April 27, 2011

Can I Get a Re-do?

My first novel, as you may know, will never see the light of day. It was a "prequel" to LET ME OUT and the book I'm currently revising. These are stand alone titles. They are connected, but not in a series. This being said, the hero of my first novel is FREAKING HOT! And I want to use him in another book.
He is yummy. My crush for Daniel Craig actually started my writing career (he's my muse) and even though my first book didn't make it, I want to use him again (and again and again...) Of course, he'll have a different name, different personality, etc. But what do you think?

Is it wrong to use characters twice? Do you re-use yours?

April 26, 2011

Pure and Utter Crap

That's how I would describe the book I'm revising right now. Crap. I'm literally having to rewrite the entire book. I think every writer goes through this, but throw in two more rejections for a novel out to query, and what do you have? A very bad day.

In the end I know it will be for the best, that the book will be SO much better when I'm done, but for now, I'm taking a break from writing on some very good advice from a friend (Thanks, Meg). Over the next couple of weeks I am focusing on school and my loved ones. I'm sure my brain won't be shutting off about the book. I'll make notes, but I will not open that document, I will not pull myself down again.

So thank you to those that have offered kind words of advice. You're all right: I can't do everything at once and so begins the recharging!

No worries, I'll still be posting :)

April 20, 2011


I have this picture on both my laptop and my work computer for a reason: my mind tends to wander. I find this happens most when I'm doing something I don't want to be doing (i.e. writing a paper or a scene that isn't jam packed fueled with action and suspense or being at my day job).

But, as always, things need to get done. So what are the best ways to keep your focus?

1. Make a To Do list every morning with things you would like to accomplish. For me, this means M-F I make a list of what I need to get done at work. On the weekends, it usually consists of errands, but I also keep a separate list for my writing and school goals. My major goal in writing is to be published (as with most of us). Therefore, I need to have the sight of BEING PUBLISHED with smaller steps of getting there. The day-to-day would be things like, "finish Chapter 1", "write synopsis", or "rework this scene". These change every day and I feel really good about crossing things off my list once I've accomplished them.

2. Organize. Sometimes it's easier said than done. Clean your desk, office or house so you won't be so distracted by those things while writing. When my house is clean, I find I can relax a bit more and my eyes aren't wandering toward those dirty dishes while I'm trying to rewrite that scene. At work I make dozens of notes a day on Post-Its for my current WIP, when I get home, I combine them all into one easy and manageable check list when I get to those points in the MS. This makes my life easier most days. Unless I lose those Post-Its...

3. Take a walk or a run, whichever you prefer. Exercise clears the mind. "Sound body, sound mind" thanks to Asics. When I'm having trouble with a particular character or scene, I grab the iPod and run. The music keeps my muse alive while the running releases my stress. Less stress = more gets done on my To Do list.

What keeps you focused? What are some of your To Dos?

April 19, 2011

Stress Management? Never Heard of It

There's a lot of advice out there about managing your stress that we all can apply to our lives as writers, but it can also vary from person to person, don't you think? There are three main principles I try to live by to manage my stress:

1. Time management - It never seems like there are enough hours in the day. Too many projects, not enough time to do them. I've always been a fan of organization, but that really only gets me so far. I'm more of a procrastinator. I work better under pressure, but there are times when a checklist comes in handy just for me to keep my head on straight or even a calender reminding me when to do things. I LOVE Outlook on my work computer. Honestly, I like all the different colored bubbles. I even have my writing notes listed in here so I can stay on top of things.

2. Eating right - This is one of the hardest things for me to do because A. I don't have a lot of time to make dinner. B. I'm exhausted when I get home from my full-time job. and C. It's just easier to go to McDonald's. But do you ever feel like your day is dragging on and so are you? When I feel slow, heavy or exhausted that means I need some fruit or if it's serious, I go on a diet. Overeating can mess you up not only weight wise, but mentally as well.

3. You guessed it, exercise. This is the biggest stress reliever out there. Whether it's a walk around the park, running, swimming or biking, any type of exercise will melt that anxiety away. I think the Asics "Sound mind, sound body" campaign visualizes it best for me. One of their commercials show an athlete running while words like "stress", "work", and "anger" melt away into the background. I can't find the commercial, but if I do, I'll post it. It takes a while (a year for me) for a runner to physically be able to relax while running, but once you train your body to that point, exercise is going to melt away all that unwanted anxiety and stress.

