brown for Young Readers has preempted world rights to The Prophecy of the Sisters, a YA gothic thriller trilogy by debut author Michelle Zink; Steven Malk at Writers House made the six-figure deal. The first book in the trilogy, which blends supernatural elements with romance, is scheduled for spring 2009, with books two and three to follow in spring 2010 and 2011."

I've been sitting on this for like three weeks, but the news is official now!! For those of you who don't know this story, Michelle and I got to be friends about nine months ago when we were both doing revisions for Writers House agents who had not actually offered to rep us yet. (A very rewarding, but utterly nerve-wracking process.) I was luckier on that end--I only worked with Jodi for about three months before I got a contract. Michelle worked on hers for seven months. But she's been luckier (i.e. more talented;)) than me on the other end. Her book sold at pre-empt in four days for a fabulous deal!!

Please join me in wishing her a hearty congratulations!!

Congrats Michelle!!

Ciao!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dream Agent vs. In-Your-Dreams Agent

I've been reading a lot about people complaining about agents lately. And some of it is justified. Some of it is not. And it hasn't just come from writers. It has come from editors and other agents as well. But for this post I am just going to focus on the author-agent relationship.

Now, I have an agent. And she is an exceptional agent. In general as well as to me personally. She is my dream agent and I know a lot of people who would kill to have her.

However, I also know several people who already have an agent--a dream agent even--and they are still frustrated. Why? Because for some reason, their sense of reality is skewed and they are looking for an In-Your-Dreams Agent.

Let's start on the positive side. Here are a few (just a few) reasons why Jodi is my dream agent.

1. She has a very strong sales record. There are bestsellers as well as mid-listers on her list and she specializes in at least one of the genres in which I write.

2. I have spoken with other client/s and they recommend her whole-heartedly.

3. She works at a reputable house and has for a long time. (I get a little worried about agents, even good ones, who bounce from house to house. Really, why change so much? Are they getting fired or just impossible to please? Either way, I am not impressed.)

4. She had the good sense to sign with me. (Hahahahahaha!!!! Ooh, just sec--let me wipe the tears away. Ah, okay. Let's continue.)

5.She doesn't charge me anything.

6. She returns my e-mails promptly. (I think her record is two days, and she had a reason for that delay.)

7. She reminds me often that her phone is always open to me.

8. She likes my writing and tells me so whenever I am feeling discouraged.

9. She always offers great critiques and really understands my writing.

10. She told me from the beginning that she was in it for the long haul, not just one book.


Things my agent does NOT do and that I should not expect her to do.

1. Talk to me on the phone every day.

2. E-mail me every day.

3. Read my manuscripts or revisions overnight.

4. Answer my e-mails within minutes.

5. Listen (or read) to me whine about things she has no control over.

6. Be available on weekends/holidays/vacations/etc.

7. Sell every book I write for a six-figure advance/pre-empt/auction/etc.

8. Sell every book I write, period.

9. Make me her best friend, tell me all about her personal life, etc.

10. Make me her top priority all the time.

Honestly, if my agent did all of the things on the second list, I would start to worry that not only was I her only client, but also the only person in her entire life. And that would be scary.

Do you know how many clients your agent has? I was curious the other day so I did two things. I logged on to Querytracker.com and went to their "Who Reps Who" section. And found every author listed as being repped by Jodi. Then I went to Amazon and searched for her name and found more. (They have a quote from the acknowledgments page.) In less than an hour I found over twenty clients and I am positive there are more that I didn't find. That's a lot of careers to manage!

So whether you are a big fish in a small pool, a small fish in a big pool, or something in between, remember that you are still just one fish. Agents are human. They have lives, just like the rest of us. So if your agent treats you and your writing with courtesy, respect, and enthusiasm and you are still not happy, maybe you need to seriously consider that the problem may not lie with them.

Ciao!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Little Clarification

Okay, I have had several readers mention that they found my blog through Miss Snark's (le sigh, miss her . . .) Crap-o-meter and are confused as to which book is which. And where the heck is that ghost book?! (and no, Stephen, this isn't just for you. You were just the straw on the proverbial camel's back.:)) So here are my books.

