Freestyle Friday: Project Publishing World Domination, Month 1

Hey, everyone! I had intended to use this morning’s post to write about the Love Inspired Reader luncheon I attended yesterday, and while I touch on it liberally, I wanted to contemplate what I’ve accomplished thus far in 2014 and set some goals for February. In other words, DANGEROUSLY LONG POST AHEAD! Here are the moves I made towards Project Publishing World Domination (henceforth known as 2PWD):

I’ve actually accomplished quite a bit:

  •  I bought the domain for this site, copywrite1985.com. I’m so excited about this! I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. Right now, this serves as my author site until I can get something else going.
  • I received books to review and booked blog tour stops to add to my Copywrite1985 offerings. I’ve received and began reviewing several Entangled Publishing Offerings, and have started the process of acquiring some Harlequin Heartwarming titles for review, among others. I hope you all are enjoying seeing what I’m reading, and hope you find a title or two to add to your TBR pile. Don’t worry; they won’t all be romance (at least, I don’t think so)–I have some non-fiction in the works as well.
  • I attended the Love Inspired Readers’ Luncheon. Oh, readers! This was amazing! The lovely Debby Guisti (pronounced, I learned, Juice-Tea) of Seekerville and Love Inspired Suspense fame gifted me a ticket to this event and proved herself to be a warm, wonderful woman filled with love.
The lovely Debby Guisti signing copies of her March Love Inspired Suspense release, The Agent's Secret Past.

The lovely Debby Guisti signing copies of her March Love Inspired Suspense release, The Agent’s Secret Past.

All of the authors were sweet women, and I enjoyed getting to mix and mingle with so many authors (nine in total). I also got to meet the Senior Editor for the Love Inspired line, Melissa Endlich

Ms. Endlich giving the opening remarks

Ms. Endlich giving the opening remarks

and Publisher’s Weekly’s Barbara Vey. Hopefully one day soon Melissa Endlich will be approving a cover for one of my books, and Ms. Vey will feature my work on her Publisher’s Weekly blog, Beyond Her Book.

The quote of the day belongs to Marta Perry. When the authors were asked how they write the male perspective during the Q&A, they all said men were easy to write. “The men we write are idealized,” Ms. Perry commented. “If we wrote them as they are, there’d be no dialogue.” The lone male in the room, operating the audio visual equipment, grunted in dissension. “See,” Linda Goodnight pointed out, “there wasn’t any dialogue in that.”

The Q & A Panel--Marta Perry, Linda Goodnight (coolest name ever, BTW) Missy Tippens, and Debby Guisti

The Q & A Panel–Marta Perry, Linda Goodnight (coolest name ever, BTW) Missy Tippens, and Debby Guisti

Fun times. Here are the authors signing my books:

  • I entered a contest to attract the attention of agents. The contest is the Blind Speed Date Contest that Cupid’s Lit Connection puts on. The purpose of the site is to connect writers and agents in literary love matches (what a fun concept!). The bouncers for the contest choose 40 entries to be posted to the sight and agents (using Honorary Cupid names) shoot arrows at entries when they would like to see a partial or a full of the manuscript from. I won’t know if I made it past the bouncers until the 12th, and there’s a week of voting before the winners and the agents are revealed. So prayers and the like are appreciated.
  • I attended my first RWA meeting. The short version: learned quite a bit and can’t wait to go again.
  • I bought a subscription to Writer’s Digest. I had one before, but I decided to start it up again (after about 10 years) now that I am actively pursuing publication. I have the first issue on my kindle which, fittingly, spotlights publishing.
  • I bought On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels (a favorite romance writer of mine). There are a ton of books out there on writing and quite a few on writing romance, but I have read and loved Leigh’s books over the years. I trust her writing ability and ability to sell to Harlequin, so I want to read how she crafts her books, synopses and queries. Hopefully it’s a good tool.
  • I started the follow up to my NaNoWrimo book. The follow up to Delivering Justice, thus far, is known on the internet as Mr. Last Name Basis. I came up with this name because the character goes by his last name more than his first name and wasn’t letting me get close to him. He’s opening up a bit now, but I like the moniker. I have a title, but not sharing. I hope you will love this prickly character and his spunky heroine. I’ll share more when the book develops more.
  •  I identified the necessary revisions I have left to NaNoWriMo book. In order for me to make it the best story possible, I know I have to expand two key scenes and add two scenes, as well as add in a detail here and there. The chapter swaps with my critique partners has gone well. Both of my critique partners were offered publishing contracts this month!! I’m among a group of talented women.
  •  Outlined two different series I plan to write.  One series begins with Delivering Justice, and has three other books. The other is an eight book series.
  • Generally kicked butt.

