Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunny California Anyone?

To what do I refer?  World Fantasy Convention 2011!!!

October 27 - 30 in San Diego.  Guest writer, Neil Gaiman (Stardust, Coraline, lots of others).  In attendance, Charlaine Harris, author of the books that the HBO series True Blood is based off of.  And lots of other authors, publishers, agents, etc.  And also - me! 

Only 850 tickets available!  They haven't updated their attendance list for over a month, but it was already about a quarter full then.  Hope to see some blogging friends there!

P.S. - this concludes my blogging activities until the weekend as I am currently working 11 hours straight each day at work to meet a deadline.  TTFN!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In the wee hours of the day after Thanksgiving...

Okay, well I started writing this in the wee hours of the day after Thanksgiving, but at about 2 am I gave up. All of my creative juices of the evening went into making a new blog titlebar picture or whatever you call it. I used pictures I've taken (well, one was taken by my husband) on different travels about the globe. Except for the sunset pic, that was from our front yard. Now that I've spent all the time making it, I can't decide whether I really like it or not, so if it comes down in a few days you'll know which side of the argument prevailed.

Anyways, I hope everyone had a lovely and delicious Thanksgiving. I did (my Tofurkey was scrumptious as usual). Speaking of giving thanks, I was honored and delighted to receive the Honest Scrap Award from Colene Murphy at The Journey! Thanks, Colene! I started out this blog with the intent of writing a completely honest account of my adventures in writing and trying to get an agent, and I'm glad that I'm doing my job. Colene's blog is super awesome. I haunt it with regularity. And if you need more reasons to visit, I put a link below to a hilarious Harry Potter interview she posted.  Check it out!

So, the award rules state that I am to share 10 things about myself. Here goes:

1) I like to talk about myself. I don't think I am overly narcissistic (for a writer), but I'm just an open book and like to share my stories (again, writer).
2) I live on five acres in the country with two horses, a pony, a dog and three cats, two children, and one husband. My neighbor has cows and a vineyard (interesting combo, right?).
3) My 'real' job (the full-time one that pays the bills) is for an educational non-profit corp. I'm a manager, and seriously hope I am not like Michael Scott in real life (like I was for Halloween).
4) None of my coworkers know how serious I am about writing. I amuse myself with the thought that it's my secret life.
5) I'm kind of like Garfield. I love food and sleeping. I don't cook much, but I like to eat the delicious things my husband makes, and could go nuts in Fresh Market or Whole Foods. I've never even been in a Whole Foods, but I am waiting for them to bring one to my city.
6) I used to bleach my hair blonde, and then accidently went pink for a weekend while I was changing to red, which lasted for a while, and then eventually I went back to my natural brown. Black hair has always been my favorite, but I've never been brave enough to go there.
7) I'm a major crier. I cry when I'm happy, sad, angry, or when something just makes me emotional (something beautiful, triumphant, sweet). Seeing other people cry makes me cry. Sometimes I really annoy myself with it.
8) One day, I'd like to become really involved in some sort of global project. I'm passionate about protecting the environment, and stopping animal cruelty, and women's rights. My degree in Sociology, while pretty much useless in my day job, added a lot of fuel to my save-the-world fire.
9) I am a certified equine sports massage therapist. When I was in my teens, I used to compete with my horses, and flew out to Colorado to learn how to massage them. I actually had quite a few paying clients at one point. I haven't done it in years, though I still get the occasional request.
10) When I was 15, I started working at this awesome cafe run by hippies and earned the nicknames 'Lex-Ann' and 'Lexicon'. I find the Lexicon one amusing since I am a writer and considered fitting that into my blog title, but then figured I wasn't really quite fantastic enough of a word smith to get away with it (I should be; but since we’re still being honest and stuff…).

So, now that you know 10 random things about me, I'd like to pass on this lovely award to five fellow bloggers that I think have honest and delightful blogs full of great writery stuff:

Lola Sharp at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword
Jai Joshi at Jai Joshi's Tulsi Tree
Melissa at Through the Looking Glass
Donea Lea at Queen of Procrastination
Shallee McArthur at Life, the Universe, and Writing

Check out their blogs, they rock!

Now, as a bonus for everyone, here are a few things that caught my attention on my blogging adventures this week. The Rejectionist is having a New Year's Pre-Resolution Uncontest, and she also had a hilarious Harry Potter music video that had me LMAO. For more on Harry Potter, check out this interview on Colene's blog. More LMAO. And, to wrap things up on an educational note, here's a really good post on query letters by the ever-awesome Nate Bransford. A cool way to look at writing them if you are in the mood to revamp yours.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Warning: Random and Sappy Blog Post Ahead

Hi, Writer Friends! As the week of Thanksgiving is now upon us, I am reflecting on all I am thankful for. And one of the things I have grown to love are my blog friends: you! Although I started my blog in June, I didn't really make an attempt to connect with other writers until about six weeks ago. In that short span of time, I've met so many awesome people. People that understand my hopes and my fears, my goals and the drive it takes to achieve them. I've met people that are at the beginning of the journey like me, polishing manuscripts and querying agents. Others already have agents and publishers and some even have books on the market. It's been so amazing becoming part of this community all around the world, and for that, I am very grateful. And just this weekend I surpassed 50 followers! Thank you everyone for stopping by my humble blog and reading what I have to say.

