Friday, December 31, 2010

End of Year Wrap Up

New Year's Eve is upon us again. I know most of us will say this, and I have said it many times myself, but I really can't believe how fast this year flew by. I can clearly remember last New Year ticking over and telling myself that this year would be the year. I would get published and move onto the next phase of my career. It might not have happened exactly how I'd planned - I always thought I'd end up with an agent and had never considered e-book publishing as an option simply because I didn't know enough about it. But as is the way of life, I learnt a lot this past twelve months and I can say with all certainty that, at least career-wise, I am no longer the same person. I accomplished many things this year that I'd always wanted to do and getting published was only one of them.
So here we are on the verge of another New Year. Once again, I am facing the change in year with determination and a number of goals. I plan for 2011 to be the year I get an agent. I've had another crit partner/friend/RWAus member read Atrophy (possibly to be re-titled. I haven't made up my mind yet. More than one person has told me it might be too intellectual for a romance novel title) and she, like others who've read it, was very excited about it. I feel like Atrophy does have something that my other manuscripts don't, some special spark that has really raised the bar for me personally. So, I have to believe there is an agent out there somewhere who will read it and see what I, and other's who've read it, feel when discovering this story.
Aside from getting an agent and publishing contract for Atrophy, I have a set plan of at least five books I want to write for Noble, some which will fit into the Sanctuary series, and some that are stand-alone romantic suspense. I have a 'project planner' whiteboard up on the wall above my computer and its all set to see me through the first few months of the new year.
And what better way to kick off the new year than with a book release? Dead Reality will be coming out on the 10th of January and hopefully I'll get a release date for Severance in the next couple of weeks.
In sales news, I checked on Amazon this morning to see Sanctuary is about 31,000 on their best-sellers list. This might seem like a ridiculous number, but since last week it was up around the 106,000 mark, I'm happy that I'm going up the list, not down. And I suppose that's what it comes down to now. Releasing a book and seeing how high up the best-sellers list it goes before its popularity wanes or my next book comes out. I'm not interested because I want to be a number one best-selling author over night (although, I would like to be a best-selling author at some point in the future) but because it means people are actually buying my book. And I wonder what they might be thinking about it. Did they love it and are excited about Severance coming out? Did they only think it was so-so. Or did they think angels and demons in spaceships was the most stupid idea they'd ever read?
I haven't gotten any 'fan mail' yet, so I guess I'll just have to use my imagination for now.
And speaking of now, I should be off writing Nick and Madi's book.
Oh, but one last thing, I've got an interview up on the Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem blog today. Go check it out!
I hope 2011 brings you all great things. Happy and safe New Year to you all, and I'll catch you on the flip side.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Self Review

Now that my book is up on places like Amazon and Goodreads, people have been telling me I need to go put up some reviews to start the ball rolling. And I keep thinking "yeah, I'll go do that." But then I find something else to do.
I can't bring myself to do it, because I have no idea what to say about it. I'm suspect about my reviewing abilities when I'm reviewing other people's books, so I have no idea how I'm supposed to do my own. It'd be easy to say "I love this book, its great! You should too." But obviously not everyone's going to love it and I probably need to be more diplomatic than that.
I've been thinking about asking my crit partners/friends to go do some for me instead, seems to be the easier option and is less likely to give me a headache.
Since its Christmas eve, I'm not rushing to do anything now. I want to get a couple of thousand words written today. So I'll consider my position on self-reviews in another couple of days.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Round Up Before Christmas

I'm very excited to say my book is now available places like allromance.com and on kindle. Its the weirdest feeling to see my little ol' book up there next to the likes of Cheryl Brooks (I checked out allromance.com and apparently customers who bought my book also bought some of her Catstar Chronicles. I was stoked about that, love that series).
In writing news, I'm just about to start chapter three of a new rom sus I've started working on. It's untitled at the moment, so I should probably do something about that before I finish it!
I find myself in new territory, because these characters have 'history'. They haven't seen each other for years and the last time they did, the hero had been involved in a life-changing accident. When they meet up again, they are both different people, but have a shared past. So its been an interesting challenge trying to balance a good mix of past and present without going over board on info-dumping. I think initially I did put too much past info in there, so I've had to go back and chop some out. But hopefully once its written and edited, I'll get the mix right and end up with a good story.
Instead of hanging around here talking about it, I should get writing. I left my hero, Nick, standing around in a towel and nothing else!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sci-Fi Romance and the Erotic Appeal

I've joined Love Romance Cafe, a yahoo group for romance readers and authors. Today they're having a free-for-all where you can post excerpts from your books. I've been keeping an eye on the genres coming through, unfortunately I don't have time to read them all. But, one thing I have noticed is that there are quite a few erotic sci-fi romances being posted.
So, it makes me wonder, what is it about sci-fi that also attracts an erotic element? I'm not an erotic author, I never will be and won't even try. I have enough trouble writing the one or two love scenes I might include in my books, without trying to do an entire book's worth.
In the last few years, erotic authors tend to lead the trends, particularly when it comes to e-books. So, does the surge of erotic sci-fi romances mean that the popularity of more mainstream sci-fi romances will follow?
Being a sci-fi romance author, I obviously hope so. But, my hope also comes from being a reader. My favorite sci-fi romance author is Linnea Sinclair. Her books are quite brilliant, there's no other way to put it, and I've loved every single one I've read.
Plus, I devoured Sherrilyn Kenyon's sci-fi series and wished there were more!
There is something totally unique about a good sci-fi romance. Like paranormal, the 'verses can be varied and filled with just about anything an author can imagine. The possibilities are endless, the restrictions minimal. I think that's what I love so much about the genre.
Now, if only I could find an agent to take Atrophy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Very Noble Christmas

My publisher, Noble Romance Publishing, will be having an online Christmas party this Saturday 18th December from 12pm to 9pm (American EST time.). I'll be chatting for an hour from 6pm onwards, which will make it 10am Sunday morning here in Australia. You'll need to join the Noble Romance Publishing group on yahoo to participate, but I think it'll be well worth it - there's going to be prizes and all sorts of fun things.
And now I have editing to do... *groan*.
By the way, I've now got excepts from my books up on my website, so go check that out too!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Right Moves To Make

There's a lot of stuff out there on the net talking about what an author can do in terms of promo as well as reader's opinions of what does and doesn't work. I never paid too much attention before. I figured there was plenty of time to learn about that stuff once I'd gotten published. Well, it seems that day has come and now I need to start making the right moves in terms of promo, as well as working on my books.
The problem is, just like there's no set path to publication, there's no set type of promo that's going to work for every author. And I am quite aware that I'm a tiny speck of algae in a huge sea of fish, sharks and whales.
I read on a blog in the past couple of days (can't remember where it was now) which had been pointed out by both the RWAus loop and the Noble authors loop, because it talked about the kinds of promo an author can do. But the REAL gold in this piece came from the comments left by readers, who are readers, or my intended audience. And many of them seem to be of the same opinion when it came to what they liked. This is what I gleaned, and what I'm going to go with for the time being.
1) Most couldn't give a crap about book trailers. Thank god. Because while I know they're all the rage at the moment, I don't have the tech-savvy skills or time to make a passable effort on one.
2) They don't like flashy websites or gimmicks - they just want somewhere they can go which is simple to navigate, lists all the author's previous titles, including series order and if possible, in an easily printable list. They also like to see good long excepts from the author's books, not just the blurb.
3) They like free stuff! Well, who doesn't like free stuff? This could be in the form of an entire free e-book or free short stories connected to an existing series. And if they can get their hands on some free promo stuff like bookmarks, pens, mugs, etc, etc, then they'll take whatever they can get.
4) They want to know what the author is up to, what the author is working on and if possible, an excerpt from the author's WIP.
5) They want to connect with the author through things like twitter and know the author is an everyday sort of person like them. Now, I can understand this point, but I have some reservations. I'm happy to connect to readers through a shared interests like TV shows, other books and music, but I'm not going to go talking about my family and personal life, as some people suggested. I know on this blog I often only talk about publishing related matters and not much else, but it comes from a simple fact of wanting to keep my personal life personal, separate from my published-author life. Some people might say that will be next to impossible, but I'm going to try and maintain those boundaries.
So here's what I'm thinking. I've already put excerpts from Sanctuary and Dead Reality on my website. I plan on adding an excerpt from Severance as soon as I've done some more editing on it. I'll probably also post an excerpt from my next wip, a rom sus, once I get going on that too. I was also considering putting up a note to say I'll send out bookmarks to the first 50 people who send me their address, and have that as a regular thing, some months having books, or pens or other fun stuff that I'll randomly give away.
One issue with all of this is that its time consuming and I don't want promo to take over my life and impact on my writing time and quality. Plus, obviously giving stuff away costs me money, so I also have to balance cost with benefit.
I can honestly say these are the somewhat complicated facets of being published I never considered. In fact, I never considered much beyond the moment I would get my 'yes'.
But, as with all things, I'll just look at this as one more sharp learning curve in my journey... kind of like one you'd find on a roller coaster.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Naughty Novelists

Just a quick post to say I'm over at the Naughty Novelists blog this week, giving away an e-book copy of Sanctuary. At the moment, only one person has left a comment (coz apparently I'm a no-friends Nelly... thanks for being my ONLY friend, Tam.) so the competition isn't very tight. I'm not even making you answer a question, you just have to leave a comment!
In other news, I'm so close to finishing Severance its ridiculous! I'm looking forward to getting it submitted and starting on a new idea I have for a romantic suspense.
And now I'm off to finish Alastor and Nakita's story.
Seriously, go leave a comment... Naughty Novelists. Go!