When I see it all written out like that, it’s a wonder I’m still kicking! Not as much writing as I would like this month, but moving the dream forward.

So what’s on the agenda for the month of February (the awesome month that includes both a day all for love & my birthday)?

My second RWA meeting. I am going to use some extra funds this month to officially join RWA and my local chapter. I’m so excited about this step!

I get the results of the Blind Speed Date Contest I entered at Cupids Lit Connection–good, bad or indifferent–mid-month. If speed dating doesn’t work out, I’ll be submitting Delivering Justice directly to publishers. On my list of possible submissions: Harlequin, Lyrical Press, Entangled Publishing and Avon Books for sure.

I have nearly a week off for my birthday–during which time I hope to get a huge chunk of book two of my series written, continue planning publishing world domination, and relax my face off. I also want to get in there and finish my Love Inspired So You Think You Can Write entry revisions.

As you can see, I don’t have as many things planned for February. I like to think I’m leaving room for this short but special month to surprise me in the most positive, life changing ways.

How did you do on your writing goals for the month of January?

Advertisements

You Can Do That?

As I was thinking about my choices for the multicultural reading list post I did a few weeks ago, it struck me exactly what Jean Rhys had done: she took a classic story that she was unsatisfied with, changed the perspective of the story, and came up with something completely new. Instead of taking Charlotte Bronte’s word for it that Bertha was crazy and poor Mr. Rochester was doing the best he can, Rhys gave Antoinette (whom Rochester renamed Bertha) the chance to tell her story.

Of course, this isn’t new. Rosencrantz and Gildenstern were given the opportunity to tell their side of a famous Shakespeare play. Ophelia has been liberated from Shakespeare’s distracting rendering of her story. We’ve seen this done quite a few times, sometimes with fresh new stories that I like better than the original (and I’m sure you can guess which one of these three I feel that way about).

I’ve been thinking about this all day. What story would I like to retell from a different perspective(s)? Which character would I like to vindicate, implicate, or validate? Would I ever try to publish such a story?

I’m still mulling over my answer, but I’d like to hear some of yours.

Random Thoughts Friday

  • NaNoWriMo is having an official summertime NaNoWriMo called Camp NaNoWriMo. Is anyone thinking of doing this? I personally would have liked a bit more notice, so I could begin thinking of what I would have wanted to do, but I just may try it. It might necessitate becoming friends with my local library for a few hours a day, but who knows what it could yield?
  • I have some exciting posts I’m working on…well, exciting to me. One is the Ten Commandments of Editing (feels a little sacreligious to call it “the Ten Commandments”, but there are ten of them, and I enjoy excuses to use “thee” and “thou”). Another is how editing a book can improve your relationship. I have a massive amount of link love to distribute as well.
  • I found some fiction that I wrote when I was a senior in high school on a fiction website. Some of it is really good and I really want to continue it. One piece in particular sounds like the beginning of a pretty good Harlequin. I was actually sitting there going, “what happens next?” I don’t remember, although I know that there are at least three more chapters written stored away in Michigan. It makes me even more excited to go home.
  • I thought I had more to talk about, but I actually have more things to write, as in writing that may one day be published. That’s a good thing. I’ll try to post what I can this weekend from the promised posts and pieces for the Untitled page. Thanks for reading!

How are you spending your weekend? Any exciting news to share?

(Untitled)

Maybe you’ve noticed that there’s a little tab on the top of my blog called (Untitled). Maybe you’ve wondered what on Earth can be found under this ambiguous title. Wonder no more; I am going to tell you.

Since this is a writing and reading blog (but primarily a writing blog), I wanted to be able to share bits of my writing with you. Of course, it can’t be anything that I want to publish, as I’ve been informed publishing on a personal blog counts as first publication rights, but I wanted to write quality pieces on my blog, both to give you a sense of how I write, and to get feedback. So I created Untitled one day when a blog post  suddenly began to transform into a short creative writing piece.

I posted a new creative non-fiction piece there today, which brings the total up to a whopping two pieces. I would love to hear your thoughts on them, should you feel like reading them. I will update as often as I have something to add, or if there seems to be a demand. It should be noted most of the pieces there, as with most of the posts on the blog, are first drafts, written in one sitting on the day of publication, and not polished or finished products. I will indicate whether it is otherwise on the piece.

Again, I hope that you read (and comment) on the pieces I share. Thanks!

The Gang’s All Here

Themed birthday party, ca. 1910-1915, likely i...

