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.”

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.

Where Has My Muse Gone?

It’s mental constipation. It’s not pretty. It’s not pleasant. It’s a part of every writers’ life. Writers block happens, and sadly there’s no ex-lax for creativity. However, I do have some pointers to help you get those creative juices flowing again.

1. DON’T STOP! Just because everything you’re writing at the moment sucks, doesn’t mean you should give up completely. Some of your ideas may be salvageable, but more importantly when you just give up you’re just making the situation worse. Have you ever noticed that when kids are beginning a sport and it gets hard, they always try to sit a game out? They’re afraid of failure, and coaches know that letting the kids sit it out just heightens their fear. If you quit the first time, it’ll be easier to quit the next time, so stick with it.

2. Make a soundtrack. Movies get soundtracks, why can’t books have them, too? When you’re running low on inspiration, browse through your music collection and look for background music. Let your book play out like a movie in your mind’s eye, and set music to the scenes. Once you have picked out your music, try writing the scene to the music.

3. Try writing in first-person point-of-view for a while. If you’re already writing your book in first-person this won’t help you, but for everyone else this could be the key to getting through tough spots. When writing gets hard, switch to first person so that telling the story is more personal. Once you get back in your groove, switch back to your original point-of-view. And don’t worry about the first-person scene, you can fix it during your revisions.

4. Read a book. It’s not okay to give up, but it is okay to take a break. When writing gets hard for me, I’ve found that it’s usually because I’ve spent too much time with my manuscript, and the best way to distance myself from it without losing my motivation is to read a book because reading makes me want to write.

JulNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo only comes once a year, but for some that isn’t enough, so now we have JulNoWriMo. The same rules apply, which means by the end of July you should have written at least 50,000 words. This is great challenge for those of you who need motivating. You might not reach 50,000 words, but just image how good it will feel if you reach 40, 000, or 30,000. Give it a try!

I’m currently at 8,237 words.

 

Attention Romance Writers

Breaking into the romance market seems impossible at times. There are so many wonderful, published authors that it feels like there is no room for newbies, especially those of us who are unagented. Well, I have good news for you!

There a few online/small press publishers looking for manuscripts from writers like me and you. Anything from full length novels to fun-sized novellas, are accepted regardless of your credentials. No, this probably isn’t your shot at becoming the next New York Times Best Selling Author, but it is the foundation. Any previous publications look good in your query letter, and having something like this on your résumé just might make the difference to that agent you’ve been dying to snag.

So check out my Open Call for Submissions page, and see if there is anything there that interests you. I’ll update this page monthly for those of you who are interested. Also, I’m compiling a list of romance publishers and their criteria. I plan to have that page published July 10, 2011.