Book One: Adult Classic Fantasy entitled, "The Chain and the Sword." This is the book I got my agent with.

Book Two: A YA Contemporary Fantasy entitled, "Autumn Wings." This is the book Jodi and I are currently preparing for submission.

Book Three: A YA Contemporary Fantasy entitled, "Life After Theft." This is the book from Miss Snark. (le sigh) Unfortunately, it's not finished. I signed with Jodi in the middle of writing it so it got lost amid revisions of "The Chain and the Sword." The good news is that it will be my keep-busy-writing-so-I-don't-go-crazy project while "Autumn Wings" is out on submission.

Book Four: The Book-which-must-not-be named. A classic Romance that actually does not have a title--although I joke about calling it "Basking in Basque." (Hehe.) It is my official trunk novel and although I really like the story, it needs a lot (lot, lot, lot) of work. This novel may someday see the sun . . . but I doubt it.:)

So that is what I mean when I refer to "The Books." Hope that helps.:)

Ciao!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Book Two

I turned in my second book to my agent last month and last week she called and told me she loves it and will be representing it as well. Yea!! I tell you what, it is really confidence inspiring to be able to get my agent's approval on a second book--especially an agent from Writers House. It makes me think that maybe the first book wasn't just a fluke.

And that makes me happy.:)

So now I'm working on a few small revisions and Jodi wants to get this one out quickly. I hope that's a good sign.:)

Anyway, not a very thought provoking post, but all of my creative energy is going to my revisions right now. Wish me luck!

Ciao!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Editorial Ass[istant]

Okay. I have found a new blog (without even looking for one--I have enough to read!!!) and after less than one day I have enjoyed it so much that I am putting on my list of favorite over there to the right. Here it is. As the title of this post suggests, it is called Editorial Ass--meaning assistant, kind of like my friend Dan used to call our assistant manager the Ass Man. (Excuse the language, Mom--admit it, it's funny!) She appears to be a former assistant editor (now an acquiring editor) at some publisher who writes extremely irreverent posts, complains way too much about her boss for a public blog, posts some really funny links, and drinks too much.:) From some back-reading I've done today I have read some really funny stuff like this and this. Also this which was interesting.

Anyway, I have laughed out loud (literally) several times today over this blog. So go check it out.

In other news, I am expecting a very important phone call from my agent in a little while.

No, not that important, don't let your imagination run away with you; but quite important.:)

Ciao!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Word of Mouth

I have often heard professionals in the publishing industry say that word of mouth publicity is often worth more than any other kind you could pay for. I used to be skeptical about that because I have a rather small social circle. Plus, in comparison to the number of sales we'd all like to have (*laugh*) the amount of people you could reach by word of mouth seemed pitifully small.

However, the last few weeks have shown me just how powerful word of mouth could potentially be . . . albeit on a very, very small scale.

In my church group we have a class for women above eighteen and as we open the meeting we have the "Good News Minute." Several weeks ago I announced that I had finished the final draft of my new book. I had an older lady (about seventy) come up to me and ask how she could get a hold of my book to read it. I told her that it wasn't anywhere near published, but that she could read my copy if she wanted to. So I brought it to her the next week.

The week after that she told me how much she'd enjoyed the book and that she'd passed it on to one of the other ladies and was that okay? I was fine with that. So then a man in our church group (I have no idea how he found out) told me his wife wanted to read it and could she be on the waiting list? On top of that, the mother of one of my beta readers confessed that she hadn't let her daughter take her copy back until she'd read it too.

Now, bear in mind, I didn't tell anyone what this book was about or anything. After the initial request from the elderly woman, everyone has heard reviews from someone other than me. Four people may not seem like very much, but it has been only in the last few weeks, with people I only see once a week, and with absolutely no effort on my part. If I was actually trying to promote my book, I imagine the results would increase exponentially. And if there was publicity running alongside it, I can see how it really would be very effective.