Image via Wikipedia

When I was a little girl, about eleven years old, I had a birthday party. I was allowed to invite anyone that I wanted to. I invited the requisite family members and all of my best friends to my house for a party overflowing with pizza, ice cream, and buttercream frosting covered yellow sheet cake. This was going to be the greatest birthday party I’d ever had. It wasn’t going to be like the time when my younger cousin (birthday two days before mine), sitting on my lap to take a birthday picture, rammed his face and chubby little hands into the cake, destroying Ms. Piggy while leaving his Raphael Ninja Turtle unscathed. It wouldn’t be like the time when four people came with the chicken pox and gave me the disease. It wasn’t going to be like the time there was a blizzard and all the guest who managed to make it got snowed in at my aunts. Yes, I was still sharing a party with my younger cousin (four years younger) and my little brother (eight years younger), but my friends would be there this year.

Only, none of those friends came. I was so diappointed. While my little brother and cousin took pictures of them with their birthday booty, I pouted in a corner. All of my friends had baulked at coming to this “baby party.” I was, once again, the only one not having fun at my birthday party.

This isn’t an example of the worst birthday I’ve ever had. I’ve been in many a more awkward situation (hanging out with drunks, for example) on my birthday. It’s not the best birthday I’ve ever had either (that would have to be the weekend my boyfriend came to visit and took me to FISS, to dinner, to parties, to church, and bought me new shoes!). But, looking back on that birthday, I took away a valuable lesson.

There are times when I’m outlining, writing, or just living when I think of great characters. These characters are funny, daring, interesting, smart, beautiful, rich, elite. Of course, they must go in this story. Oh, I just have to befriend her. I invite them to my “literary” “writing parties.”  It’s very strategic. I know they will liven things up, open up old wounds for a character, push a character into doing something they really shouldn’t do, or provide the reader with a few good laughs. I just have to have them at my party.

Only, they don’t show up. Instead, I get the characters that I knew would be there, the family of the fiction world. I get the over protective aunts, the fashionable older aunt, the bad cousins. I get the people you have to prepare for by hiding your purse and putting away anything breakable. I get the people you never really invite but who always manage to find the party.

The thing is, though, in fiction and in life, the people who should be there, who need to be there, all show up. Maybe the popular girl at school didn’t show up, but my favorite uncle who always makes me laugh was there to cheer me up. Maybe the catty high school nemesis hasn’t yet shown up in my story, but the best friend who always has my MC’s back and gets them into (and out of) a fair share of scrapes was the first one to show up.

If you look through my social media, email accounts, and cell phone, the people I wanted at that party are largely conspicuous by their absence. When I look back on that party, on the way I eventually had a great time with the people who really are important, I don’t notice their absence at all.

The same thing goes for a good story. No ones going to miss a great character who doesn’t fit. Sometimes the characters we want don’t show up to the party. But everyone who needs to get there will get there eventually…even if they do show up late, drunk, and without a present. 😉

So, I’m encouraging myself to trust my writing and not force the wrong characters into my story. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. Let that character, and yourself, go free. He might just show up in another story. This is my birthday present to myself, the gift to be free of my own outlines and get lost in the story.

What Writers are Writing:February 18th

The British Museum Reading Room. A panorama of...

The British Museum Reading Room. Image via Wikipedia

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been a very productive week for me on this site. Even though I pledged to do a PostaWeek here, I’ve done three posts already! I am getting a CC License put up on the blog later today, as I plan to share some of my original writings with you under a new page, Untitled (no, really, that’s the title). The first thing I’ll be sharing is the creative non-fiction piece I mentioned earlier this week. Now, onto my favorite reading & writing links for the week!

The Reading Posts:

After reading this explanation of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin over on Three Hundred pages by Kiley C., I am adding this to my (ever growing) To Read list. I’d heard about Gretchen before, but I’d never actually known what the book was about. Selfmanic shared his trials with reader’s block over on Off the Mark and Roaming. I especially enjoyed “When Bad Titles Happen to Good Books” by Alec Nevala-Lee, as I’ve been struggling with naming my own works lately. Finally, Kaye over at Have Coffee…Will Write discusses her love of romance novels (which I very much love, too!) and defends the genre.

As for writing, Amanda gave me two really good posts (as per usual) to ponder. One was about the attitude one should have towards rejections. The other was suggesting we use our senses when strapped for story ideas. Ana discusses getting over her aversion to the word “heroine” and embracing the addictive qualities a main character should have in her blog post “Embracing my Heroine.” Sonia M. finds inspiration in an unlikely source in “Mining a Migraine.” Nova shared her excitement over her book blurbs and asked “where do you write?” over on her blog Distraction no. 99.

