Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Ode to Autumn and Editing

Autumn has always been my favorite season, even though in Florida we don't have much of one. Cooler weather, the earthy smell of leaves and the spicy tang of burning fires. Pumpkins and pumpkin lattes and pumpkin cupcakes and pumpkin pie. Halloween, which is spooky and wicked and childlike and fantastic. Tall boots (and I have an amazing new pair) and leggings and sweaters and scarves. Full moons in cold, sapphire skies (like tonight).

I find myself reminiscing about this time last year, when I set off to my first big writing conference, World Fantasy Con, all by myself, not knowing a soul. I was about halfway through the first draft of Martinis with the Devil, and Everdream had not even crept into my mind yet. And now, a year later, I've finished both and am slowly editing, editing, editing the latter. Trying to get it as flawless as I can. And it seems like autumn is the metaphorical equivalent of editing. That slow, meticulous time of patience and steadfastness. If spring is the time of the bright, shiny idea and summer is the hot, fast-moving first draft, then autumn represents editing for sure. And winter? Maybe winter is when you're finally done and you feel like hibernating :)

What season of writing do you find yourselves in now? Do you love autumn as much as I do (literally or metaphorically)?

I'll leave you with a fun pic of me and my sister at a haunted castle last night being greeted by the doorman. I think I was ruining the mood with my peace sign...

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Moody and Introspective Post About the Future

Moody and introspective? I must be a writer or something...

I'm in kind of a funky place with my writing. Simultaneously, I feel like I have a lot going on, and nothing going on. I was a finalist in GUTGAA, I've submitted Martinis with the Devil to Harper Collins' unagented contest, and I may or may not also be a finalist in another anonymous writing contest at the moment. I'm almost done writing a fantastic middle grade book that is incredibly unique and luscious and beautiful and fun. I alternate between feeling stuck in a rut and being on the perfect path. Not sure if it's because I turned 30 a couple months ago, or just that my overachiever self is feeling a lion's roar of impatience, but I just want something to happen! Now, please!

After writing throughout my teens, I took about eight years off for, you know, LIFE and stuff. In 2009 I wiggled back into the waters of my lifelong passion for writing, and in 2010 I dove down deep and have been immersed ever since. I know I'll be writing my whole life, and that my stories are my humble offering to the world. I know that I have three great stories under my belt that will someday be published. I also know that it's super hard to get an agent, and that getting my work turned down doesn't mean it's not good or marketable, but that the business is incredibly subjective and hard to break into.

So now I am obsessively editing my latest book, the unique, luscious, beautiful, fun one. I will be querying it by the end of the year. And if I get yet another round of rejections, I think it's time I explore getting my foot in the door another way. I absolutely will be published by one of the Big 6 one day. It's my ultimate goal. But I'm fine with taking some intermediate steps to get there. I think I'd look at small and medium presses first, and also trying to get some short stories published in anthologies or reputable sci-fi/fantasy lit magazines. Something to give me credentials and get me on the way to connecting with my readers, sharing my stories.

Anyways, that's where I'm at right now. Feeling the waves of change and transformation pulling at my toes, calling me into new waters. Where will they lead me? Not sure. But something is going to happen.

What about you?

Monday, October 15, 2012

All About Martinis with the Devil

Hi, blog friends! I was tagged by my new blog and Twitter friend Yelena Casale to participate in the 18th week of The Next Big Thing Bloghop. It's fun because you get to talk about one of your WIPs, and I've chosen Martinis with the Devil, my adult urban fantasy. So, here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

Already spilled that one.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Hmmm... should I admit this? Haven't shared this before. So, I had read Twilight recently (no, don't groan, it's not going in the direction you think it is). And suddenly this voice just pops into my head and starts chattering away. Since Twilight is all about a 17-year-old falling in love so desperately she wants to become immortal to stay with this person, the sarcastic voice in my head wanted to know what happens when you're so sure of something, and you become immortal - and then you get dumped and have to spend eternity contemplating your stupidity. So, it was around this loud, sassy, sarcastic voice that the whole story was born. Zyan would simply not leave me alone.

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Actually, you can see my characters on my Pinterest board for Martinis here.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Haven't really polished my one-liner yet, so this is a bit rough: A rogue witch/vampire must choose between the revenge she's sought for over 200 years and working within the law to save the planet from a demon invasion.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Repped by an agency I hope. I'm still working on that :)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Four months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It has some of the snark of the Anita Blake series, but without the (IMO) over-the-top sex and violence that developed later in the series.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Kind of covered this above - I guess you could say it was Twilight in a way. Mostly my main character bugging me relentlessly until I wrote her story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Martinis is a fun, sexy, fast read. It has a great mix up vamps, witches, shifters, weres, faeries, angels, demons and even cyclops. I've had a lot of people that have read an excerpt say they loved it even if they're not usually fans of fantasy or vampire books.

So, that's it for my answers! I have tagged my dear blog friend Rachna Chabbria for next week's post! Please go see her post next week, and don't forget to check out my tagger Yelena, especially if you like urban fantasy.

Hope everyone has a rad week!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Are You a Profiler?

Wasn't there a show a few years ago called The Profiler? Okay, just Googled it and it was more like twelve years ago. Anyways, I'm not talking about profiling criminals, but profiling your characters. Unless of course some of your characters are criminals, in which case I am talking about that...

But anyways, before we get into that, a brief update since my last post. I last shared with you guys that I was a finalist in Deana Barnhart's GUTGAA agent contest, and alas, I did not get any agent requests for my middle grade novel Everdream. There were twelve agents in the contest, and of the twelve only three were middle grade agents, and of the three I knew that one didn't like stories with animals. So, I knew my chances were slim but of course it was still disappointing. I did however get two nice comments from agents, including one from the lovely Molly Jaffa of Folio Lit who said about my book "it does evoke some Tamora Pierce-esque imagery in my mind, and that's great!". So, that was pretty rad, since I adored Tamora Pierce as a teen and got to meet her at WFC.

And that does actually lead back to my main subject of character profiling. Because I just finished my third round of edits on Everdream, a kind of fine-tune/polish edit. All of the major edits have been done, and at this point I just need to shine, shine, shine it up before I start querying, which I'm pretty scared about since it'll be my third time crawling down into the query trenches. So, for my fourth round of edits, I'm going to do some character profiles, and then go through and add in those rich details that really make a story shine. I've never done an in-depth character profile, so I Googled them to find some good ones online. These are the best ones I found so far:

The one on the Children's Publishing blog has a huge list of mannerisms and common phrases to choose from. Fun stuff. So, that's what's happening with me. I'm going to do profiles on my three main characters, and start edit round four. 

Speaking of rounds, have you checked out Write Club? It's up to Round 28 now, with another few weeks to go before the finals. It's fun to see the two entries that go head to head in each round, so head on over, check it out, and put in your vote. Check it out here.

Anybody got any character profile links to share? Have you checked out Write Club yet?