How would you like to be published with Loose Id? Do you have a completed erotic romance manuscript you’re ready to submit to publishers? Would you like feedback immediately as to whether your manuscript may work for Loose Id? If so, you should join the editors of Loose Id on Sunday, December 11, for our second Twitpitch. Here’s how it works.

  1. Log in to Twitter between 11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m. or during our second session from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Both sessions are eastern time, U.S.
  2. Send out your pitch with the hashtag #LIpitch.
  3. Editors will be tracking the trend. If one is interested, she will @you with questions or private message you with submission instructions.
  4. If you don’t hear from an editor, feel free to submit via our traditional submission system 

Remember at this time we are only looking for completed, erotic romance manuscripts.

For more information about Loose Id, check out our About page.

I was at Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend and was on a couple panels. While on an editors’ panel there was a question from the audience about whether someone should mention in a query letter that the novel being submitted is the first of a trilogy (or series) and the next two books are already written.

Now, you’ll get lots of advice on this question, either way. Yes, mention it and no, don’t. That’s not  my topic.

The interesting thing that one of the panelists brought up had to do with whether to write a trilogy or series as an unpublished author. The gist wasn’t to discourage the planning of a series, but to point out that, financially and creatively, it doesn’t make sense to start the second book of your series before the first book is sold. The panelist said, "Finish your book, polish it, sent it out, then start on something new."

I hadn’t really thought of it in such bald terms, but I agree with this sentiment. The first book I wrote has a sequel, but I haven’t started writing it (much to my little sister’s chagrin). I didn’t really think about why, except that I needed to concentrate on getting the first book sold.

From a strictly numerical odds standpoint, it makes no sense to start on the second book. If you fail to sell the first, then complete the second, you have two complete books (yay!), but only one salable book. If you had started on a brand new book (even if it’s for another series), then you have two completed books and two books you can send out to agents.

For so many of us, the ideas lend themselves to trilogies or series. And once we’re ensconced in a world, it is hard to let it go, but if you’re an unpublished author with your first book complete, consider moving on to an entirely different project as you shop that first book around. If you sell that book, great! You can switch over to the series at any time. If you don’t sell the first book, when you get the other book done, you have something else to shop around. Two completed books, two salable projects.

Work smarter, not harder. :)

Okay, I am re-compiling my blogroll since the move to WordPress. Are you one of my SHU peeps? One of my LI peeps? A writer I’ve met? An editor or agent? Someone who has an awesome writing-related website? If you’re interested in being on my blogroll, leave a comment on this post with your link, how you’d like the link presented (your name, your book’s name, your publishing house if you’re an editor, etc) and what category(ies) your site might fall into (writer, editor, agent, writing tips, education, contests, markets, etc). Alternately, you can poke me via my Contact Page and give me the same information privately, if you’d prefer. Two links, max, per person unless there’s a compelling reason for more.

A reciprocal link would be lovely, too. I enjoy link love! :D

Please note: non-writing-related links will not be allowed and spam comments will be printed and summarily burned in a ritual in which I implore the Flying Spaghetti Monster to shrivel up your tongue (and possibly other body parts) and cause it to fall from your mouth (or other bits). Just fair warning.

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A writer should read within his/her genre, absolutely. The obvious reasons are because you learn what’s been selling in your genre, what others have done, etc. You can consciously study others’ work. However, what is not as obvious is that reading deeply in your genre also allows you to subconsciously learn the mechanisms of that genre. You absorb how to write it. As an example, when I was young, I read voraciously in the horror genre (back, yknow, when there was one :p). I mean I would probably read thirty books in a year, just in horror. Some of it was awful, some of it was amazing. As a writer now, I don’t write horror, per se, but some of my stories do contain horrific elements. Those are the easiest bits to write for me. Those scenes tend to need the least revision and editing. And I firmly believe that it’s because of how deeply I read in that genre.

As an editor, I know right away when an author hasn’t read much in the genre she is trying to write in. Why? Because the settings are stock, the characters tend to be stereotypical and the plot is often predictable. And it’s because they don’t know what went before them. They don’t know the tropes of their genre, therefore that cannot avoid or otherwise set the tropes on their ears. You can’t play with something if you don’t know it exists.