Now on to the random part. I saw HP and the Deathly Hallows today. Loved it! Without spoiling it for anyone who hasn't seen it, let me just say that I thought it was the most emotionally powerful and beautifully shot film of them all. The scenery and details were gorgeous. I am glad they split it into two films, as I will be very sad the day I see the last movie.

In editing news, I have truly discovered the effect of tipping one little domino. I started by deciding that I needed to change the beginning of my book, and had decided to bring forward one of my favorite scenes from much later in the book. This scene had been the introduction of my most favorite character, or at least the one that speaks most clearly to me. Bringing him into the beginning meant needing more scenes with him throughout the book. It also meant eliminating the scene I originally had at the beginning, which I had meant to just move to another place, but it just didn't fit. So, in essence, what at first seemed a big change in the first 100 pages of the book has now changed the entire book drastically. I think I'll be working on it for quite a few weeks. But, I am loving the new direction it's gone and developing some characters that were minor before. So, I have to say with true honesty that I am thankful the agent who requested the partial rejected me and gave me feedback that urged me to make changes I had been stewing about for quite some time.

So, as Turkey Day approaches (or in the case of vegetarians like me Tofurkey Day), what are you thankful for as a writer? Did you receive honest advice, or words of encouragement, or had a mentor that has helped you out?

I will probably not post again until Friday or Saturday, so everyone have a fantastic holiday with safe travels if you are leaving town.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Shunning

Hi writer friends! Sorry I haven't posted anything fresh for a few days - I was busy on my major novel facelift and then three days ago our internet went down (again). I am using my work computer at the moment and hopefully the home service will be up again soon.

Since I've been completely obsessed with my edit process, my husband has been getting less attention than usual. We have a joke between ourselves, which some of you may have gathered if you read his comment on my last blog post. When one of us is pretty much ignoring the other to get some sort of project done, we tease each other about being shunned. We'll banter back and forth, like "I'm going out to the living room to shun you now" or "Take your time running errands because you know I'll just shun you if you’re home." Yeah, we're kind of weird.

Anyways, since I know many of you are enthralled in NaNo this month or other writery projects, I began to wonder how other writers handle the balancing act. I am blessed that my husband is supportive and understands my writing and puts up with his regular shunning. Me and hubby usually make up our 'us' time by watching Castle, Desperate Housewives or South Park (no laptops on laps to multi-task whilst watching).

So, pray tell: What do you do to appease the loved ones in your life? How does your spouse/bf/gf/friend(s) handle your writing obsessions? And, does anyone have a spouse/bf/gf that is also a writer?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Good news and bad news

Usually I spit out the bad news first.  But this time, I have to tell you the good news in order for the bad news to make sense.  And there's some good news with the bad news, too... anyways, here it is:

I got my first partial request!  An agent asked for pages based on just my query letter.  I screamed and jumped up and down (which truly terrified the cat) and shrieked at my husband and hugged the dog and called my mom. 

The bad news is that the agent rejected me a day later.  She said she enjoyed the pages, that they were well-written and my story was interesting, but she didn't connect with my characters.  Talk about a roller coaster of emotion!  So, the good news about the bad news is that I finally got some feedback, and at least finally connected with a real live agent.  And, it's a step in the right direction, an important rite of passage.  I know most people get some rejections on partial requests before they finally land an agent.

So, I'm excited to have finally gotten further than a form rejection, and the agent's suggestion really confirmed for me some needed editing I had been contemplating for a while.  I love my prologue - it's very dramatic and fast-paced.  But the next fifty pages or so are my least favorite of the book.  And if I feel that way, it's unlikely an agent is going to get far enough to request more.  My goal at the beginning of the book was to build on the feeling of isolation of my MC - she's going through crazy stuff, there's no one to confide in, etc.  But what's missing is the juicy dialogue and characters that come into play later.  Therefore, I've undertaken a major edit, completely rewriting the first couple of chapters to bring forward some scenes and characters that initially were sitting further back in the book.  I also decided I need to play up the sassiness of my MC.  I wanted to portray her as very normal, so that when she discovers she's a witch it's that much more dramatic, but I have made her a bit too boring.

Progress!  Change!  Adventure!  I'll keep you guys posted on my voyage back into EditLand. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Chamberlynn Bloggies!!