Friday, December 3, 2010

No Luck

Well, the results for round 2 of the Knight Agency comp were posted over night (my time) last night and I'm sorry to say I didn't make it any further. It is a bit disappointing, as I said, I had hoped to at least get through a couple of rounds.
I know that my opening pages are not my strong point, which makes it harder on me because obviously the opening pages are the ones that first have to attract the interest of an agent/editor, and then later on, the readers. I'm not really sure what I can do about my sucky opening pages. I guess I'll wait to hear back from the rest of the agents I've got queries out with and then re-evaluate in the new year as to whether I need to consider doing some re-writing before I query my next round of agents. For now, I've got more than enough to keep me busy with Noble.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chocolaty Cover Goodness

Yes, I have discovered that seeing your cover for the first time is a lot like eating chocolate after deciding your diet's not working and gorging yourself on the creamy smoothness for the first time in weeks... or months, depending on how determined you were!

Right, enough with the blabbing... and take a look at the cover for my second book, Dead Reality. Once again, the artist, CH Scarlett, has outdone herself. If these covers don't help boost up sales, I don't know what would! This lady has some serious talent. Somehow, though I'm sure the descriptions I send to her are vague, she manages to come up with exactly what I want, only better and with more oomph! So, if she does all my covers for me for the rest of forever, I think I'd be one happy author.

And with the end of Severance in sight, hopefully it'll only be another few weeks before I'll be showing off the cover for that as well. You know, I really like being with Noble, where things happen so quickly. Its like immediate gratification. I know that if I was with one of the mainstream publishers, these sorts of things could take up to a year.

I've had an idea for another stand-alone romantic suspense and I'm feeling like I might like to write that before I get into the third Sanctuary book. Anyway, whichever one I write, I'd like to step up my game and see if I can get it down in 6 weeks, that way by the time Severance comes out, I should have yet another book ready to go. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm planning on spending the next 12 to 18 months working my butt off to get myself solidly established.

Anyhoo, let's go enjoy some cover drooling...


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Contest News!

Last night I sat up until midnight for a chance to get myself into the Speed Dating With Deidre competition being held over at The Knight Agency blog. The contest opened at 8am US EST time and my comment went up at 8:01. And I only just made it! I got in at 121 (the winners had to be the first 125 people to leave a comment). So I sent the first three pages of Atrophy with the assumption that, yes, I had made it, and went to bed. This morning I got up and checked their blog to find a post confirming that I was listed in the top 125... WOO!
So I should find out on Friday as to whether I've made it into the second round. Ms Knight will be whittling down the entrants to a top 25 and those people will then have to send the first 10 pages of their manuscript. The following round after that, entrants will have to send the first three chapters and the final round is a full manuscript submission.
In other news, I've got a release date for Dead Reality, it'll be coming out on the 10th of January 2011 and this morning I saw some very fabulous cover art, so hopefully I'll get the final proofs and be able to share that sometime soon.
For now, I have just over 8000 words of Severance left to write, better get to it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Contract News

I'm very pleased to announce that I've just signed a contract to have Noble Romance Publishing publish a romantic suspense of mine, Dead Reality. DR is about two FBI agents who go undercover on a bachelor-type reality TV show to catch a serial killer. I had fun writing this manuscript, because while there are dark themes to it, and some dark moments, the hero, Bryce, was such a smart-alec. Some of the stuff he came out with when sparring with the heroine, Ella, was entertaining to say the least, so he's kind of had a special place in my heart ever since. Plus, in the end he mans up and does what he has to do. I just hope readers enjoy it as much.
Anyway, I have about 12,500 words left to write of Severance, so I'd better get to that!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chugging Along

There's not really any other way to describe it! I am chugging along at the moment, trying to find that magic balance between home life and writing, trying to get Severance finished and contemplating what I'm going to write next.
I've heard back from a few more agents, but have held off sending anymore queries yet - partly because I'm more interested in getting Alastor's story finished at the moment. A couple of rejections have been run of the mill form letters, but one rejection in particular left me happy and more determined than ever to get an agent. This agent said while she really liked the story, she has a full client list at the moment and doesn't have a place for a newbie author. She didn't feel she'd be the right agent for me because she knew she didn't have the time to devote to the project I deserve. Obviously I would require more work than a veteran author simply swapping agents, because I don't have the experience yet. But I had to be happy from that because it seemed to suggest that if she had a place open in her client list for a newbie author, she would have seriously considered taking me on.
So as each near-miss rejection rolls in, I become more determined that I will get an agent. But, as each agent gets back to me with a rejections, I start thinking more and more about starting that Phoenix/Griffin paranormal romance idea I have. But, the urge is not so strong, its just a vague inkling. So, for the time being I'll ignore it and keep up with querying, I still have a few agents left on my list. Maybe in the new year I'll get to that paranormal romance.
For now, I have more than enough work to keep me occupied!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Party Time!

That's right, it's time to start partying. At 4 o'clock (my local Australian time) the e-book version of Sanctuary will be available to purchase.
As part of the celebrations, I'm guest of honor at a blog party Tamara Gill is having to commemorate the upcoming release of her first published Naughty Nibble, also with Noble Romance Publishing.
So hop over for a visit, answer an easy question for your chance to win an e-book copy of Sanctuary.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

And the Promo Whirlwind Begins.

I haven't done much writing in the last couple of days because I've been busy filling in interview sheets, organizing promo spots for myself, and pretty much sending my cover all over the place. And of course I'm still floating over it. I think I will be for a long time!
In other news, I got a really positive rejection from an agent a few days back. She'd read some of my ms and said although Atrophy wasn't right for her, if I don't find anyone willing to take it, she wanted to see other work from me. So, that's another open door for me I suppose. Of course, I really want to sell Atrophy to someone, but I have to admit, I have a contingency plan in my phoenix/griffin series if I can't find an agent for my sci-fi romance.
The idea is a paranormal romance and I think I've managed to come up with an idea that is quite a bit different from any other paranormal romances going around at the minute. Of course, I'd love to throw myself headlong into it and write the story, but I honestly don't have time right now. Other projects obviously need to take priority.
I'm still hoping to get Severance finished in the next couple of weeks, though as the days go by and I don't have time to write, the date of completion keeps getting pushed back. And I can only hope that people really like Sanctuary and want to go on to read Alastor and Nakita's story.
So much to do, but I love being busy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Excitement!




So, I got my book cover for Sanctuary and it's gorgeous. Really! I can't believe how totally over the moon I am about it. I'm very proud and excited about being able to start flashing it all over the place from today. I can't thank the artist, CH Scarlett, enough. It's a bit scary, really. Although we were half a world away from each other, had never met or talked besides the short, vague paragraph I wrote on what I wanted on my cover, it was like we were on the same wavelength. Like somehow she saw what I saw. I only had an unclear, blurry image of what I wanted, but I knew as soon as I saw this cover, it was even better than what I'd considered.


Check out her other covers on facebook she's a very talented lady!


Seeing this has made it all very real, and makes me want to work my butt off to get Severance finished (I've got about 25,000 words left to do) so I can get it subbed and see some more beautiful cover art of my characters. And in mentioning that, I know I love this cover more than anyone else ever will, because it is mine and it is the image of my hero come to life. The likeness to what I had in my head when I was writing this book is uncanny. Like I said, scary that this is what came back to me. I think Ms Scarlett must secretly be psychic!


Right, well I have a website to update and a few places to send a copy for promo purposes. Better get to it.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Industry Stuff

I read an article this morning, thanks to link posted by a fellow RWA member, about the fact that from early next year, the New York Times will have a separate bestsellers list for e-books. The NYT bestsellers list has long been the pinnacle achievement for authors. If you're a NYT bestseller, then you've really made it. The new bestsellers list is good news for people whose books are only available by e-book format. Of course, I imagine most of the time, the e-book bestsellers list will mirror the print bestsellers list, as now most big name authors who publish with the bigger publishing houses have their books available as e-versions as well. But, I can see that occasionally, a little-known author from a smaller e-pubbing house, or even self-published via kindle, will have a cult hit that'll climb to the number one spot, knocking those big-names clear. I would have to assume this would open up all sorts of doors for that author. So, in some ways, this development could change the outlay of the industry as we know it now, by subtle degrees.
I'll be keeping an eye on this, to see how it all pans out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No News Is Good News?