Every genre has its rules, its reader expectations and its tropes and, as writers, we have to be educated in those items. In the same way that one cannot *effectively* break the rules of grammar unless one is very familiar with those rules, the effectiveness of writing within a genre is going to be tied directly to knowledge of that genre.

Do you read in your genre? Classics? Current stories? Why or why not?

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EPICon starts tonight with a mixer and booze! For those of you who don’t know, EPICon is the official conference of the Electronically Published Internet Coalition (EPIC). Every year, EPIC takes nominations and members vote on the best eBooks of the year over multiple categories. The EPIC eBook Awards banquet is Saturday night and I am excited to share that one  of my authors at Loose Id, Jessica Freely, has been nominated for her eBook Rust Belt! This was the first book I worked on with Jessica and it’s still one of my favorites! If you haven’t read it, check at out at the Rust Belt Loose Id page!

I am also teaching two classes, one on Friday called Pulling More than Punches: Writing Great Action Scenes. I think the title needs to be redone though. Though it’s a very snappy title, really we don’t want to pull punches. We want to punch the reader in the head with the action. So maybe I’ll be changing this title to something like: Not Pulling Punches. Or something. I suck at titles. Except this one, which is my other class:

Manuscript Corsetry: Tighten Up That Story! Yep, it’s a revision class. I hit on lots of things to watch out for in your ms, but also different methods of approaching revisions. I think it will be a fun class!

I think I’m also taking pitches for Loose Id, but I’m still a little hazy on those details. So that’s my agenda for this weekend. I’ll be tweeting periodically (which reminds me that I need to put my Twitter feed back on my blog).

Anyone else out here in rainy Williamsburg, VA?

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Though I loved the look of my blog at BlogEngine, it just didn’t work as well as WP, so we’re back over to the original platform. Please be patient as I get all my ducks in a row again. I have to work on getting the links active, re-adding my Twitter feed, and various other things. Maybe I’ll make a “to be done” list and make it a sticky post!

Thanks again for your patience! The dust will clear soon and I will make good on that resolution I made two months ago!

Grrr. I’m finally getting my blogging groove back and the comments aren’t working on my website, dang it. Hubby is looking into it, so hopefully this will be fixed soon!

Happy New Year!

I’m not usually one to make new year resolutions. I like to think that I can resolve to do anything anytime. I don’t need the new year to do that. And, for the most part, that’s true. But this year, I’m going to make one and it pertains to this blog.

As you’ve probably noticed, I suck at keeping up with blogging. I don’t know why. It always ends up on the back burner. So my resolution is to post at least once a week, although I’m going to try for more. Some posts may only be a few lines, some may be more in depth. I suspect part of my issue is that I think every post must be long and brilliant. Well that stops now, I tell you! :)

Let me know if there are topics you’re interested in. I can always use inspiration!

Bring on 2011!

 

I received a rejection the other day to my story “Warm Cookies.” I’ve got a few more markets I’m going to send it out to, but if I don’t get it placed, you lovely readers (all three of you!) will get to snack on it.

Rejection is an unfortunate but apparently necessary part of any writer’s career path. I say apparently because we don’t really want it to be. It just is.

Being rejected sucks. There’s no two ways about it. It just blows chunks. It makes me feel like my writing isn’t worthwhile. It makes me feel as if I’m just spinning my wheels. It makes me feel as if every writer out there is SO much better than me and why do I even bother because I obviously suck and can’t string three words together that anyone wants to read.

And that’s okay. I don’t mind feeling those things. But when we feel those things, we have to realize it’s just our disappointment. None of those statements is true. Wallow in it. Feel sorry for yourself. Tell yourself how horrible your writing is or how short-sighted the editor is or how no one appreciates your art EVAR! And then? Get over it. Put your butt back in the chair, send that story/novel/proposal out again, then pull out your current WIP and get on it.

Getting hurt is never fun, but we keep going. We keep putting our work out there to either be stomped on or held up and revered. We hope for the latter, but we have to go through a whole crapload of the former to get there. It’s a journey.

So, I got rejected this week, but I still #amwriting. What? You say you don’t know what that means with the funny pound sign in front? It’s a hashtag we use on Twitter to share triumphs and pain, to keep motivated and motivate others (and yes, sometimes to guilt others too). But it’s what we do. We’re writers. I’m a writing. Therefore, I #amwriting.

So follow me on Twitter and write with me!

 

Okay, yes, I’ve become a Twitter junkie. So follow me already!