I love Janna’s blog, JannaTWrite’s Blog! Her post this week, “What a Caesar Salad Taught Me About Writing-And Life” is especially good. I could certainly related to Ana’s discomfort when trying to write something and not being able to because of someone’s voice in your head, although my post on that would not be titled “Sex, Writing, and my Mother-in-Law.” Of course, I haven’t worked on my novel lately, so Jessica Stilling’s Guest post “Five Reasons You’re Not Writing Your Novel” really hit home. Once you write your novel, how are you going to publish. Catana gives some good thinks to consider in “A Few Notes about Indie Publishing.”

If you have any great links that I missed, feel free to post them in the comments. Please read the links provided, and keep checking back here for more content and reading suggestions! 🙂

This Never Happened to Me Before

A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the...

I am in deep thought, too...but with clothes on...Image via Wikipedia

I wanted to write a simple post today about something that I did in high school and intersperse some observations about the writing life and the writing craft in it. You may have noticed I sometimes “set the scene” with a little vignette that’s meant to set up the “meat” of the post.

Well, as I was setting up my little vignette, something strange happened. It started to spin out into this who non-fiction piece. I started to say profound things without trying. My mind unfolded to similies and metaphors without effort. All of a sudden, instead of introducing a blog post, I was writing a creative non-fiction piece.

I’ve sat down to write and not been able to come up with anything. I’ve started writing and had a piece go pear-shaped. I’ve even started writing and have a character (or an entire piece) take a sharp left turn. But I’ve never had a blog post go all “real writing” on me.

The thing is, I was thinking about sharing some of my writing here–not a lot, I still have trust issues, you understand–but I didn’t think it would be non-fiction or, well, on this topic. When I envisioned myself sharing a piece with you, I envisioned it being a little poetry, or a mini-scene. I was going to do some flash fiction exercises or something on here, you know, nothing fancy that may possibly get published later (I mean, don’t magazines want first publication rights? Would posting something on my blog count as publication? Help!).

I was so blindsided with an attack of the green-eyed monster and my problems building a big blog following that I almost missed the fact that I’ve had several ideas that could further stories this week. For example, the very non-fiction piece I’m speaking of brought to mind an area in the dorms where residents practiced music that would be perfect for A Blues for Zora (somewhere–I’m thinking Hershey’s place? Hmm…). I was also thinking that it’s perfectly normal for someone approaching their class reunion age to have a quarter life crisis, as per the wikipedia definition that came up on a post I was writing. I even thought how much better my chick lit is going to be than something I’m reading right now, because I am not doing something that’s standard chick but am going to do something that’s so Bildungsroman. And it will all be EPIC.

To what unexpected places has a blog post draft led you? Maybe for you, through the act of typing up a post, some miraculous insight into writing, your works in progress, or life, has hit you. Maybe you were struck with the idea of making the post a series of post. Whatever it was, feel free to share!

Marketing by Submitting

Gandhi drafting a document at Birla House, Mum...

Ghandi I am not... Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been thinking of ways in which I can broaden the readership of my blogs and get my writing self out there. I told you about submitting a short story for possible publication, but in the meantime I want to get more eyes on my blogs. Enter some guest posting!

There are a few blogs that I follow that have guest posting opportunities. They have bigger readerships than mine have, more regular commentors, and will therefore give me more exposure than my recent efforts (one can only force so many of one’s friends to actually read one’s blogs…and those that do will more than likely NOT become regular readers).

I’m not just submitting guest post ideas to them simply to further my readership, however; I really want to participate in their blogs. I love what they are doing and I want a chance to be a part of it. Plus, I need practice submitting things.

I’ve written more comments in recent months than I think is healthy. I’ve shared the link love on this blog and others. I even make a point of using pingbacks when I want to expand on something someone else brought up. I post daily or weekly on my blogs. I have played around with the design of the blogs and tweak the layouts. I’m having guest posts on my main blog. I’m observing all the laws of blogging etiquette, yet the following hasn’t come. Yes, I write blog posts for me as much as for others, but not getting feedback on some of the issues I am struggling with or validation from a growing readership can make it seem more or less pointless some days.

I’ve never been good at marketing my writing. I’m one of those writers where if people read it, they like it, and will continue to read and be loyal. The thing is, I have trouble getting people to read. As aforementioned, I’ve tried all kinds of promotion, both direct and indirect, and it hasn’t seemed to help. I’m not any closer to any of my writing or blogging goals.

So, how do you develop a readership when none of the traditional things seem to work for you? Is it a case of me wanting to give up too soon (after a year and a half of consistent, quality blogging, and a couple decades of writing in general)? What has helped you develop your following and readership? Do you have guest posting opportunities on your blog?