Thanks so much to everyone who commented about awards etiquette. I really love having a community of fellow writing peeps. So, since no one seemed to think it was a big faux pas if I created my own award, and since I have this week off from work, I present without further ado, the Chamberlynn Bloggies!

I created the Magical Blog Award, for blogs which I find inspiring or insightful or pretty or addictive, or all of the above. There are no rules or strings attached to this award. You can pass it along if you wish, to as many people as you wish. We all like to feel the love!

I don’t have any cool graphics programs, so I made this in Microsoft Paint with photos I took. The pic was taken during my honeymoon.

Here are the recipients of the first Chamberlynn Bloggies:

Beth Sanderson at The Writing Spectacle
Lynda Young at WIP It
Abby Minard at Above Water
Melissa Cunningham at A Writer’s Reality
Colene Murphy at The Journey
Jennifer Hillier at Jennifer Hillier
Rachna Chhabria at Rachna’s Scriptorium
Jen Daiker at Unedited
Karen Amanda Hooper at Eternal Moonshine of a Daydreaming Mind

And, since I got several requests for this, here's a bonus/subject for laughter?  for everyone - me as Michael Scott for Halloween.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I have the whole week off from my day job!  Haven't taken a full week since December, so I'm really stoked - not going anywhere, just staying home.  Today I did some shopping and bought Paranormalcy.  It was really good, and I finished all 335 pages.  Contented sigh.  I love a day lost in a book.

Yesterday I sent off some more queries... I'm at a total of 25 sent so far.  I've gotten 15 rejections and am awaiting response on the other 10.  According to Janet Reid, the Query Shark, if you don't get any bites with 25 submittals, you're doing something wrong.  This is fairly disconcerting to me, of course.  On the one hand, I respect the hell out of JR, but on the other hand I hear so many stories of people querying far more agents than that.  What do you guys think?  At what number do you concede it's time to regroup and try a new strategy?

Oh, and here's the nibble for the week:

As the man came closer, each footstep was like a clap of thunder. She could hear his breathing now, slow and steady, the opposite of hers. He was practically upon her now. Five feet. Two. One.

With a whoosh of air she felt the man glide past her and saw out of the corner of her eye a flash of moon pale skin not hidden by the dark cloak. She wondered if her face held a look of horror or of determination as she battled for self control. Something flew between them, like two lightning storms converging together in the same sky.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blogosphere etiquette

Happy weekend, writing friends!  It is finally getting cold here in Florida, and being a native of the sunshine state I am already wishing it was Spring so I could wear tank tops again... not that I won't be able to sneak in a few here and there throughout the winter.  I am regularly chastised by my friends from the north that it is actually not cold in Florida and I should quit my complaining, which I'm sure is a valid argument.

So, this week I've been thinking about how much I don't know about blogging.  I got my first blog award from the lovely Rachna of Rachna's Scriptorium and realized I didn't know the deal with awards and etiquette.  Before I get into all that, I'd like to say a big thank you to Rachna for giving me my first award.  Rachna is a fellow writer and always has delightful, knowledgeable and inspiring posts about writing.

Back to my dilemma - I did a great deal of Googling and wasn't having much luck finding rules on giving and receiving awards. I've seen some blog posts where accepting an award involves sharing things about yourself and then passing the award on to others, but then some don't seem to follow that same format. Then ironically enough I found some posts on the subject on Rachna's own blog, which was really helpful!

I still have a few questions though, so I'm asking for everyone's help.  Do you have to receive one in order to pass one on?  How do you know which blog awards you can use and which ones are copyrighted or whatever?  For instance, if you use Google images you can find a ton of awesome awards, but can you just pick one and use it?  And, can I design my own award to give to my writing peeps?

Any input anyone has would be awesome!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween weekend! Mine was good. I discovered that when you are a woman, with a man’s wig on your head, and you’re trimming the wig with electric clippers, you know you’ve gone overboard for Halloween. I was Michael Scott of The Office at my office, for a department costume contest. I was actually sort of digging the tie.

Other news of the weekend – I continue to have internet issues which I am battling with CenturyLink about. Don’t you all love paying for services you don’t get? Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it continues working this time. Hmmmm, what else. I saved a lizard from an untimely feline demise. I realized that my two favorite sodas, Coke and Dr. Pepper, create an amazingly delicious concoction when mixed together.

I got a rejection today. Sigh. I wonder at what point I’m going to have a major writers identity crisis meltdown. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. But, until then, I’m just going to keep enjoying my favorite season. Can’t believe it’s November! I love, love, love the holidays! And I’m definitely thinking about all my new writer friends that are participating in NaNoWriMo. Good luck everyone!

Well fellow writers, that’s all I have for the moment… I’ve got lots of catching up to do on everyone’s blogs since I haven’t had internet for the last five days. Goodnight!