So last week, from June 22 to June 27, I attended this term’s residency at Seton Hill University. I’ve tried to describe residencies before, but I’m not sure how good a job I do. Imagine being with 70-100 fellow writers but without the egos (with one or two notable exceptions – some of my readers know of whom I speak). Imagine a writers’ environment where it’s all about helping each other and not about making oneself look better and others look worse. It’s not about one-up-manship. It’s about growing and helping each other grow. It’s about encouraging, pushing, goading and sometimes threatening each other good naturedly into being courageous enough to pursue publishing. This is what the SHU residencies encompass.

Residency begins with a reception the first evening. During this time, students get to mingle, meet new students and chat with the faculty. For a lot of us, this was the first time we’d seen each other in a year or more. As the program has gotten more attention and more press, we had a large incoming class, in addition to the returning alumni. There were well over 80 people at the opening reception.

The rest of the residency (I’m not going to go day-by-day) is comprised of 3-hour class modules, a lunch break, and 3-hour critique sessions. Usually in the evenings, we have thesis readings, but because of the program shift from MA to MFA, there were no graduates this term. However, because there were so many new (and returning) students, the evening we usually have a meeting with our mentors had to become two evenings of meetings. Each student meets with his or her mentor for 30-60 minutes to sign the contract required for the term and to discuss the project the student plans to work on, as well as goals for improvement.

I’m working with Timons Esaias, whom I’d damn lucky to have as a mentor – and I know it! He’s totally going to kick my writerly ass. I’m really looking forward to it, too. Don’t judge me for wanting it! ;)

I had three modules: one on revision, one on surviving the middlehood of an novel and the third on markets for short specfic. All were very good. The middlehood module had a very thick hand-out that included ways to shake things up when you hit that lull in the book where it doesn’t light your fire the way it did at the beginning. (Expect a blog post about this later.) The revision module was especially useful right now, as the project I’m doing for the MFA is the revision of a very rough draft. (Also, expect a post about this too!) And I’d taken the marketing class before, but the instructor changed it up quite a bit and it was substantially better.

The guest speaker for this term was David Morrell. He wrote First Blood, the book that the entire Rambo franchise grew from. I’d seen him speak at SHU before, several years ago, and he was fantastic then. This time, it was less so. I did get an opportunity to speak with him a bit before the lecture. I’ve met him a number of times and so we were able to chat a little (once I reminded him of who I am – he introduced me to Peter Straub!). He’s a lovely man. I wish the talk had been a little more like he’d done before.

There were a number of fun social highlights too! There’s a wine social which is co-sponsored between the students and the alumni. It includes a book signing for published authors (I spent way too much money there!). I brought home more books for my To Be Read bookshelf. Yes. It’s an entire bookshelf. I’ve put myself on a book-buying moratorium.

Of course, the wine social eventually gravitates over to the dorms, where the non-wine beverages come out. There was much laughing and merriment and some wandering around campus late at night, drunkenly. (But not me!)

One of the really fun evenings was a student-organized reading night. We all gathered in the lobby of the Marriott hotel, brought some stories and read aloud. It was really great listening to everyone’s fiction. It was low-key, fun, and no pressure. Also, there was booze. That always seems to help! ;) Scott Johnson did an hysterical version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” which featured zombies munching on St. Nick and Cthulhu raising him from the dead. Again. I cried, I laughed so hard. I really encourage writers to read their work aloud. It’s good for the writing, because your ear will hear things your eyes miss. And it’s good practice for the future, when you’re published and giving readings at book signings!

At the end of residency, there is also normally graduation, with a reception following. This usually marks the official close. Again, we had no graduates this term, so we had no graduation. (I’m all about logic up in here.) We did, however, still have a reception. This is always the bittersweet part of residency. Everyone is exhausted from full schedules and lack of sleep, but no one really wants to leave each other. Some tears slipped down cheeks and lots of hugging helped assuage the sadness. But it really is bittersweet.

Yet… we still have Twitter! And since the end of #SHUres, we’ve tempted at least half a dozen of our non-Twittering colleagues to join. It is a SHU-Tweet revolution!

So the upcoming posts will often be about the program, what I’m doing and what I’m learning. So if you’re interested in a MFA program geared toward popular fiction, rather than literary fiction, hang around and get a taste of it here!