I haven't heard anything from the other agents I've quried in the last 5 weeks or so, a rejection or otherwise. Some of them state it could take up to 10 weeks to hear back on a query to them, so I'm not holding my breath.
In the meantime, I'm attempting to write the second book to my Sanctuary series for Noble, titled Severance at the moment. Though the story is all there in my mind, just waiting to be written down, every time I sit down in front of my computer, I seem to find something else to do. Check my email. Stalk people on Facebook. Update my web page. Read a few blogs. Write my own blog post. Research nebula clouds. Check the seven day forecast (looks like rain on the weekend). Look up the world clock to see what time it is in Budapest. Even stare mindlessly at my desktop wallpaper (its Serenity, the Joss Whedon movie). Luckily I haven't started playing solitaire yet. Then I'd really know I was in trouble.
But now I really think I've run out of things to use as a procrastination tool. So I should at least go try to get my daily minimum of 1000 words done. Maybe I should pull the Internet plug while I'm at it, or the urge to look up this week's promos for my favorite TV shows might overwhelm me...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rolling in Rejections

That's right, I might as well be rolling in rejections! This week didn't pan out so well for me in query-land. I didn't get any requests for more material and received at least one form rejection almost everyday this week. But it seems the constant deluge of rejections have thickened my skin. Or maybe its the knowledge that my first book will be coming out in a couple of weeks. Either way, my reaction at getting a rejection this time around has been like water off a duck's back. In the past, though I always strove to remain detached and told myself the rejection didn't matter, I still had a moment of deep disappointment. And honestly, sometimes it would put me in a mood for a couple of days.
But this time around, trying to get an agent doesn't feel like the be-all and end-all of my whole life, it just seems like the next step in my career. So the rejections haven't worried me, I've just sent off a couple more query letters. And I suppose it doesn't hurt that I still haven't heard back from many of the agents in my top-ten. Maybe if I get rejected by all of them, I won't be feeling so Zen about things.
In the meantime, I've got to get on with writing Alastor's story, currently titled Severance. I'm almost halfway through and would like to have it just about finished in a couple of weeks when Sanctuary comes out, so I can send it to Noble and see about getting the sequel out quickly. But in order to do that, obviously I need to get some words down on the page, not on my blog!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Where Does It Fit?

I've had a busy week this week, so obviously haven't had time to do any posting. I've been hitting the queries hard in the last couple of weeks for my sci-fi romance, Atrophy. I sent out about ten query letters, but then when I heard back from just over half, I sent out another half a dozen, then repeated the process when that number got down to half again.
I've gotten about as many requests for more material as rejections, so I think my batting average is looking pretty good. Most of the agents who asked to see more took the time to explain why they had then decided to reject me. A couple gave me that old 'I just didn't love it' spiel, but did say nice things about how great the premise is and that my characters are very strong, etc. Earlier in the week, though, one agent told me it wasn't sci-fi enough. That was alright. I never claimed to be a hardcore sci-fi writer. I don't think I'm smart enough for that and I think at heart I'll always be a romance author. But then yesterday, I got another rejection from a different agent who'd requested to read more and she said that it was a bit too heavy on the science-side.
Okay. Now I'm confused. Well, maybe not that confused. I guess it really does come down to an agent's personal taste. Does the results of my querying so far mean I need an agent who likes a happy medium of science and romance? But how the heck do I find that agent? The simple answer is to keep querying. I suppose if I run out of agents, I could always try going direct to the publishing houses as a last resort.
More and more, I look at books on the shelves at bookstores, particularly debut authors, and am amazed that they managed to find an agent and then a publishing contract, because most days, it really is like trying to push a boulder up a hill all on your own.
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know by now that I'm stubborn to the point of stupid, so despite the seemingly impossible task, I'm just going to keep pushing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

News!

Just popping in to say that I got a release date for my first book, Sanctuary. It will be available from the 22nd of November. I can't wait to see what the cover is going to look like. I do get to have some input, but I guess what I have in mind will never be the same as what someone else sees. I'll be posting that as soon as I get it as well.
I've got grand plans to get a whole heap of work done today, so I'd better get to it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where Have I Been Version 4.0

Its been about a week and a half since I put up a post, the reason being that my computer has been having 'issues' so I had to send it in to get fixed. The computer place had it for almost a week and they still don't know what's wrong with it. I got it back for the weekend (because, seriously? After 4 days of doing absolutely no writing and not being able to check my emails, I was climbing the walls. Really. I'm not ashamed to say I have an addiction.) but its going back again Monday. I wouldn't be surprised if they have it for yet another week. So who knows what condition I'll be in by next weekend?
I've gotten a couple of rejections this week, so I should probably put together a couple more queries to send out, but more than anything, I just want to write. For hours. Without interruption. Thousands and thousands of words. And that about sums up my plans for the weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Not Worth the Risk, But...

Now, I'm sure we all remember a few weeks back when I did just about the stupidest thing I'd done since I started on this whole writing gig - I re-queried an agent five minutes after I got rejected by her. Not with a different project and not by accident. It was a (somewhat) well thought out decision. And okay, it wasn't five minutes after. It was a good couple of hours, but it was still the same day.
I've been kicking myself since then. Wondering why I thought it was such a smart idea, what brain-snap could have possibly led me to believe doing something I know I shouldn't do was a good move to make. Imaging that if I ever happened to want to query that agent again, it'd be an immediate 'no' because I'd been put on the "authors who can't take no for an answer" list. Truthfully, even though I'd been regretting it, I knew all along that if I had a do-over, I'd have still done the same thing. Why? Because I'm a writer. And there is a huge part of me that won't take "no" for an answer.
But this morning, there was an exciting revelation waiting for me in my email inbox. An email from that agent. I was quite astonished, I'd assumed I'd just never hear from her again, so was surprised that she would take the time to re-reject me. But when I opened the email, it was a request to see the first three chapters.
My happy dance has been tempered by the reckless risk I took in immediately re-querying her. It was more of an eating-humble-pie dance than anything. So while I still don't condone breaking the rules of querying and agent etiquette, I have to admit, this time around it worked for me.
Now if she happens to fall in love with it and decide to take it on, this story really will be one for the press. In the past, I'd always hated reading about authors who found success by breaking the rules, when I'd been doing such a stringent job of following them exactly (I was jealous, admittedly. I used to think, "don't you think I want to break the rules? Wouldn't I love to get one step ahead of the pack? But I don't! I do exactly what they tell me to do!"). But look at me now, I've become what I used to loathe.
Maybe the point of this story is not about heedlessly going off half-cocked and conceitedly breaking agent's querying rules left, right and centre, but knowing when the risk of doing so might be worth it. But also having the foresight to know it could all end in a horrible mess.
And now we've strayed into philosophical territory, never a safe place for me!
I'm off to submit my first three chapters to a lovely agent. With fingers crossed. Which makes typing damn near impossible.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is it Really That Hard?

I think its time I sat down and made a precise plan for myself to focus my ever-shifting attention. I'd been working on Alastor, then I stared a whole new project, and then yesterday I decided to review one of my romantic suspense manuscript because I'd like to eventually offer it to Noble once (the newly named) Sanctuary is released.
See how I'm bouncing all over the place?
The review of my rom sus is going to take a bit longer than I anticipated. Its set here in Australia and the hero is an SAS soldier (special forces, kinda like American Army Rangers, I suppose). To cut a very long story short (or maybe not so short) I entered an American writing comp earlier in the year, with a different rom sus that also had an Aussie digger (soldier) as the hero. One of the judges commented (and this still cracks me up) that my "hero didn't sound Australian" and that "the author needs to meet and spend time with some Australian people to learn their very distinct accent and mannerism so it can be translated into the writing." (not a direct quote, but it was along those lines.) Well, gee. Where the hell can I find some Australian people to hang around with? It's going to be freaking hard, since I LIVE IN AUSTRALIA.
Anyway, in the judges defense, I guess I'm so used to writing for an American audience that I did forget to make that character 'sound' Australian.
Though, in all honesty, its not like us Aussie all sound like Crocodile Dundee (G'day, chuck a few more prawns on the barbie, mate). I think we're becoming more Americanized by the year and the language divide (especially with gen Y. I swear some of them could pass as Americans) is getting less and less obvious. In my opinion anyway.
Nonetheless, when I started reviewing the rom sus, I decided I needed to sprinkle some more Aussie slang through it, though there was already a bit in there. Some of the problem being that after using some terms, I then had to find a way to explain what the heck my hero was talking about, because I don't think many people outside Australia would know what an ambo or firie is (ambulance officer and firefighter) or what we're doing if we say we're barracking or had a bingle (barrack is to cheer on a football team, and bingle is a car accident.)
Furthermore, I was surprised at how hard I found it to get out of my formal writer's head and remember what Aussie slang terms needed to be swapped in, so much so that I had to google an Aussie slang dictionary. I know, the Australian author needs to refer to a slang dictionary. The mind boggles.
So its slow going at the moment while I make sure my hero sounds like the right amount of Aussie feral bogan (don't ask) while at the same time, making sure my readers know what the heck he's talking about.
But you know I don't like to make things too easy on myself.
Meanwhile, I need to go get that 'projects plan' done on my office whiteboard so I have a clear direction in mind.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Open Season

I got a reply at last from The Agent, but obviously it wasn't the one I was hoping for, otherwise this post would have started out a different way. So I sent off a couple of queries to a few other agents today and will continue to send out a couple at a time until I start getting some action. I haven't managed to get anymore words down for my new manuscript yet, between the queries and the fact that its competition season with RWAus and I judge some of their comps, I'm a bit too busy.
Hopefully I'll get the ball rolling on my phoenix/griffin manuscript soon though. Like I said, its a good way to keep my mind off other things!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oh No, She Didn't

Yes actually, I did.
And no, this time it has nothing to do with brain-snaps that cause me to email agents when I shouldn't.
Fellow writers can probably understand exactly what I'm about to talk about. Have you ever been 'attacked' by an idea. I mean, literally assailed by it until you can't think of anything else and your brain just keeps spinning around and around and it won't let you think of anything else and it certainly won't let you sleep until you DO SOMETHING with it, godammit!!
That's what happened to me yesterday and as you can see down the side of my blog here, I've added another word meter. I know I should be getting on with writing Alastor, but when this idea and characters and setting struck me out of nowhere yesterday afternoon, the itch to write it couldn't be ignored, much like what happened with Atrophy. And I wrote that in just on seven weeks. So, in another 7 weeks, might I have another completed manuscript to shop around? This is a good way to keep my mind from being consumed by the queries I've already sent out for Atrophy and the ones I'm likely to send out in the future.
Now for the damn genre tags again. I think this one's going to be a paranormal romance, but it could conceivably be an urban fantasy.
After some google research and a fantastic article by Keri Arthur, I've come to the conclusion this book will fall under the paranormal romance banner. So with my characters calling for attention, I should go do something about getting a few more words on the page.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