And, of course, the modern word of mouth is word of blog.:) So I guess I'm doing some of that too.:)

Ciao!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Debutante Ball

Are any of you familiar with this grog (group blog)? It's a fun blog featuring six authors whose debut novels all came out this year (except one whose publication date got moved back--:(--so she gets another year on the blog--:)--). I've always thought this was a fun idea and been just a smidge jealous that my book wasn't coming out this year so I could be a "Deb" too. But I did wonder how long it would last. After all, you only get one debut novel. Well, yesterday I got my answer in my e-mail (Yes, I admit, I don't check that e-mail nearly as often as I should). It has been a year since the Debutante Ball started and everyone's book has been published except for Eileen's (who is the author I mentioned above.) So they have brought in a whole new cast! Five new Debs and a return appearance by Eileen. So mosey on over there and have a look. It's a really fun site and there a new entry every day. So if you want to see the process leading up to and just following the release of a debut novel, you will enjoy this one. (Pssst . . . it's over there ---------->)

By the way, this is their official announcement, posted here with permission.


"We'd like to invite you to join the six of us as we take over the fabulous Debutante Ball ( www.thedebutanteball.com ), starting Monday, August 6.

thedebutanteball.com was founded last year by Kristy Kiernan along with five other debut novelists. It was a wonderful chance for those writers to bond with authors at similar points in their careers, and provide an opportunity for readers to become acquainted with other books they might find enjoyable.

Last year's authors, Kristy Kiernan, Mia King, Tish Cohen, Jennifer McMahon, Eileen Cook and Anna David hand over the reins this week, with Eileen Cook being the one carry-over author, as her debut date has been pushed back.

This year's authors, whose books will debut in 2008, are: Danielle Younge-Ullman (FALLING UNDER), Jess Riley (RIDING WITH LARRY RESNICK), Lisa Daily (FIFTEEN MINUTES OF SHAME), Jenny Gardiner (SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER), Gail Konop Baker (CANCER IS A BITCH: Reflections on Midlife, Mortality, Motherhood and Marriage), and Eileen Cook (UNPREDICTABLE).

We hope you'll drop by to visit the Ball ( www.thedebutanteball.com ), remember to bookmark the site if you like it, and check out the happenings as the year progresses!

Best,

Danielle, Jess, Lisa, Jenny, Gail, and Eileen"

Please go visit them!

Ciao!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Congratulations Patricia Wood!!


It's launch day for Patricia Wood's highly publicized debut, Lottery. I can't help but add to the hype here at Apparently! Please go check out her blog (It's over there --------->) where there are more links and festivities.

Congratulations Pat!!!!

Ciao!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Experiments

We have a wonderful ability in our day and age. A truly incredible thing.

It's called the Save function.

Now, I'm not talking about the regular use of the save function which is--as the Gamer's Creed declares, "Save Early; Save Often." We've all lost paragraphs, pages, chapters, or--if we're quite unfortunate--more, because we forgot to save. But that's simply level one. I want to take you to the next level of the Save function.

This level is one I see writers lamenting about all the time. What typically happens is that an agent (hopefully the writer's agent at this point, but not necessarily. A lot of agents do this before signing) calls up a writer and tells them all the things they like about their book.

But . . . .

It's too long. It's too short. It's too slow. It has too many characters. The pacing is off, etc. But they would like to see a revision.

This is where the lamenting begins.

Writers worry about a myriad of things at this point. Am I selling out? What if I make it worse? What if I don't like it? What if I make the changes and the agent still doesn't sign me? Some people even get two or three steps ahead of themselves and worry about things like what if it sells and the editor wants me to change exactly what I already changed for my agent!?!

Relax!! The Save function is here for you!

Seriously though. I always have to shake my head a little. Every reasonable author I know has their manuscript saved in at least two places and often more. So why not take one of those copies, tuck it away somewhere, and start making revisions? If you don't like them, you can go back to the original. If you cut too much, you can go back and copy/paste scenes back in. If you completely ruin the whole thing, you still have that original copy saved on your computer and you can delete the other and pull it out, safe and sound.

