Monday, April 27, 2009

A Writer/Editor Marriage

The Pendragon Virus (SD #611 - Dec 90) was just reviewed by Va Book Lover at eHarlequin on April 27th, 2009, 2:22pm. Just how old is this book? Count 'em: 18 years, going on 19 in Dec. Every Girl's Guide To... was just reissued and it was a 12-year old book. So apparently oldies but goodies. :)

The Pendragon Virus pits a working mother standing up to a tough boss for employment amenities. A wager is on: He'll live her life, including being Mr. Mom to see just how difficult it is to be a working mother. (Mm. With today's benefits shrinking by the hour, maybe this book is more appropriate than I thought.) How neat that Va Book Lover would actually be brave enough to review an 18-year-old Desire. This was during my Melissa Senate as editor period. We worked together for about 10-years and I loved her light touch.

Those 10 years were sheer magic for me. A writer and editor can work in harmony. Or not. My feeling is that the writer, while able to ingest and contemplate suggestions from an editor, the basic book belongs to the mother, which is that writer.

Melissa went on to do other things and is now an author herself. You can find her at her website, or at Facebook, etc. Her first Red Dress Inc., See Jane Date, became a Lifetime movie.

Once a bookseller said of me, "She isn't going anywhere". Now that scared me, until she explained that I would probably have long shelf life. Oh, thank you, thank you.

Highly talented Melissa is going to be around for a long, long time, too.

A Super Interview: Writer's Slant

Silence the Whispers

BookstoreDeb has posted an interview with me. Naturally, I'm tossing out lots of writer-advice, if you want to drop over. (If so, please post a comment? Thanks.:))

Deb provides a nice interview, very thoughtful, so all that is necessary is to either talk in the answers with Dragon, or write them.

I met Deb at Lori Foster and Diane Casteel's Reader and Writer Event 2008, which I enjoyed so much. A real highly of the year. She does a nice job of presenting my Psychic Triplet Trilogy. I have more interviews coming up, so watch for them. In one, I'll play a character, the mother of the triplets, Greer Aisling. More fun.

As for Deb's interview, everyone has different experiences, but writers are a sharing lot, and some of the craft is hand-me-down. Naturally, this gets diluted a lot, but Dwight Swain's Techniques of the Selling Writer is still tops with me.
Techniques of the Selling Writer

I met this grand old gentleman, now passed, and gave him a copy of my first book, a catagory for Berkley Second Chance at Love. He sent a postcard that means more to me than most awards and it read something like, "You write a romance as it should be written".

I'm in spring office cleaning mode and looking at a laundry basket full of articles and awards, and hoping I find that postcard. How nice of Swain to take the time to send it. How lovely.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Makes a Writer


Back in the day, my first agent said the average writer waits 5-7 years, struggling with rejects, prior to publication. I've just watched a Borders video featuring Lisa Scottoline and what she has to say about how long it took her to publish hits the 5-year mark. I hope you'll watch Lisa Scottoline's interview as she addresses some of what she went through prior to publication and characterization/voice, and how she decided to "out" her secret desire to write. There's a saying among writers, "If you want to write, you will."

I've only met/heard of one other published writer who admitted that she had no desire to write until later in life, not at first grade whatever. The Desire came upon her mid-thirties, as it did me; however I was an intense reader prior to that.

We put so much of ourselves into our books, such as I do with all mine and especially Flashback, about a sister's suicide. My sister did not commit suicide, but in writing and unraveling Flashback, one of my favorite stories (they all are), my emotions about my sister gave me some understanding of what that horrifying event might mean.

There is always a connection to the story, something ramped up from a personal experience that starts a story idea rolling. It's important to concentrate on those nuggets and store them, as your emotions are stirred.

In Scottoline's interview, she adds that she also writes a Sunday column and teaches courses. So this is a highly active mind, multi-tasking, which I also think lends itself toward stirring up more stories.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Perfect Read

Garden Spells (Bantam Discovery)

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen has been in my TBR pile for some time (the best ones are stacked beside my bed). Since I love to garden, the book's cover drew me, plus the apples as I believe in apples. (Check out my apple-butter making at My Jam Jar.) I am not the chef/caterer that Allen features, but I try, and the whimsy of the story caught me. Dipped in Southern flavor, Garden Spells is a perfect read.

I truly could not put it down. Eyes aching, I had to envelope myself in Allen's beautiful world, that opens the past, the difficulties between sisters, and a seemingly odd, yet beautiful NC community, where families know each other's history a little too well, where comfort is drawn from oddities. The sisters (yes, I have a sister) travel many roads as do the other people involved, but they all twine together magically.

A beautiful read, unusual for my tastes, and totally enchanting, the darker spots of lives setting the background for beautiful patches.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Agent Fail and Query Fail

I've always believed that agents are KEY to a writer's success, and that more writer organizations should pay attention to the quality of those presented to their membership. The following obviously belong to the Top Shelf of Agents:
If you haven't visited agent Janet Reid's blog (FinePrint Literary Agency), and caught her posts, you're missing gobs of good writerly stuff. (Gobs=technical term for lots) Her post on Query Fail stirred up Agent Jessica Faust (don't you love that last name?) at Book Ends. She posted April 1, 2009, allowing for anonymous posts on Agent Fail. To date, there are 301 comments.

Try to keep up with these two, plus Dystel and Goderich's blog, which I've mentioned gobs. It's great to see agents like these step up to bad with good gobs, plus Agent Kristin Nelson, who also has a super enewsletter.

Please do read Query Fail and Agent Fail. Great posts. When agents admit that they may have one or two of the problems that "Anonymous" mentioned, that raises credibility quite a bit.

Of the Agent Fail problems, the top problem I've heard expressed is non-communication. That is the writer does not know where work is going, or what is happening, and the agent does not respond to followup queries. With email so handy for agents and editors, and only queried when necessary instead of a deluge, there is no excuse for non-response.