When Its Not Clear

After considering the comment left by Tez on my last post, which was that I shouldn't wait before querying other agents, I thought "she's right!" and sent out a couple more queries, which, I'll tell you were more carefully considered.
I had wanted to wait for The Agent to reply before I went on to other agents because for one, whenever I'd dealt with her in the past, she was always very prompt in her replies to me. And two, because in the last couple of rejection letters I got from her, she said some very nice, encouraging things and urged to me continue to query her in the future.
But as the weeks go by (coming up on three now) and I haven't heard from her, I guess the shine is starting to wear off my hope. I'm also debating whether or not to email her and let her know I got a referral from a fellow published RWA member to put in a query to her agent and have sent the first three chapters. But a partial is only a partial and nothing to get too excited over.
Meanwhile, back to the original point of this post. In writing these queries and considering the individual tastes/needs of any given agent, I seem to have run into a problem. Just what, exactly, is my manuscript considered? At first I assumed it was a straight sci-fi romance, but then, in the romance genre, these types of books are sometimes referred to as 'futuristic' romance. And then there's the story line itself. Part of the main plot revolves around a race of shape-shifters and one of the characters has almost supernatural abilities (she is telepathic and has telekinetic abilities, as well as some command over the elements). So is my manuscript in fact a cross genre of paranormal sci-fi romance? Or do I call it a paranormal futuristic romance? See where my confusion is? You'd think having written the thing, I'd damn well know what it was!
I'm inclined to lean away from the 'straight sci-fi' tag, as I've read some agent posts which flat out say sci-fi is not hot right now. And paranormal if always a big seller, so I guess I'm leaning towards paranormal futuristic. Either way, I should probably work it out before I send too many more queries!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Whole Lotta Nothing

Unsurprisingly, I haven't heard anything from that agent I stupidly sent a re-query to. Fortunately, I still have other options as there are many, many other agents out there I can write to. Plus a friend of mine who already has an agent (and is building a rather successful career) gave me a referral to query her agent, so that'll be the next on my list. Still waiting to hear back from The Agent. Its been 2 weeks, so I'm at the halfway point of her stated time it usually takes to get back to people and 4 weeks away from being able to re-query if I haven't heard anything. The days really seem to be dragging on this one, I suppose because I have so much hope pinned to it.
Meanwhile, I'm plowing my way through the latest JR Ward books I hadn't read yet (Lover Avenged and Lover Mine) and am thinking of doing a total re-read from the start of the series when I'm done. That'll keep me busy. I'm also getting bits of Alastor written here and there, but obviously I'm not wearing out the keyboard in an effort to get it done like I did with Atrophy.
Spring has just started thawing winter out here and its a beautiful sunny day. So I might take my book and go get some rays in the backyard today. Can't wait until it turns into the full burn of summer, my favorite season.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Can't Take My Own Advice

Apparently I'm not as smart as I think I am. I broke one of the golden rules of querying.
That's right, I went and did exactly what I said I wasn't going to do in my last blog post. I spent the morning thinking about the rejection and then went to re-read the blog post that agent had put up about receiving generic queries. And I thought "you know what? My summary is so totally bland. What does it really say about my book? Its all too ambiguous."
So I drafted up a reply to the agent along the lines of "thanks for getting back to me so quickly" and then told the truth (for all that might do for me). I said I'd read her blog again and put my thoughts about my generic summary in there and told her she had no obligation to read any further or even reply, but I'd re-written the summary from an entirely different angle.
The worst she can do is not reply (and then put me in her "crazy, annoying, can't-take-no-for-an-answer writers" file and immediately reject me if I ever query her again) and at least this way I was able to sleep last night. I took a massive gamble. The odds of it paying off are so minuscule as to be non-existent, but I had to do it.
And I've still been worrying about the reply I'm going to get from The Agent over my boring, generic query. I'm still having thoughts of sending another query saying "please ignore that last one and read this instead." But it seems even stupider to do that than it was to send a follow-up email to this recent agent.
I suppose I could pull the same stunt with The Agent if she rejects my query. At this rate, I'll be earning myself a reputation all over Agent Town in no time.
All I can do is keep waiting and try not to think too closely about my idiocy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quick to Forget

The agent I queried yesterday got straight back to me, but no luck, unfortunately. And how quick I am to forget that moment of excitement and anticipation as you see the reply email waiting in your inbox, quickly followed by disappointment as you read the politely worded, generic rejection.
Like all authors, I'm left with the questions of why? On her blog, this agent said they see too many sci-fi queries that sound generic, so was that my problem? Does the plot in the query letter sound too run-of-the-mill? Or was it some other factor that stopped them from wanting to see more.
I'm worried now about hearing from The Agent. I had a bit of trouble writing the brief summary of my book for the query letter when I never had before. In the end, I paired it right back, but now I'm worried that I may have left out too much information that may have separated this book from the hundreds of other sci-fi queries this other agent receives.
Now I'm considering re-writing the summary, yet I've already blown my chance with this other agency. I can't just re-word the query and send it back again, can I (though I'm sure I other people have!)?
There's nothing I can do about it right now. I might have a go at re-writing the summary, but I don't think I'll go querying any other agents until I hear back from The Agent. I can only hope if the summary isn't reading very well, she might decided to take a look at it anyway based on the basic familiarity we've developed over the past years.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Unexpected

Just a quick post - I sent off an unplanned query to an agent this afternoon. As I was doing my round of reading the industry blogs I follow of agents, publishers, and other writers, I found one of the agents had put up a post to say they're actively looking to expand their list of science-fiction and fantasy authors. This agency comes into my top 5, so I whipped up a query letter and emailed it off. It was obviously an opportunity too good to pass up, so we'll see if anything comes of it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nothing Much

That's right, I don't have much to report, but thought I'd put up a quick post anyway. Alastor is coming along, a bit slower than Atrophy did (95,000 words in 7 weeks. Am I crazy? Yes, just a little.), but I'm giving myself a bit of a break on this one. The actual demon, Alastor, is proving to be a complex character and I suppose on some level I need to make sure he's coming across the right way.
I haven't heard from my friend travelling in South Africa again, though I imagine she's too busy having fun to worry about something so mundane as the Internet and emailing little old me sitting at home in front of my computer.
I also haven't heard from The Agent. Its been a week today (not that I'm counting!) though I know she's busy with lost of queries in her inbox, according to her blog, so it could be another couple of weeks before I hear anything. If I think the wait is hard now, I don't know what I'll be like if she requests to see the first three chapters, because her response on that could take a couple of months, not a couple of weeks.
I've also been debating whether or not to send a follow-up letter to the submission I sent to Silhouette back in January, but by all accounts, all the HM&B offices have a huge backlog, so I'm not holding my breath on it. In fact, I had been considering offering that manuscript to Noble once A'albiel gets released.
Decisions, decisions!
As busy as I get sometimes, I'd much rather have a full plate than an empty one.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Beginning

I made a good start on Alastor yesterday, wrote 2000 words. Not-so-surprisingly the scene went a way I wasn't quite expecting, but I'm very happy with it because I can see the following scenes unfolding well from this point. If I'm in the right frame of mind, Thursday is usually the one day of the week I can get the most work done. So, we'll see if I can kick things along a bit to get chapter 1 finished and make inroads on chapter 2.
Meanwhile, while I sit in my house, in front of my computer, doing the same thing I do everyday, one of my oldest friends is in South Africa at the moment. I got an email from her this morning about some volunteer work she's been doing with children. I've asked her if I could put it up here on my blog, because I think its a great thing she's doing and I know its something I don't know if I could do myself. Sure, I could volunteer to work with kids, that's the easy part. But in a country like South Africa, in a squatters camp? That takes some character.
So, possibly tomorrow I will have that to share with you and more as her trip continues on in the coming weeks (but I'm not living gratuitously through her at all.)
I've got some industry blogs to cruise, then its into my writing!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Book to Start

Two posts in two days? I must be procrastinating!
I finished Atrophy, edited the first three chapters and sent a query off to The Agent. I'm quite happy with it and can only hope good things come from this manuscript.
In the meantime, I'll be starting work on Alastor, the second book in my angels/demons series bound for Noble Romance Publishing.
I've done some research this morning and have come up with an arcing story for the entire series, a more in depth one than that which gets touched on in the first novella. Still, it is only a ghost of an idea. Ultimately I'm a 'pantser' when it comes to writing. I don't have a plan and generally make things up as I go along. Its a dangerous way to live, but its the way I do things. So when I get the chance later today, I'll be cutting the couple of thousand words I wrote and writing a new opening scene, one which ties in better with the overall story.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Slow Burn

I thought I would have finished Atrophy by now, but since last Wednesday a whole bunch of stuff cropped up in my home/personal life that prevented me from quite getting it done. I'm up to 94,000 words, so close! I'm in the middle of writing the closing scenes now, so the end total will probably push up over the 95,000 word mark a little.
Then I'll have chapters to edit before I write to The Agent. But there's no rest to be had. As soon as that's all done I'll need to get on with writing Alastor for Noble, the second in my futuristic angels/demons series.
Oh, and I came up with the opening line to the second book in my Atrophy series the other night. I'm thinking about calling it Quantum. Though I set up a shiny new file and opened a new page, putting that one opening sentence in, it's going to be a while before I get to write that book, there's a few others that I need to concentrate on in the meantime.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Taking A Break

