Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy Weekend

“Love, like a river, will cut a new path
whenever it meets an obstacle.”
- Crystal Middlemas -

The winners of the WOW-Women on Writing’s Fall Flash Contest are up (in the fine print near the bottom is my honorable mention). It’s always interesting to see what different authors do with a prompt, the different directions they take.

What’s on tap for this weekend? Well, I’m probably going to cave and take down our Christmas decorations. We’re also working on refinishing a linen closet (when we moved into this house a year ago, none of the closets were finished. And the house was built in ‘88. How do you live in a house that long with unfinished closets?).

I’ll also try to (change that--I really would like to) get some writing done this weekend. Maybe finish Paradise? Ooh, that would be great. We’ll see.

What about you? Any plans for this first weekend of 2007?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wading Through Contract Language

“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.”
~Erica Jong

Imagine my excitement to print out the contract that Samhain Publishing sent for One Night in Boston.

Imagine that it lasted all of about 60 seconds, and you’ll be on the right track. Because yikes! It’s a lot to wade through. I feel lucky that I signed a really basic one for Virtual Tales, and also that I discovered a sample one at EPIC’s site. RWR also does a good job of printing articles every so often that deal with contracts.

Still, I’m not a lawyer. So after a couple of hours of reading through, and jotting down questions, I emailed the publisher back. Hey, they said I could request changes…

We’ll see what their response is. Really, I only asked them to specify a couple of things (as in, author is not responsible for paying for editor’s services…author is allowed to use publisher name and trademark for promotion purposes…author would like some terms of termination just in case…)

I’ll keep you posted. Boy, is this a learning experience!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Motivation vs. Discipline

“The most precious possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman's heart.”
~ by Josiah G. Holland ~

Easing back into the routine of school…mmm…why does it get harder each time? All I know is, 5:30 comes awfully early in the morning!

These next couple of weeks, I really need to finish up the final chapters of Paradise, USA. The thing with Virtual Tales is, they’ll accept partial manuscripts as long as you have a clear outline of where you’re headed. Nice on one hand, but on the other hand…boy, it lets you squeak by on a ½ or ¾ finished story for a few months.

Now, I know where I’m going with the story, and since it was an old manuscript, I even have old chapters I’m resurrecting. I have a detailed outline I sent them before it was accepted, which I think is pretty tight.

I just have to write the damn thing. I have 6 chapters to go, about 2000 words each, so 12K words isn’t really that bad. Sitting my butt in the chair and forcing myself to do it, when I have other ideas running through my heads about other stories I want to work on, however, is another thing altogether.

I had a friend in college who was a serious wrestler. One time, I was complaining about not wanting to go to the gym to work out. I told him, “I don’t have any motivation today.”

His answer: “You don’t need motivation. You just need discipline.”


What about you? Ever have a really hard time buckling down and actually doing the writing? (Oh, come on. I know that’s a rhetorical question. Who hasn’t?)

Okay, but how do you motivate yourself--or rather, how do you discipline yourself into actually sitting and doing?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Rats With Islands

“Love is like pi -- natural, irrational, and very important.”
~ Lisa Hoffman

Here’s a good piece of advice from Jenny Crusie, stolen from Teach Me Tonight’s blog:

What's the worst that can happen? [...] at the end of your life you look back and say, "I had a dream and I fought for it, I believed in myself and my work, and I never, ever gave up.” That's a life well lived, folks, a helluva lot better than, “I had a dream but it wasn't realistic so I quit and watched television.” Do not let reality push you around, do not be sensible and kill your own dreams, and for the love of God do not let people who are only guessing about what's going to happen next tell you that you're a fool for believing in yourself and your stories.

And an interesting take on e-publishing, courtesy of Dee Tenorio:

Used to be that writers shunned ePubs because they wanted the big fish and found ePubbing detrimental to the goal. Now, though, we're all realizing that there's something to ePubbing that you can't find in endless contests and the speed of sand submission process: experience.

Want to find out what it is to be truly edited, complete with deadlines? Learn what it takes to make a book truly readable and complete instead of just hoping it is? Discover contracts and how they effect your career? Want feedback that matters in the bigger scheme of things---a buying public and reviewers? Creating a backlist and a readership before you sell to your first print only publisher? Figure out how to promote your work and take your career into your own hands instead of walking blindly into an ocean of questions? Even earn while you learn?

This is really what I hope to take away from my experiences with both Virtual Tales and Samhain Publishing. There is so much to know and learn about the business of writing, from giving wings to that very first idea to combing your way through contract language to choosing the perfect outfit for your Oprah appearance (*grin*).

E-publication may not have the glamour and prestige of print publication. It may be getting hard knocks from authors and agents and readers and writers alike. But you know what? If it’s one way for me to start swimming toward the island of my dreams, (complete with cabana boys, thank you very much), then I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

“Perfect love is rare indeed - for to be a lover will require that you continually have the subtlety of the very wise, the flexibility of the child, the sensitivity of the artist, the understanding of the philosopher, the acceptance of the saint, the tolerance of the scholar and the fortitude of the certain.” ~Leo Buscaglia

A brand new year…exciting! And just to start it off really well, 2 great things happened to me in the final days of 2006:
#1. I got to meet, in person, one of my virtual writing friends, Marianne

It’s a funny thing, seeing/speaking/sitting down and having coffee with someone you’ve come to know online over the years. We met way back at WVU, and though we’ve both jumped to a couple of different writing groups along the way, we both write romance and, interestingly enough, are both at about the same point in our journey to publication, so we have a lot in common. Plus we’re both witty and charming (not to mention good-looking, right?) ha ha…

But it was really nice to talk to someone else who writes. To talk about character, and conflict, and the struggles of breaking into the market. To bemoan contest judges who give a 100 and a 62 to the same entry. To vent about trying to find the time to write and be a wife/mother/homemaker/professional too. That’s why writing groups are so great, right?

But there is definitely something nice about doing it in person, too. To think of yourself as a writer first. To admit, out loud, that yes, you do hope to publish in print someday. Once you’ve said it, it’s somehow more real. More scary. And more possible.

#2. My manuscript One Night in Boston was accepted by Samhain Publishing!!!!!!

I love this novel; I really do. It was my second attempt at writing a “24 hour novel” - a romance that takes place over the course of a single day and night. I thought the idea was interesting, thought it hadn’t been done before, and so plunged in…and found it a lot harder to manage that I first imagined.

But thanks to my wonderful friends at WVU, along with some painful but ultimately helpful feedback from agents like Susan Ginsburg (and her assistant Emily Saladino) at Writers House, I finished it.

Then no one wanted it. Agents liked the idea but not the story itself, apparently. I decided to try e-press. And lo and behold, I come back from vacation to find an email from Samhain’s editor saying they love it.

I like a couple of things, especially, about this e-publisher: first, it was started up by a former editor of Ellora’s Cave, so she knows the business and the genre; second, the novels they publish go to print after the first 2-3 months of release; third, what research I’ve done seems to indicate that their authors are really happy with them; and fourth, (I’ll admit it), they offer a modest advance of $100. And it’s not so much about the $$ as the fact that they believe you’ll sell enough to cover that, which is a nice vote of confidence in your work.

So today I’m actually celebrating by going shopping for myself, something that doesn’t happen too often. Then it’s back to the computer, for a few more precious hours of writing before school starts up again tomorrow.

What are your plans for this first day of a brand new year?