Revisions are not written in stone. I would venture to say that 90% of the time they should be, but that's a whole other subject.:) The point is, you have nothing to lose by experimenting with your story. But you have everything to gain! If all you gain from doing a revision is that you realize you had a fan-freaking-tastic story to begin with that was perfect just the way it was? Well then you learned an important lesson, didn't you? And as long as you saved your original file, you still have that awesome story waiting for you, just the way you left it.

Can you tell I'm entering the revision stage again? (Again is so relative.:))I'm actually taking one of my projects and--at the suggestion of my agent--revamping it into a YA. Am I going to save my original somewhere? Youbetcha. Probably two or three places, just to be sure. But I'm excited. It's going to be fun! There'll be a lot of age changing and pace quickening and--of course--cutting, cutting, cutting. But hopefully when I'm done, I'll have a better novel.

And if not, the Save function will save me.:)

Ciao!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Finally!

I had my baby yesterday! Hooray! We won't mention he was nine days late!!

Guess how big he was. No really, go ahead and guess. I bet you're way off.

You're never going to believe this.

I can still hardly believe it.

Ten pounds, eleven ounces!!



I gave birth to a toddler!!:) (We joke that he ate his twin.:))

Anyway, he's a major chub. Over two pounds bigger that either of his siblings were at birth (just shy of three pounds bigger than his sister!) But he's a major cutie and without further ado, here's Gideon Kevin Kenneth, in all his chubby glory.:)





Sunday, July 08, 2007

Mixing Genres

Oh, the great joys of being pregnant. You can't remember anything!!! Yesterday while out at the library with my mom and sister, a niece and nephew, and my own two kids (and my ginormous belly) I thought up a whole blog with the title you see above. It wasn't actually about mixing genres in books, it was a life experience about mixing two things that should not have been mixed and I was going to relate it back to both good and bad genre mixing in books.

But I've completely forgotten what the basis of the whole blog entry was.

I blame the pregnancy.

For those of you who may not know, I am now officially overdue. So I am done posting blogs until I can do so with baby pictures that are not of the ultrasound persuasion.

It shouldn't be too long.

At least that's what I keep telling myself.

And if I ever remember what I was originally going to blog about, I'll do a "Mixing Genres Take Two" post.

Till then, you can all feel better knowing that I am as much in suspense about the original blog entry as you are.;)

Ciao!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Am Not Worthy.:)

There are a lot of writers out there.

There are fewer published writers.

There are even fewer published writers who are so talented you simply cannot ignore their brilliance.

Then there is that elite group that writes such fabulous stories, such deft prose, that if you are not careful, will make you want to quit writing all together because never in your life could you fill an entire novel with the quality they seem to fit into every sentence.

Can you tell I've been reading Niel Gaiman?

I don't know how he does it.

My husband and I have taken to listening to books on tape together at night after out kids go to bed. It's way fun. Two nights ago we finished the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. (Which I personally think hit its high point in the first book and it's low point in the last, had a very disappointing ending, and still managed to be one of the best books I've read in a long time.) So we needed a new book and my husband pulled out Stardust by Neil Gaiman. (You really should check out the link. His page currently has a picture of him holding up this tomato with a tail. Trust me, it's funny.:) )

Oh-my-goodness. I am stunned and amazed. I sat there listening to his words and it's not your typical literary experience. It's . . . I don't know . . . quirky. But quirky in such a brilliant way!! This is what people mean when they say that you can break all the rules you want, so long as you do it well.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Neil Gaiman does it well.

This is the first couple of lines. They belong to Neil Gaiman, not me, and I got access to them via amazon.com . . . (Is that enough of a disclaimer?) Oh yeah, Fair Use.:)

"There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire.

And while that is, as beginnings go, not entirely novel (for every tale about every young man that ever was or ever will be could start in a similar manner) there was much about this young man and what happened to him that was unusual, although even he never knew the whole of it.

The tale started, as many tales have started, in Wall."

I was hooked.