I've only got 12,000 words left to write on the sci-fi/futuristic romance manuscript I'm calling Atrophy, a few days work at the most. But I haven't done any writing in the last couple of days and probably won't today either.
On Friday I went to Melbourne to meet up with Tracey O'Hara who was down for World Con and doing a book signing at Rendezvous. She also had Erica Hayes with her, who I knew of, but had never personally talked to before. Erica was lovely and we all went out for lunch to talk 'shop'. I had a fantastic day, it was great to actually talk to some other writers face to face, who were also fellow RWAus members.
I've been thinking about joining the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, but I don't live in Melbourne, so it'd be a bit of a drive to get there for their meetings. But after how much enjoyment I got out of simply meeting Tracey and Erica for lunch, I decided that despite the drive and other logistics of it, I'm going to make it work.
On top of that, I had a few other things taking up my weekend, so I decided to make it a long-weekend, give myself a three day break. Though writing doesn't seem like such hard work most of the time, I really have been pushing myself in the last seven weeks to get Atrophy finished so I can query The Agent. I've been hearing a few rumblings that futurstic is going to be the next big wave, editors are starting to look for them, together with the fact that I just sold my paranormal sci-fi to Noble, gives me hope that this round of agent-querying will yeild some results.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hard At It

I haven't posted for almost a week now because I've been working hard trying to get my romantic sci-fi finished before I start doing things like revisions and writing another whole new book for Noble. I still plan to query The Agent as soon as possible, so as we speak, my CP has started looking over my first 3 chapters for me. I really feel like I'm on a roll at the moment, so want to get this query in while I'm hot. Hopefully I'll be ready to query within the next two weeks. I've only got around 17,500 words left to write and I always find this an exciting time, writing up to the ultimate climax and then winding things down. As well as the prospect of starting another new story in book 2. I know. Another new story. As if I really need another one. So that's where I'm at. As always, with more than enough to keep me out of trouble.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The News I've Been Waiting For

I'd resisted blogging for the last few days because I was playing the 'wait and see' game. I heard back from Noble Romance Publishing only a couple of days after I sent the query and partial off to them. Their acquisitions editor requested the full manuscript, saying I'd done a remarkable job of creating a believable alternate universe and that she loved it. Later the next day I sent off the full after giving it one last read-over. Not even 48 hours later I heard back from them, there was an email waiting in my inbox from them this morning. The opening line was 'what an awesome book.' I literally jumped out of my chair when I read that, skimmed the rest of the email saying they were going to publish it and welcoming me to Noble Romance Publishing, then I went running up the other end of the house to tell my husband.
I'm over the moon about finally, finally getting myself a publishing contract, but more than that, I can't believe its been through writing romantic sci-fi. It was the one genre I'd always secretly wanted to write, but never had because they've never sold very well. It seems the market is coming around though, and making a name for myself as a romantic paranormal sci-fi author is my deepest dream come true.
I'll put details up about release dates and all that jazz as it comes in. But for now, here's to many years writing and many books published!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

No Love

Woke up this morning to yet another rejection in my inbox. This is the first time in a few years now that I've done a round of queries and not had one single request for more material. If it hadn't been for the helpful insider info I got from The Agent, who I queried first and told me editors are starting to get sick of seeing romantic suspense (as it was for paranormal a few years back) then I might have started having some serious doubts about myself.
While I thought it would have been nice to get my SOAP manuscript somewhere with another agent, I still dream of making The Agent into My Agent and her encouraging words and willingness to help me has given me continued hope.
Which is why I'm powering through the futuristic/sci-fi romance I've been working on, hoping that it will be the one she will take.
So though I might send out a few more queries here and there for the rom sus, I won't be too upset or surprised if rejections for it keep coming in.
In other submissions news, I sent a query letter and partial to Noble Romance Publishing for a futuristic paranormal novella I wrote about a year ago now. I really liked that story and my CP liked it and mentioned a few times I should try subbing it somewhere else, but since it was a mix of genres, I was never sure where I might be able to send it. Noble Romance apparently likes mixed genres, things that are a bit different and 'cutting edge' ideas. If they decided to take it, I'd like to develop the idea into a series (I always want to develop ideas into a series) and write full length manuscripts of 90,000 to 95,000 words. I thought if they publish my futuristic paranormal, I might also be able to give them the manuscripts I'd written with Silhouette in mind. Noble are only a small e-press at the moment, but they seem to be growing and will be branching out into print later in the year. They also come highly recommended on the Predators and Editors website.
So, as usual, I have lots of work to keep me busy and lots of prospects to keep my hopes up.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Claytons Conference Weekend Wrap-up

Didn't get a chance to post last night, by the time the day was over and the awards all handed out, I was exhausted!
I have to say, it was a great weekend, I had lots of fun and got heaps out of it. And I have to announce, just quietly, I didn't do too badly when it came to awards for the weekend writing challenges. I placed in every challenge I entered but one and then as if that wasn't exciting enough, I won the Claytons Conference AAA award for the weekend, which went to the author they thought had contributed, helped others and generally had the drive and 'gumption' to go all the way and become a published author. Once the chat transcribes are posted, I'll put up here what the moderators actually said, because it was all very lovely. I never dreamed I would win something like that! I almost fell off my chair when they announced my name, I just couldn't believe it.
I guess it just re-enforces my belief that I'm almost 'there' and I'll admit, it does feel good to have people believe in me and endorse me by presenting me with such a wonderful award. As I said, I'll have more details (including my actual placings in the writing challenges) once the award night chat has been transcribed and made available.
Now I'm off to do some writing and put together a proposal package for editor Jill Noble at Noble Romance Publishing, who chatted with us yesterday and offered to take partials from us this week. I'm going to send her the futuristic paranormal romance novella I wrote around this time last year. It needs a bit of editing, so I'll do that before I send it as well.
So, like usual, I'm busy, busy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Claytons Conference Day 2

Today wasn't as action packed as yesterday, partly because I had things to do this morning and missed out on the morning session. Once again the writing challenges were quite interesting and I managed to get both done and submitted. The chat with Tracey O'Hara was very informative and I even won myself a prize for a witty rejoinder. Not really, actually I made a smart comment about sparkly vampires, but still, I guess it pays to be humorously sarcastic sometimes.
I won't be attending the chat tonight which will include live results from the RWA awards night in Sydney, which I'm a little disappointed about, but I'm sure I'll hear all about it in the morning.
Tomorrow we have a Q&A discussion with Jill Noble of Noble publishing and I'm looking forward to see what sort of insider information she's got for us. There will be two more writing challenges and chats with historical author Diane Gaston and paranormal author Shona Husk, ending with a Claytons Conference awards night chat.
So, once again, haven't done any writing on my wip, but am enjoying myself immensely!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Claytons Conference Day 1

It was a total last minute decision, but since I couldn't get to the RWA conference in Sydney this year, I decided to participate in the online version held over the same weekend for us poor saps who can't manage to get out of the house.
Its been a lot of fun so far and this afternoon I got to do something I'd always wanted to do but hadn't - make a book trailer! I'll add it at the end of this post, but without the music, unfortunately. While I took the trouble to get royalty free photos I could use and post on the net without getting in trouble over, for the sake of the workshop (when it wasn't going anywhere besides my computer) I put the song O Verona from the Romeo and Juliet movie over it.
There were also a couple of writing challenges. The first one was a character profile with GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) which I enjoyed and managed to work into a whole book idea for my futuristic series I'm working on at the moment. The second challenge was to re-write the end of one of your chapters using a different POV and then making it into a different ending. I found that one quiet challenging, but did get something submitted a few minuted before the deadline. There was some interesting discussion about how it can show when a scene is maybe in the wrong character's POV.
Tomorrow morning there will be an opportunity to pitch to Noble publishing, but since I don't write erotica, I won't be doing that. In the afternoon the very fab Tracey O'Hara will be our guest speaker and I'll be interested to see what day 2's writing challenges bring.
But I should go get some sleep. Obviously there I won't be getting any writing done on my wip for the next couple of days, but for something like this, I don't mind the delay.


video

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Making the Summit

I'm so close to the halfway point of my book, I expect to get it done today if all goes well. I feel like once I reach that halfway mark, its all a downhill run from there. The hard part, the uphill climb, has been done. That's not to say the downhill section is all smooth sailing. Sometimes its rough, really rough. But its an exciting time as the story is taken to its climax and then all issues and situations are resolved.
My CP has started reading the first few chapters and she has great things to say about it. Of course, some of my old habits are in there (old habits die hard) but according to her the flow and character interactions are much better, so I can't wait to get it all written, do some editing and query some agents. So, I'm off to do some writing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coming Along

I haven't got as many words written in the past few days as I would have liked, partly because I had a busy weekend. But I have at least kept on track with my personal minimum of 1000 words a day. Except for yesterday. I think that was the first day in 3 weeks I'd written less than 1000 words, but I still did manage to get 949 done. Why the heck did I stop only 51 words short? That's like 2 paragraphs. Anyway, I'll make it up today and hopefully get an extra few thousand done. I've ticked over the 40,000 word mark, so I'm almost half way.
I've decided I might send off another query for SOAP today. I still haven't heard back from that other agent I queried a few weeks back, but from experience, I know sometimes you just don't hear back at all. That old 'no response means no' thing. The agent I plan on querying today is with a reputable agency, but she has only just started taking on her own clients, so I like the idea of getting in when she's looking to actively building her list. Do I think this might give me more of a chance? Damn right it does! So I'm off to draft a query letter and then get my words down for the day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

