Writers’ Toolbox: Predators & Editors

Predators & Editors is the place to go when you’re in search of an agent. There are a lot of websites out there that keep a running list of agents, and even searchable databases, but those websites are not always aware of how trustworthy those agents are. Predators & Editors is great about keeping their website up-to-date on which agents are reputable and which aren’t. So, before you send out that query make sure to the check the credibility of the agent your querying.

Can’t Resist Covers

I love Samhain’s cover art, but today I ran across two publishers that could give them  a run for their money, Carina Press, and Lyrical Press.

 

Writers’ Toolbox: Duotrope’s Digest

I have to thank Caszie for introducing me to Duotrope’s Digest. It’s the go to place if you’re looking to get published in the fiction or poetry market. They have the most comprehensive list of publishers that I’ve come across, and they have a detailed search engine. You just type in all the details of your manuscript, and tada, you have a suitable list of publishers to submit to. Better yet, they have response time stats and acceptance rate stats, and they gather this information through their submission tracker; which could be highly beneficial to you if you’re looking for a way to keep up with all of your outgoing submissions, and publishers you’re interested in.

Written Right Wednesdays: Darkfever

Since we’ve been on the topic of hooks this week, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorites. The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning is superb, and in my opinion Darkfever has one of the best hooks of all time.  (Click on the quote for a full excerpt of Darkfever)

“My philosophy is pretty simple–any day nobody’s trying to kill me is a good day in my book.”

Beautiful! There is a reason this book is a bestseller, and it’s Moning’s ability to suck you into the story. Her writing is suspenseful and intriguing. When writing your hooks–scratch that, when writing your entire manuscript, you should incorporate this same atmosphere. Readers want to feel the tension. Make me want to read more. If your first sentence isn’t good enough grab my attention, chances are, neither is the rest of your story. I’m not saying this to be cruel, but you need to realize that first impressions last the longest. Think of Twilight. Why do you think so many people made it through the insanely slow pace of that book? The prologue! It catches your attention.

“I’d never given much thought to how I would die–though I’d had reason enough in the last few months–but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.”

Whether you love or hate Twilight doesn’t change the fact that that’s a good opening line, because it makes the reader curious. Who’s going to die? Why? How? What reasons did the narrator have to think he/she would die?

Your hook should create questions, so that people have a reason to move forward.

Writers’ Toolbox: Absolute Write & Romance Divas

Writing is networking. If no one reads your material, then what is the point of writing it? The best way to put yourself out there and make connections, is to join a writers’ community. They are the perfect places to meet like-minded individuals, potential beta readers/critique partners, and keep up with the current industry news. My favorites are Absolute Write and Romance Divas.

Take my advice register for an account with at least one of them, today. You won’t regret it.

I Want To See Your Hook

Every great book has a great hook.

Bad rhyme aside, there’s a wealth of truth in that statement. We live in a fast-paced world, and you have to assume everyone has ADHD. If you want a reader to get past the first page, you have to grab their attention and hold on to it. Nothing does this like a great hook. Unfortunately, there is no recipe for greatness. As my Mama would say, “it either is one or it ain’t.”

The question is, how do you know if it’s a great hook?

The only way to really test your hook is to let others read it and be the judge. That’s what this post is for. In the comments, post your hook (one to two sentences) and your blog/website address(preferably to an excerpt or blurb, if you have one). I will post everyone’s hook in a new post, and you’ll see how intriguing your hook is by the number of hits your link gets. And even if your happy with your hook, this is a great why to advertise.

So show me your hook!

Alpha Male Monday: Adam Hauptman

Adam Hauptman is alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack. He has a strict moral code, and a hot-temper. Anyone who knows him knows where he stands on any issue, and how he will react to a threat. Adam is loyal, brave, and a complete control freak.

Species: Werewolf
Occupation: Owns a security company
Weaknesses: His daughter, Jesse, and a hot temper
Special Qualities:immortal, ex-military, raised in the south, and he’s fourth in line to become Marrok (the lead alpha position).

 

 

I am eternally indebted to Patricia Briggs for brings me the Mercy Thompson Series, and if you haven’t read it yet, shame on you! It’s wonderful. Adams great, but Mercy is better. She’s my favorite heroine of all time. She’s not whinny or overly feministic. She has that balance.

Six Sentence Sunday #1

Below are six sentences from my latest work-in-progress, Let Me Lie. I’m still in the process of writing it, but if I’m successful with JulNaWriMo, it will be ready for revision/rewriting by August.

“It only takes one bad decision to ruin a perfectly good future. One minute you’re living life to the fullest, the next, you’re dealing out death just to ensure you take your next breath, because dying is not an option. I’m not talking about the six-feet-under kind of dead. I would welcome that with arms wide open at this point, because the way my life’s going it’ll be the only peace I ever know. It’s the unnatural death I fear. A salvationless eternity of hunger, pain, and loneliness.”

Yummy Covers

 

 

 

Writers’ Toolbox: Writer Beware

The road to getting published is full of potholes. Around every corner there is a scammer waiting to trick you out of your money. They know a newbie when they see one, and they go straight for the jugular. So, while trying to land an agent or publisher it’s best to continuously check websites like WRITER BEWARE. They’ll keep you posted on all the publishing dirt, like who’s using nonstandard contract clauses, which publishers are skipping payments, and which literary sharks to look out for. This is an invaluable source!

Bookmark it! At some point in your publishing journey you will need it.