Why? No scene, all exposition, third person omniscient narrator. All things you should not start your book with according to many, many professionals. In fact, the first scene continues with more of all three of these rules being broken. And you know what? It just keeps getting more and more interesting. I can't wait for my kids to go to bed tonight! (Can anyone say Nyquil? . . . Kidding! Kidding! I would never drug my children! Even for Neil Gaiman.:))

Anyway, in the absence of any news to share, I thought I would share this recommendation. Try Neil Gaiman. Check out his book of short stories, Fragile Things. (As many of you know, I have an almost worshipful awe of people who can write short stories because I, quite frankly, cannot. Actually, I think my favorite short story ever is Stephen King's "Theory of Pets" which you can find in his collection Everything's Eventual. I actually have a copy of it on tape with Mr. King himself reading this story aloud. Aaahhh!! My second favorite is "Boys Enter the House" which you can find in Rick Moody's collection Demonology, but only when it is read aloud. Seeing the words jumbled on the page in the format he decided to use make it look messy and unorganized. But read aloud (by him and in person, of course;), it flows like a poem. Incredibly beautiful! . . . but I digress.) And if you like fairy tales at all, go find Stardust. It was published eight years ago so I bet your local library has it. I'm all of about 30 pages into it, and I can already tell you it's going to be a great book.:)

Ciao!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Switching Gears

As most of you know, I've been working rather frantically on my latest project which I just turned into my agent. So until I have revisions or something to work on from her, I don't have anything else to do on that particular project. However, since I am still enjoying my four writing hours a day, I am returning to the book that was my first priority until my latest book came along. This one, actually, from the famous final Crapometer of the dearly missed Miss Snark.

Now, it's the same genre as my last book, but the voice is totally different. I spent most of my time yesterday just re-reading through it, because I have to recapture that voice if I am going to be able to finish this thing at all. So I'm really doing some gear switching. I think it's going to be fine, but it made me wonder how you all go about switching gears. And how drastic are your gear switches? Do you write series? Do you write searate books within the same genre? Are you a genre dabbler? Is it easy and refreshing to switch gears (I think I am falling into that category) or is starting a new book like pulling teeth? You tell me.:)

Ciao!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wish Me Luck!!

I am sending my new book to my agent today! Yea!

(No, really, I'm shaking in my shoes. Sshh! Don't tell.)

I have to say, I have yelled, pouted, sulked, stressed, despaired, and sweat over my books in the past, but this is the first book I have shed tears over. (Of course, that may also have something to do with being over eight months pregnant . . .) It's been quite an experience because I have two very major de-railings that I had to fix and both required me to really sit down and let go of my ego.

So, anyway, I'm excited and extremely nervous all at the same time. *Laugh* I also am apparently a glutton for punishment because after today I will be waiting to go into labor, waiting to hear back on my book that is still out on submission to six houses, and waiting to hear back from my agent on my new book. How's that for torture?;)

Ciao!

Monday, June 04, 2007

I Loooove My Husband!

You are looking as a mostly stress-free woman!!!!

This is an oddity because last night I was an enormous stress ball and have spent the last several days shedding many tears over this book of mine that was just not working!!!!

A few days ago (almost a week now, good gracious!) I finished my new project enough that I was ready to send it to my "soft" betas. i.e. my family. I know they will give me honest answers, but they will do so gently and they will read with an eye toward liking. It's always been a good first step for me.

So I sent it to my two sisters who I knew would really like the subject matter. (Which is a secret, by the way. Top secret!!;)) So they both came back saying that they loved the first 90% of the book (they actually both read it in one sitting) but they were bothered by the end. The things I intended just did not come through and the ending fell totally flat.

That's okay. I've been doing this long enough to accept criticism and after hashing out some ideas with my hubby, I got back to work.

And you know what happened? The ending just got flatter and flatter. Nothing was working!!!

Now you get some history.

I came up with the basic idea for this book on my own and I told my husband about it. He got really excited about it and jumped onto the idea bandwagon with me. At least half of the ideas in this book are my husband's. Seriously. I wrote it, but he was a humongous contributor in every step. He even did some fabulous editing for me.