...And Then The Phone Rang

Sometimes writing terrifies me. Often when I sit down to write I have no idea whats going to happen in the scene/chapter I'm about to write, nothing but a vague idea. I'm a total pantser and quietly sometimes I wonder where the ideas come from and what happens if one day there's just no more words?
But on the flipside to this, sometimes its exciting. Its like reading a book to find out whats going to happen. I'm as in the dark as anyone, except apparently I'm at the controls. What I love most about this is when characters do something totally unexpected. Or a development comes to light that is entirely left field and I'm surprised and intrigued by the new direction.
It reminds me of those writing exercises we used to have to do when I was studying. If a scene was boring or stagnant, the general idea was the phone would ring or someone would whip out a gun and it would take the story in a whole different direction, because then you'd need to answer the question of who was on the phone and why that person over there suddenly decided to be armed.
A couple of days ago, I had a character walk into a room to confront another character about something. Sounds pretty boring, run of the mill, yes. But the direction that conversation took and the resulting emotional fallout was almost as big a shock to me as it was to my characters. Now I'm dying to know what other issues are going to come out of this, but frustratingly, I remain clueless until I finish writing the book. Another reason to keep working hard and my daily word totals above the 1000 words mark!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Status Check

This morning I received a reply from one of the agents I'd queried, who said although my book sounded interesting, they thought there might be better agents out there suited to representing it. We'll see if anything comes from the other query, because I read a recent interview with that agent who said she was looking for a great new rom sus voice.
In terms of my rom sci fi, I'm flying through it at the moment. The story is just so big, has all these intriguing elements coming into it. I've just ticked over 30,000 words, after writing 7000 words between Saturday and Sunday. As I said in a previous post, I'm hoping to mostly keep up this pace so I can have a completed manuscript and be able to start editing in a matter of weeks.
So I'm off to do my 1000 words for the day and if I'm lucky, might get double that done. Happy writing!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Queries

This morning I sent out another couple of queries for my SOAP manuscript, so we'll see if any requests come of them. Otherwise I've been humming along with my sci fi romance, been getting 1000+ words done everyday, though I don't imagine that will last. At the moment I'm all for belting it out, getting the story down on screen so I then have something to work with and hopefully something to query agents with sooner rather than later. Writing between 1000 to 2000 words a day is a pretty punishing pace to keep up, resulting in anywhere from 7000 to 14000 words a week. Of course, its fun to imagine I could keep going at this speed because I'd have the basic manuscript finished and ready for editing in about two months from now. Of course, my brain may also end up melted, so I'm sure there are both pros and cons there.
Anyhoo, instead of rambling, I should get back to writing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Insider Information

I heard from a reliable source in the last few days that some agents are finding it hard to sell romantic suspense at the moment (whether due to a saturation in the market, or waning popularity, I'm not sure) and therefore are not looking to take on any new rom sus authors. This puts a bit of a dent in my plans, since my SOAP manuscript is a rom sus.
So now I'm faced with a choice. Do I keep shopping SOAP around to agents, even knowing the harder odds I might be facing, or do I move on to something else, a sci-fi romance for instance? It seems almost like fate that I started this new manuscript a few weeks back when I'd been putting it off for so long and have now been made aware of this possible roadblock concerning my SOAP book.
While I'm more than happy to put a majority of my energy into this new story, I don't know if I'm ready to totally give up on SOAP yet, after all, I've put an awful lot of work into that these past months. Maybe I'll query a few more agents and see if I get any requests. In the meantime, I'll get writing on my romantic sci-fi.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Before the Gates Close

Jessica Faust over at BookEnds lit agency announced on her blog last week that she'd be closing for queries from Monday 19th July until sometime in September. Since she's one of the agents on the top of my list and I'm impatient, I decided to shoot her off a quick letter before she closed for the next few months, even though I had said I was going to take some time to finish the editing that needs doing on my SOAP manuscript. I expect she'll ask for the first 3 chapters, if past experience is anything to go on. Those pages are looking great, I believe. As to whether or not she wants to see the entire manuscript after that, who can say? Obviously, as always, I live in hope that she will want to see the whole book. But I admit I still do have a fair bit of editing to get through before that happens.
My editing efforts have been somewhat hampered by the fact that I finally decided to live my dream. I was feeling a bit burned and uninspired by all the editing I'd been doing on SOAP and decided that I was at last going to make a start on writing the one manuscript I'd always wanted to write, but never had; a sci-fi romance.
There were a couple of reasons I'd never tried this before. One, there's not exactly a huge market for them out there at the moment, despite how popular paranormal romances continue to be. Secondly, I didn't know if I could carry it off. Sci-fi readers can't be fooled, I should know, I am one. We want to read a book that sounds genuine, that the writer knew what they were talking about technologically when building this advanced world. There needs to be a finite balance between adequate information about the world (or universe, as it may be) so that the reader doesn't feel lost, the developing romance between the characters and the story which draws them all together.
Quite honestly, I didn't think I could have successfully brought all these elements into play before. Now, however, I feel I've come a long way in my writing in the past year and even past few weeks. I decided I wanted to challenge myself, didn't want to bury my yearning to write a sci-fi romance anymore. I've never started a more researched, considered manuscript than this one. I've been taking notes for yeas, jotting down ideas, putting character's names together.
So for the time being, I'm totally engrossed in my new manuscript, but in another few days I will start dividing my time between the two, after all, I seem to remember once feeling almost as excited about my SOAP manuscript.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Back to Where I Started

I heard back from that agent again (fast, I know!) and she said that while I'd done a great job with the re-write, she still wasn't feeling it. She thought the opening scene a little generic (eeep! Don't tell me that. Do you know how many different opening scenes I've written for this book?) and she thought maybe it was more about taste, as in, she doesn't love it but its not to say someone else won't.
What I should do now is continue on with editing and re-writing until the manuscript is finished. But my problem? Often I get to this point and want to give up in favour of starting something new. But I really should stick with it. I've queried one whole agent with it (only because I wasn't quite finished yet and the opportunity was there) so if I actually got back to where I started with my plan and in a few weeks or months start an actual query process with all the agents on my list, I might actually get somewhere.
But to give myself a small break so my brain doesn't explode or I don't get totally sick of it, I might think about a different project for a few days, just for the fun of it. After all, I have to remember I'm doing this because I love writing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quick Update

I woke up this morning to a reply waiting for me from the agent I emailed yesterday. She wants to read my first couple of chapters again and used the word 'exciting' so of course now I've hit the equal parts terrified and excited part of the query process. So step one of re-querying agent has been successful. Now I only need step two of agent reading first couple of chapters to work out and I'll be on my way. I'm going to give my pages one more read over before I send them off this morning and then - you guessed it - back to waiting again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Agent Query Take Two

I've just sent a re-query, I suppose you could call it, to that agent who was kind enough to offer me extra advice a few weeks back when I asked for it. If past association is anything to go on, hopefully it shouldn't be too long before she gets back to me and even more hopefully, she'll be willing to read my first couple of chapters again. And I probably don't need to say that my ultimate hope is that she'll love the first chapters, request the entire manuscript and then offer me representation. However, I still have a lot of work to do before I quite get there.
So its back to the waiting game and we all know how much I love this part. I should go do some work to keep my mind off things!
Also, this song came to me that I hadn't heard for years, so I thought I'd share some classic Aussie rock.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Changing Habits

I've never liked writing at night. Actually, its not so much that I don't like it, its more that I have a lot of trouble getting my brain to cooperate after about 6pm. If I had my way, I'd do all of my writing and editing in the morning after breakfast, over lunch and into the early afternoon. This seems to be the time of day when the words and ideas flow easiest. However, as most writers will tell you, life often gets in the way, so there aren't many days when sitting down to write at this time of day is a viable option. In the past few weeks, I've been making myself sit down for an hour or so of work after dinner. The first few nights I did this, it was like trying to drive a car with one of those boot things on the tire. I was going nowhere fast. But slowly, my brain seems to be getting used to it, I suppose its a bit like exercising. The past few nights haven't seemed as hard and once I get going, I'm fine.
Perhaps one day in the future, I'll be in a better position to write during the morning or whenever I feel like it. But for now, out of necessity, I needed to change my writing habits in order to actually get some writing done.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Does It Get Any Better?