Those are the main three, but I need to add what else takes my stress away:

Sprite - I get "ahhhhhhh" moment when I take that first sip of the day :)
Writing - getting all those emotions and scenes down on paper (or laptop in my case) really helps me let go.
Shower - who doesn't like to be clean?
Senses Fail - my all-time favorite band. Not a lot of people can say artists that scream in their music calm them down, but I can. There's something about his voice that makes me relax.

Those are mine, what are your secret ways to rid yourself of stress?

April 17, 2011

How Do You Track?

I have several queries still out for consideration on my commercial suspense, LET ME OUT. There were thirteen submissions to begin with and now, I'm down to seven. How do I keep track? Like this:

First, let me just say, I suck at Excel. I hate the program because it always finds a way to piss me off. So this spreadsheet is just crap, but it fits my needs. I prefer to use the table option in Word, but it is a lot more work than I have time, or am willing, to put into it. The blocks of black are rejections and there's a second page, but there has to be an easier way.

So how do you track? Do you have a template you're willing to share with me? :)

April 13, 2011

I Am Better Than I Used To Be

I don't have some prolific post for you today. I am deep in revisions on The Next Suspense, constantly thinking over the next scene, integrating GMC into the MS. I didn't think there was so much wrong with the MS, but it has been a long time since I've looked at it. I've grown so much as a writer that I've literally ripped this book apart, kept the best pieces and deleted the rest.

After such a grueling experience (mind you, I've only revised up to Chapter 4) this post from Anne Gallagher (a.k.a. The Piedmont Writer) uplifted me. If you need some motivation and inspiration go to her.

What cheers you up after such hard work?

April 11, 2011

MC Damnation

Working hard on The Next Suspense, but one of my MCs is pissing me off! Meet Taigen Banvard - twin brother to Adelaide (my MC of LET ME OUT).
Taigen is so complicated! He's making my life in revisions hell because he wants soooo many things. Grrr.
Debra Dixon advised in her book Goal, Motivation and Conflict (my bible) that novice writers should stick with one goal, one motivation and one conflict. This is my third novel, but I still consider myself a novice writer since I haven't been published, ok, maybe intermediate. So when I tell Taigen to keep it simple, he just laughs at me. No. Right now, he wants THREE external goals, motivations and conflicts and TWO internal goals, motivations and conflicts. I didn't think he was so complicated when I wrote this book a year ago. Now, I'm stressed that I won't be able to comminicate all of his GMC because there's so much of it.

And believe me, I've tried to change his mind.

Do you have a character like this? Do you usually stick to Debra Dixon's advice or is this when I should subside into thinking I'm growing as a writer and just take it on?

April 6, 2011


I made that up. No, really! Since I'm having such a hard time coming up with an interesting topic for today's post, I thought I might keep you updated on the agents I've queried for my commercial suspense, LET ME OUT.

When I say "updated" I mean the turnaround time for those 10 agents and 2 publishers with which I've queried and have already received feedback from...just in case you ever decide to query these wonderful people. No specific naming order here.

Anne Hawkins at John Hawkins and Associates, 1 day
Lindsey Clemons at Larson-Pomada Literary, 2 days
Stacia Decker at Donald Maass Literary, 3 days

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

Jessica Faust of BookEnds Literary, 4 days

Jill Marsol at Lyan-Marsol Literary, 5 days

Janet Reid of FinePrint Literary Management, 6 days
(This is where I tell you when I received her rejection, I turned around and sent it to another agent at FinePrint, per her advice).

That's it for now. I still have 7 queries out and I'll keep you updated. Hope the information helps. What have you been working on lately? Are you querying soon?

April 3, 2011

Oh For The Love

Revision Hell! Yep, The Next Suspense is going sloooooowly. In a way, it's great because I am making the MS 10 times better than the original, but will it ever end? Not exactly where I hoped to be with the revisions, but I have until probably October to get everything in order.

This is how it's going so far...
I have an entire new book in the margins! I'm still in the "comment only" version of revisions. I haven't applied any changes to the MS yet. I'm taking this project on with a different kind of process. I'm BETA-ing my own work before I make changes. Never done it before. Seems to be going well though. This MS was originally romantic suspense, but is being turned in commercial suspense since its companion is being queried as a commercial suspense. That is where my niche lies. Suspense.

Hopefully, I will be ready to pitch this book to the wonderful Angela James from Carina Press when she visits Vegas in November. We shall see.

Query update for LET ME OUT: 5 rejections/ 7 queries out - two are full requests (publishers who request the entire MS at the time of query).

What are you guys working on? Are you in Revision Hell or Query Hell with me?