So he knows this book inside and out and has really been working with me on it. but at this point, we both are at this standstill. We've made the book somewhat better content-wise, but it just didn't have that zing at the end that wraps everything up and gives you a smile as you turn over the last page. And who wants to end their book on a low note?!?!

So I was stressed out when we went to bed last night at about 11:00 PM and I was going through the end of the book (the epilogue specifically) in my head and wondering how I could ever make it work enough to feel confident sending it to my agent and that dark voice in the back of my head was even suggesting scrapping the whole project entirely. (Which would be silly. The first 90% of the book is really fun!)

Then, at about 11:30 I hear this little whisper. "Ps-t-s-t-s-"

"Huh?"

"I asked if you were awake."

Asked and answered, I guess.

So he proceeds to make one little suggestion. "What if, in the epilogue, Character A is talking to Character C, instead of Character B?"

Hallelujah!!!!!!

Seriously! I thought about this for about five seconds and everything clicked! I began writing in my head that very moment. It is amazing how one fairly small change can make all the difference in the world.

I got up the next morning and rewrote the epilogue. I sent it to my sister along with the last two chapters, which had also been revised. She loved it! It was the "right" ending now. It's out to my dad now, and we'll see what he thinks.

But I have a feeling he'll like it to. Because it just worked and I had that same feeling when I finished my last round of revisions with Jodi. It's at that "right" stage.

And that makes me very happy.

So my husband is my special person today . . . for more reasons than just because he's a great husband.;)

Ciao!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Respect Your Fellow Writer!!!

I decided to wait a day to write this post after deciding that I was going to because, quite frankly, I needed to cool down a bit. One of the forums I frequent (I'm not going to mention any names here, although I imagine some of you have seen the thread) has a woman who I consider to be little more than a troll who is basically bashing any genre she doesn't write. Among others, she compares "short" (less that 100K) books to Readers Digest Condensed and Golden Books. She also referred to romance novels (which comprise over half of the paperback industry these days) as "slim Wuthering Heights-style knock-offs with smoldering women and Fabio clones on the cover," and pretty much everything that isn't either extremely long or a classic as "rubbish" and "inconsequential." She then proceeded to be quite abusive to anyone who dared to disagree with her.

In my opinion, especially on a writing board, this is unacceptable. If you are a writer who has started a novel, you know how hard it is to start. If you are a writer slogging through the middle of a novel, you know how hard it is to keep going. If you are a writer who has finished a novel, you know what a huge accomplishment that is! (And in my personal opinion, if you have ever attempted poetry and short stories, you know how hard it is to actually produce something decent. I do NOT write short fiction because I am not talented enough.;)) Because you know this, you ought to respect anyone else who has been down the same path. Anyone. I don't care if you don't like the kind of books they write, I don't care if you never read their genre (I don't care if you never read any of their work at all!) you still owe them respect for what they have done.

I think I have a friend in pretty much every genre at this point: non-fiction, commercial fiction, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, YA, and even *gasp* erotica. And you know what? I respect them all. (I don't think I personally know any mystery writers . . . what a shame. I LOVE a good mystery and am simply not smart enough to write one.;)) I am happy to know so many writers because, well, they're writers. I don't care what they write! They are weavers of words, purveyors of plot, creators of characters, just like me. I have a couple of special friends who I e-mail with frequently and none of them write in the genre I am currently shopping. That doesn't keep them from understanding what I'm going through and vice-versa. We still cheer at each others' successes and moan at our losses. And more importantly, keep each other company through this mostly solitary journey.

In my opinion, you never, never, have the right to think of yourself as superior because you write longer/more literary/more commercial books. (You are welcome to think of yourself as more successful, after all, some of us are more successful than others. *cough, cough* Pat *cough, cough* :)) And hey, since you just mentioned her (;)) mentioned her, does anybody (personally) know any debut author more successful than Pat? And more importantly, does anybody know a more genuinely kind and respectful person than Pat?

Personally, I think there's some Karma involved here. And I would much rather follow in Pat's footsteps than this other woman's.

Ciao!