Over at Bookends, Jessica Faust was answering a question a reader had sent in about rejections and if it ever gets any easier to handle. I know I've talked about rejection on here many times, but after reading the words of a new author receiving rejections for the very first time, it made me reflect on my journey as a whole.
Its been almost ten years now since I first sat down in front of the computer at my parent's house (because I was only 18 and still living at home) and decided I wanted to see if I could write a book. I had characters, I had a story idea, but the prospect of writing something almost 100,000 words long was daunting and I wasn't sure I could do it. A few months later, I'd proven I could with a complete manuscript. During that time, I decided I was way out of my depth and needed some help, so enrolled to study a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing. I remember being daunted by this prospect as well. The writing course was highly sort after, one of the only ones in my entire state and obviously there were only so many places. To get in, I had to be interviewed and present a portfolio of my writing. If I'd had anything published, it was an almost guaranteed entry. But I'd had nothing published and still wasn't even sure if I was doing the right thing or not. Sure, writing was fun, but did I really have the drive to make a career out of it? The only way I would get into that course was if I interviewed well and my portfolio looked promising. I took the first page of my manuscript (which I shudder to think about now) and some pieces I'd written for high school assignments the year before. I thought I totally stuffed up the interview and didn't know how my portfolio would stack up in the eyes of journalists and published authors. I walked away convinced I wouldn't get in and wondering what I should do with my life instead. I could do casual night classes they offered which would guarantee me a place the following year, but I didn't want to waste another year of my life without any real direction.
The day I received a letter saying I'd gotten into the program was about the most excited I could remember being in a long time. I think that was about the point I decided that, no matter what, I would make something out of my writing. I started studying and soon realized I had a passion and drive few others in my classes had. I could sit down and type out a few thousand words no sweat while others spent days labouring over a page or two. I also came to realize that my raw talent had something that others didn't. The teachers took an interest in me, a couple in particular became friends and mentors, telling me that it was rare to find someone who had what I did and they had no doubt that one day I would make it. Of course, finding my place as I did, cruising through the assignments and workload without a hitch didn't earn me many friends.
In the first two years I had a couple of friends who I still talk to occasionally now, but in the last two years, and the very last in particular, there were some people who were downright mean to me, bitching about me in classes I didn't attend and even going so far as to leave an abusive letter in my pigeon hole (used for teachers returning assignments, etc). I guess by that fourth year I knew who I was and what I wanted to do. I wasn't going to apologize for my talent, for my drive, for the fact that maybe it did look like one or two of the teachers favoured me. I didn't go out of my way to make friends, I was only there part time anyway. But neither did I act unkindly towards them or snob them or do anything to deserve the apparent strong dislike a few of the other students had for me. Anyway, that's all in the past now, I'd actually forgotten about it until I started this trip down memory lane.
During those years studying, I joined Romance Writers Australia and quickly came to realize the first manuscript I'd written probably wasn't going to get me very far. It had many, many problems so I decided to start fresh with a new story. If you read this blog regularly, then you know me and know that I'm always in big favour of the re-write. I'd rather re-start something from scratch than try to fix what's already there. So I wrote another manuscript. Followed by a couple more. I started submitting to publishers and then started querying agents. The first ever request for a partial came from Jessica Faust at Bookends for a paranormal I'd written. Obviously nothing came of it, but that small step forward renewed my drive. I wrote my first SOAP manuscript, started entering competitions. Jessica Faust also request that first SOAP novel after I queried her about it, but again, I didn't get far. SOAP brought me a few other requests from other agents, so I knew I was onto something.
I started getting to know a couple of people through RWA and met my CP, who just over a year ago now, offered to start working with me. In the last twelve months, I think I've come further than I had in all the past three years since I finished studying put together.
When I first started submitting and querying, I told myself I wasn't going to take rejections personally, because they were part of the ride and it wasn't a personal comment on me or my work, it all just came down to business. So I didn't take any personally, but I still took some of them to heart. I think I can see now that I wasn't ready. I've had to take baby steps on this road when I all wanted to do was fly. But I wouldn't be the writer I am today if it wasn't for all those little, tiny, frustrating baby steps. I stopped counting a long time ago the number of rejections I'd received, like days scratched into the wall of a prison. I'd rather view them as mile markers on my road to publication, and I can't imagine many of us count how many mile markers we've passed when driving our car on a long journey.
With this round of revisions I'm doing with an agent's help, I really feel I'm coming to the end of this leg of the trip. But of course, an entirely new road is about to be opened up. I know now that no matter how many books I write, how many years I publish for, I'll always me learning, changing, honing my craft.
So to answer the original question myself, I don't know that it does get any better in terms of rejection. I think its more a question of when and if we get to a point where we can view things differently.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Agent Advice

I received an email from that agent who said she would take some time to offer me some extra advice. She listed a few reasons as to why my work was good, but not great. She thought my writing strong and characters interesting, so I don't need to worry about those major issues, there's just a few things I need to fix as a whole. I'm determined to tackle these problem areas and get the manuscript back to her. Whether or not she ends up being my agent or because of her help, I land someone else, there's no denying she's played a huge part in moving my career forward. So I'm going to spend today thinking about my manuscript in relation to her words and hopefully find ways to apply and move the novel forward.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Writing in Layers

I'm coming to realize that I tend to write in layers. Either I write the relationship and not enough of the outer story going on around the main characters, or I write the outer story and not enough about the relationship evolving. Obviously being so close to your own work makes it hard to see these sorts of things, so once again I'm thankful for my CP.
Part of the reason this realization came about is because I got a reply back from that agent who just rejected me. While she didn't say either yes or no to the possibility of re-submitting in the future, she did say that if she got time, she would mark up the pages I'd submitted to her with some of her thoughts about what needed to be done to start bringing it up to scratch.
This offer was very generous of her and far, far, far more than I expected or could have ever even dreamed about. So although I already sent her yet another email saying exactly that, I just want to put another "thank you" times a billion out there in the universe because I don't know how long I've been wishing for just some tiny insight into what an agent might be thinking when reading my work.
Once I've gone over my manuscript again and revised these problems, which could take another six to twelve months on my limited writing time, she'll be the first person I send it to, so once again, I have a lot of hope and a lot to look forward to. Of course, I also have a whole lot of hard work between now and then, but at moments like this, I relish the challenge.
Thank you, Agent, for helping me when I needed it most.
Meanwhile, last night I had the weirdest dream. Something about being cryogenically frozen and then when I woke up sometime in the future, I was a teenager again, but I still had my kids with me and my sisters were there and we all had to go back to high school (which we got to via space ship instead of school bus. I guess you'd call it a school ship in that case). And it was all just about the oddest thing I can imagine! Don't know what any of that is meant to mean.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hit and Miss

I heard back from that agent this morning and much to my disappointment, she declined my work. I guess I've probably taken this one a bit harder because I thought if I ever had a shot, this would really be it.
She pointed out a few things, which I've discussed with my CP. We'll start working on them straight away, but not today. I know when I wake up tomorrow I'll be prepared to start the battle all over again, but today I just can't bring myself to look at it.
I also decided to take a risk. I've been tempted to email agents following a rejection with a 'please explain' reply in the past, but had never done it before. This time, since this agent had been so nice and encouraging towards me, I decided to do it. I thanked her for reading the chapters and asked her if there was any other advice she could give me, or possibility of re-submission in the future. I ended the email saying I understood, however, if she didn't have the time or felt it necessary to reply. So I guess I'll see if she responds. I'm not really loosing anything either way, I don't think.
I sent my entry into the Colorado Heart of the Rockies comp today and am thinking of also entering the Golden Pen contest. And once I've gone over these chapters with my CP again, I'm going to query The Agent for the 50th time (it hasn't really been that many, but I'm sure it feels like it some days). She said she thought I was a talented writer, so I guess I have a lot of hope with her as well. So its not the end. I have to remember that, its just a big, gigantic bump in the road that knocked me down and broke some bones. I just have to get up, mend myself and keep on with things.
But not today.
I'll start again tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Authors with a Sense of Humor

I don't like the Twilight saga. I'm a traditional romance person, so I didn't like the three way thing going on between Bella, Edward and Jacob. I thought Bella and Edward's co-dependant type relationship was a very unhealthy example for teenage girls (like, if my bf dumps me I'm totally going to spend a year sitting in my room staring at a wall and then try to kill myself). I thought the third book (was it Eclipse?) was totally pointless, nothing really happened in it that hadn't already happened before. The only reason I really liked Breaking Dawn is because it ended, thank you, God, it ended. So when I saw my niece wearing a tee-shirt that said "...And then Buffy staked Edward. The End." I was totally on board with that. And someone on YouTube even went to the trouble of creating a mini episode where Buffy does in fact, stake Edward.
This morning on Facebook, Julia Quinn had written on her page "I drove through Forks and didn't see one Vampire or Werewolf." Though, I did notice she didn't add "whiny teens with a death wish" so maybe that bit at least was true.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Changes

Yes, I have changed by blog layout again. The other one was a bit boring. Lots and lots of books are more like it!
I heard straight back from that agent the other day, she requested the first 2 chapters, much to my excitement. From the wording of her email she seemed very interested, I only hope my chapters live up to her expectations and she wants to see the whole book. Of course, then I'll be panicking because I'm only halfway through tearing it apart and putting it back together, but I did tell her that in the original query, so obviously it wasn't a problem. And I hope it'll only be a matter of weeks, not months before I hear back from her about them.
In the meantime, I have more than enough work to do!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Agent Opportunity

Yesterday one of the RWAus members sent around an email saying her agent is specifically looking for romance authors to represent. She's a new agent, but at an agency with a huge reputation, so I'm jumping on this while I can. Though I'm only halfway through tearing my SOAP manuscript apart and putting it back together, I feel the first couple of chapters are in great condition (otherwise I wouldn't be entering them in the Heart of the Rockies comp) and would be happy for this agent to read them. Being a new agent with only a handful of clients, I really feel like this might give me a better chance of at last finding representation and selling one of my books. So I'm off to draft up a query letter to send off today. Though I'm always optimistic when querying agents, I can't remember ever being this excited about contacting an agent. Fingers crossed that this will be it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Competition Fever Continues