The Blurb

It’s sounds like a bad horror film, and if you’ve ever written you’ve one, then you know that’s not such a bad comparison. Blurbs are hard work. You have to sum up the concept of the plot, introduce the characters, and engage your readers in two paragraphs or less.  It’s enough to make any writer consider a career change. I wish I knew of some secret formula to make writing blurbs easy, but there just isn’t one. The best advice I can give you is to familiarize yourself with as many blurbs as possible. Writing is a “watch and learn” process, so browse your local bookstore and pay close attention to the blurbs. Which ones catch your attention? Why? Which ones didn’t?

A blurb that caught my attention today was Vivian Arend’s Black Gold. It’s short, funny, and intriguing.

Their wolves are howling at the moon. Their human halves are on different planets.

Takhini Wolves, Book 1

Lone wolf Shaun Stevens’s automatic response to the words “happily ever after”? Kill me now. Yet with all his friends settling down he’s begun to think there may actually be something to this love-and-roses crap.

One thing’s for sure: his dream mate will have to out-cuss, out-spit and out-hike him. So he never expected the one to push his forever button would be a blue-blooded Southern debutante with a voice as dark and velvety as her skin.

When Gemmita Jacobs steps off the plane in Whitehorse, Yukon, it’s about more than her caribou research project. It’s her declaration of independence from an overprotected upbringing. Except there’s something in the air she can’t quite define—something that unexpectedly rouses her mating instincts.

Moments after their eyes lock, the deed is done—and done thoroughly. When the pheromone dust settles, though, all the reasons they don’t belong together become painfully clear.

It’s enough to make a wolf learn a whole new set of cuss words…


Product Warnings

Two strong wolves getting exactly what they deserve. Includes wilderness nookie, shifters being naughty in public places, the Midnight Sun as a canopy for seduction and grizzly shifters on the loose. Oh, and don’t forget the sarcasm.

Samhain’s Retro Romance Line

Samhain Publishing has opened a new line dedicated to bringing back out-of-print books from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s. These books will be published as ebooks, and will receive copyediting, formatting, cover treatment and wide digital distribution. So if you’re interested in reviving one of your old manuscripts, check out their submission guidelines.

Writers’ Toolbox: Pub Rants

Landing an Agent is no small task. It takes hard work, dedication, and a little “know how.” If you’re manuscript is in agent-ready condition then I’d say you’ve already mastered hard work and dedication, now you need someone to show you the ropes. Agent Kristin Nelson is just the woman you’re looking for. Nelson is the President and Senior Literary Agent of Nelson Literary Agency, LLC. She’s represented bestsellers such as Gail Carriger, Ally Carter, Sara Creasy, and Sherry Thomas. She’s experienced and successful, which makes her blog, Pub Rants, a must have. Nelson keeps it updated with the latest news in the publishing industry, and helpful pointers on how to land your own agent. Give it a click, you won’t regret it.

Kill That Trend: Leather Pants

Some of my favorite authors are guilty of this next Fiction Faux Pas (Lora Leigh, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and J.R. Ward). I guess they just haven’t gotten the memo; leather suits are for bikers(and even then they look stupid), and comic book heroes. They are not appropriate for anyone else. Don’t believe me. Ask yourself this, how many people did you see decked out in leather, today? I bet you could count all of them on one hand, or none. And don’t give me that line about leather being functional for killing(it’s common in paranormal), because I can think of a dozen serial killers that wouldn’t be caught dead in leather pants.

I understand that this is fiction and I’m supposed to suspend my disbelief, but there is nothing that will bring reality crashing down on my head faster that a supermodel-sexy man dressed in leather. That doesn’t happen in real life, and my imagination can’t grasp that it would happen in any alternate universe, either. So please, please, please, stop putting your heroes in leather pants. Trust me when I say, this is providing readers with the wrong kind of entertainment.

Leather Jackets are okay.

Writers’ Toolbox: Reviewfuse.com

Like all industries, the writing business is monopolized. The web is changing that. It used to be the big publishing houses, but now we have indie presses. Once there was just writing conferences, and now there are dozens of writers forums. Back in the day, getting the latest news in the publishing world was having an inside source, today we have blogs. But the catch is, for all these new resources to be helpful, you have to know where to find them.

So, in an effort to help enlighten the masses (or at least the small number of you who read my blog), I’m going to post try and post a different source for writers everyday.  We’ll start with a critique site that I stumbled across last year, Reviewfuse.

Reviewfuse is a community for any type of writer: novelist, essayist, short story authors, poets, etc. EXCEPT for erotic romance/erotica (I was sad to hear that, too). Here’s how it works…

1. You become a member. IT’S FREE! But you can pay for a premium subscription.

2. You upload a piece of your work. You can either set it to private or public. If you choose private, only assigned reviewers will be able to see it, allowing you to retain first publishing rights. However if you make it public, anyone on the site can review it.

3. For guaranteed reviews, you submit your work. Once you do this, you’ll be assigned to do critiques of others work but at your own pace. If you’re a premium member you do 2 critiques and receive 3, and if you are just a basic user you do 4 critiques and receive 3. The great thing about the Reviewfuse is the structured critique format. It allows for in-line comments, and it has rating system for all areas of writing: plot, dialogue, etc. The site is set up in a way that allows you to get the most out of your reviews.

TADA–that’s it. You usually receive your critiques within 72 hours of finishing your assigned reviews.