So I decided this week that I'm also going to enter the Colorado Romance Writers Heart of the Rockies comp, which closes next Tuesday. I won't get the results until September, and even if I don't make the final, I think it'll still be worth the almost-one-hundred dollars it cost me by the time I converted the entry fee to US dollars, ordered a bank cheque in said currency and express-couriered the payment and entry form to Colorado (hello, $42 of postage... eeek!). The reason I feel it'll be more than worth it is because your entry is read by at least one published author and you're provided with a score sheet focusing on 20 problem areas and a separate one-page critique. My CP is worth twice her weight in gold, don't get me wrong, but its also good to get other perspectives as well.
Come the end of the year, I'm thinking about taking on the big-guns and entering it in RWAmerica's Golden Heart award. By this time I'm hoping to start querying agents as well. Of course, in order to be able to do all that, I need to get the ms together, not just talk about it. So I should probably go do that now.
Oh, and I'm still waiting on results from RWAus's Val Parv award. Its been almost 3 months and I'm starting to go nuts. Surely the results must be coming in any day now? And I'm not thinking about my submission with Silhouette in New York. I've resigned myself to not hearing back about that for a year or two.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Competiton Fever

I had been planning on entering the new Writing With the Stars comp that Kensington is running, but the guidelines just came out and I don't think I'm going to make it by the closing date, since I'm literally in the middle of tearing my SOAP manuscript apart and putting it back together. The manuscript I subbed to Silhouette isn't long enough and my other completed manuscripts also need the heck edited out of them to be in any decent sort of shape. I guess I could try hibernating for the next four weeks and doing nothing but writing, but with my other commitments, I don't think that would be realistic.
Nathan Bransford is having a suspense/chase scene comp, post 500 words of your suspense/chase scene in the comments section of his blog to win a query crit or phone conversation with him (do you think he'd accept international charges?) which sounds good, so I might read over my latest draft of SOAP and enter one of my suspense scenes.
I'm still waiting to hear back for the RWA Valerie Parv award, surely the results must be coming in sometime soon?
I swore to myself that I wouldn't enter next year's round of comps with RWA, which start again in September, I planned to not need to due to having an agent/publishing contract under my belt. But for all my motivation at the start of the year that I would get somewhere this year, I haven't done anywhere near as much work towards that goal as I should have.
But I suppose it will all happen in time. Just need to get this damn SOAP manuscript finished.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I Know Its Already Been Done To Death But...

How much did the last episode ever of Lost suck? "And they were all really dead. The End. PS, anything we never explained can be explained by the fact that this island is a death limbo where people stop to work out their issues before they go towards the light. Which explains it all. What? Never mind."
That's so brilliant, I'm totally going to steal it and use it as the ending to one of my novels.
NOT.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Query Resolution

I received an immediate answer from Kensington on yesterday's query letter this morning. While the editor like the sound of my manuscript, she's looking for something 80,000 or longer and since my manuscript is aimed at category publishers, its only 55,000 words long.
But see how well that worked? Within twenty-four hours I had a definitive answer, instead of waiting months and months for my manuscript to make its way to America, find the editor's desk, wade to the top of the slush pile to be read and then sent back to me here in Australia again.
I was thinking about shooting an email back to ask her if I added twenty-five thousand words to it, would she be interested in seeing it then, but I might think about doing it anyway and re-querying her in a couple of months.
And just like that I have a new direction and possibly a new opportunity.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Querying the Publisher

I'm going to risk the wrath of other aspiring authors and just come out with the truth, I like the query process.
Sure, I've done my share of complaining in the past, but if I had to pick out of submitting to a publisher's slushpile or sending a query letter to determine whether the editor wants to see my manuscript in the first place, I think I'd pick query letter every time. Unlike some other authors, I don't have a complex about writing query letters. They seem pretty straight forward to me and I must be doing something right because I've had more hits than misses with my query letters when it comes to getting requests from agents. What I do have a complex about is the synopsis. I totally suck at those. If it wasn't for my CP, I'd never have a workable synopsis. In fifty years, when I'm a best selling author and have penned a hundred-odd books, my CP will still be there, helping me with the synopsis because I will still suck at them.
But back to the query letter. They're just so straightforward. Sure, it can be a challenge to cram a whole plot's worth of story into a couple of paragraphs and make it sound interesting enough that an agent/editor will want to read it, but what's so different to writing a blurb for the back of your novel?
Usually response times for query letters are far quicker than waiting for your manuscript to float to the top of the slushpile and even with some agent's policy of 'no response means no' at least you have a silent answer within a somewhat short time frame. I'm an impatient person. I don't want to wait a year to find out whether or not an editor or agent might be interested in my work. If they want to read a sample, I want to know about it tomorrow.
So today, I appreciate the querying process. I sent a query off to the editor of Kensington's Brava imprint today. Fingers crossed for a request. At least that way, I'll know for sure that the editor had some interest in reading it, instead of sending an unsolicited package off to the slushpile-blackhole like I did with Silhouette.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Not So Difficult Editing

Either I'm slacking off or I'm becoming accustom to the hard slog of editing. This week, I've edited the newly revised chapter 1 of my SOAP manuscript and sent it off to my CP. I was quite happy with the end result, though I know she's still going to rip it to shreds, fill the page with little red boxes and question every single sentence or character's expression or piece of dialogue or description I thought was brilliant. But that's what I want. That's what will help push my manuscript into the stratosphere and make my chances of getting an agent even higher. Yesterday I got half of chapter 2 done and I left my desk without the usual head-pounding.
The reason I started editing the newly drafted version is because its not taking as long to write since a lot of it is just being integrated from the old version. As soon as I hit the halfway point, I want to start querying agents. I figure by the time I query them, get a response, send out any requested partials, get another response and need to send the full ms, months and months will have gone by and I should have the whole thing finished. So that's the plan of the moment. I'm off to do some re-writing and finish editing chapter 2.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Why I Prefer Submitting to Agents

Before I started doing the agent rounds, I did the publisher slush pile thing. And now I'm reminded of why I turned to querying agents instead. Sometimes a publisher would take at least six months to get back to me. And that was a very quick response. In most cases it took over a year and in one memorable case, it took a certain publishing house three years to write back to me about a submission.
I should have remembered this when submitting to Silhouette in New York. I've seen some stories from other RWA members about how long its taken them to get anywhere with the HM&B lines, submissions dating back to 2007 they're still waiting to hear from.
I beginning to think I should just submit my manuscript to Harlequin Intrigue in London and maybe also the Kensington Brava imprint. At least that way I won't have all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. The other thing to do would be to get my SOAP manuscript finished and fixed up so I can begin querying agents again.
And I'll tell you why I prefer submitting to agents. Because you actually tend to hear back from them in a decent amount of time. Sure, sometimes its a couple of months, but not a couple of years. And okay, sure, some of them have a policy of no response means no, leaving you wondering if it is a 'no' or if your query actually ended up in their spam filter. But still, in most cases you know where you stand.
So while I plan on getting a couple more slush-pile submissions together, here's me resigning myself to not hearing anything about them until 2014. Who knows, maybe my SOAP books will have become a best-selling series by then.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Un-Deletable

Over at the BookEnds blog this week, Jessica Faust wrote a post about Internet presence and how much social networking has changed in the past 3 years alone. She questioned as a professional, should an author have 2 separate profiles on places like Twitter and Facebook, a personal one and a professional.
While I've always been aware of keeping this blog strictly business based, never posting about my personal life, family problems, etc, I'd never thought about it in terms of Facebook or Twitter. I know that while I remain unpublished, this blog reads like a dry bit of toast. "Sent out a query, got rejected, did some more editing, wrote 4000 words, edited some more, entered a competition."
Very occasionally I've spoken about issues in the media, but even then I'm reluctant to say too much, because down the track when I 'make it' I don't want anything to come back and bite me in the proverbial butt.
I have a Facebook profile, but after wasting waaaay too much time on it when I first joined up, I banned myself from going on there and managed to kick my addiction. My Facebook account was all personal stuff, obviously and I never went looking to make potential agents/editors my 'friends'. More recently I joined up on Twitter and confess, once again, don't use it very much. There, again, I'm wary of saying anything not business related, so it read a lot like my blog, kind of boring.
This post that Ms. Faust wrote really got me thinking, its had me thinking all week. Those of you who regularly read this blog know that about a year and a half ago, I had a scare with some random crazy person calling me up in the middle of the night. This prompted me to wipe myself off the Internet as much as I possibly could and for a while I wasn't blogging under this name either. But then I accepted the fact that by choosing this career, I'm putting myself out there, making myself available to people I don't and will never know.
One of the reasons I never talk about my personal life here is because that's what it is, my personal life. I have a family to protect. In fifteen years, when I'm a best selling author (wink wink) I don't want people to be able to go back and read this blog, find out how many kids I have, their names, where I send them to school, what my husband does for a living, where we've moved to a new house, etc etc. I might be totally over-reacting, but its like filling a gun with ammo. Its something bad waiting to happen. I will respect my fans, but that's no guarantee my fans will respect me or my privacy. The more they think they know you, the more they think they have a right to invade these places.
I think a lot of would-be authors forget this when starting out. Their personal selves are so invested in these books they write, they can't see where the separation needs to occur. I've always been big on treating this as a career, not as me putting my soul onto a page. This is just one more aspect of that.
Once something is on the Internet, it spreads like dye in water. You can't take it back, you can't erase it. Its there forever and somehow, if someone wants to, they will find it (and use it against you...! Ok, now I'm being paranoid.) So with every word I write, every time I click that publish button, I'm trying my best to be aware that one stupid comment, one dumb word, could spell disaster for my career somewhere down the line.
I think the post over at BookEnds is something ever aspiring author needs to consider very carefully.