Labor Pains

When I was a teenager/in my early twenties, one of my relatives wrote a book and wanted me to read it. Well, actually, I believe she gave it to my aunt to read and because I like to read/proofread, I ended up with it. It was her first book and as far as I read, it was comparing visions to pregnancy. Sometime last year I became acquainted with a youtube video of a keynote at a conference that referenced the same thing. Apparently it’s a really useful analogy with women in the religous world. To be honest, when I was given my cousin’s book, I was befuddled and a little disturbed.

I never finished editing that book. My cousin hired someone to edit it and it was published. As a writer, I feel terrible that someone gave me their book baby and I DNF’d on it. When my usual beta reader was reading my daily output of Delivering Justice, I felt that feeling ramp up in me. It’s especially bad now that I’ve given the marriage book to my minister to beta read.

So, in honor of my late cousin and my regret for not realizing how ahead of her time her book was (possibly), I am going to compare my book journey with the marriage book to a pregnancy and childbirth. (Sigh) OK, here it goes.

The seed for this book (and I’m a little grossed out already) came from a frustration with the fact that people were always pestering me about when I was going to get married, but no one seemed to be willing to share with me any useful information about being married. It was like the number one rule of marriage was you don’t talk about marriage–except to tell people to get married.  As the idea took root, I began to think about a)how I could get people to stop asking me when I was getting married without resorting to rudeness and b)how to get the information I really wanted to know about being married.

After some initial doubts and second guessing, of downplaying and explaining away the symptoms, I realized that I was pregnant with a book (gah! typing “I realized I was pregnant” in any context right now is just…*lays down in the corner for a while*). Once I knew I had a book growing inside of me, there was no way I could abort it.

Boy or girl? There were a couple of ways this book could have turned out. I could: write a book about a subject I’m not all that authorized to talk about (hello! I’m not married); write an intensely personal account of my own journey to marriage (which, since I’m not married, seems a bit premature), or; talk about something I actually do know about–being single. The thing is, I didn’t want to write some book about how it was so great to be single. I’d been content with being single for a long time. I didn’t have much to learn there. The point was that I wanted to know about marriage. It took a while, but I finally found the book I could write: a book that focused on being a content single woman who is also acquiring biblical knowledge about what it would mean to be a wife. I was having that book.

I conducted the first interview (the official start of this book making process) nearly four years ago in August of 2010. Since then, I have conducted many more interviews, study scripture intensely, gone through two different pre-marital counseling courses, attended years of monthly Marriage and Family workshops, wrote in fits and starts, and…stayed single.

I’ve experienced my share of Braxton-Hicks contractions with this book. I thought I was going to get it out into the world many times before now. I thought I had someone to help me with publishing. I thought I knew who would design my cover. I thought the book was finished. In every instance, I was told it was a false alarm. It wasn’t time yet.

I’ve never been in labor  myself, but from what I understand (mostly from TV), labor starts slow and can take a long time. But then, things start happening, and the next thing you know, TA DA! Baby is here! My labor began pretty slowly as well. I began working on the book again after a hiatus writing and subbing romantic fiction. I saw someone who had a book coming out post a picture of their cover and thank their graphic designer. The cover looked really nice, so I looked at the designer’s portfolio. I really liked what I saw, so I asked her for a quote for a cover design and formatting for kindle and physical books.

Then the contractions began to come faster together. I wasn’t sure if I could afford the quote that I was given, so I told her to let me think about it. Soon after, I was asked to do paperwork for someone who promised to pay me well for doing it on short notice. Then my minister agreed to beta read the book for me. Then someone else offered to help pay for the book cover. Then a visiting minister’s wife (who has self-published two books of her own) said she would help me with any part of the publishing process that I needed help with. I did a good chunk of the paperwork and received enough money to pay the downpayment the graphic designer asked for in her quote. A couple of beta readers have my book and I have the downpayment to commission the cover,  all in less than two weeks.

I’ve kept the name of this book baby close for a long time. Once I get that cover, I will reveal the cover and the title. I have a really good feeling that this book is going to be here really soon now.

So, that’s (most) of my journey from aspiring author to (almost) proud book parent. How is your journey going?

XOXO,

Erica

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Writing From the Brink

Before we get into the meat of this post, a swift recap on my April goals:

  • Get (more) feedback on Delivering Justice. Nothing yet, but I’m hoping that’s a good sign. Tomorrow marks three weeks since I sent in the manuscript, and as this wasn’t a fast track contest submission, I’m settling in for a longer wait. I’ll diary ahead to check on this once the normal window is up, fourth of July weekend (which seems SO FAR AWAY).
  • Finish judging my contest entries for Touch of Magic. I judged them, but have to make a few tweaks to formatting and labeling and send them back in tonight.
  • Finish rough draft of Love Thy Enemy. I’m over 15k words in and finally able to devote some real time to this manuscript. I lost my way with it for a while, but now I think I’m finding my groove again.
  • Continue Mr. Last Name Basis. Still haven’t done this actively yet. I did, however, come up with an idea for a better beginning than the one I currently have.
  • Create a page for my WIPs for the site. Doing this right after I finish this post.

The past couple of weeks I have been completely off my writing routine. I got a new bed that inspired me to sleep in instead of dragging myself to my writing corner. I’d be more motivated to go to said writing corner to work if I had a desk and office chair where I could work, or at the very least a comfortable papas an chair, but I don’t. So getting myself to write has been a bit of a struggle. But Quentin and Annabeth, my hero and heroine from #LoveThyEnemy, have been giving me insights into their characters lately that have spurred me on, so I’ve been diligently working my way through parts of their story.

Another thing that got me back into writing was getting the victim disposition from the prosecutor in the case of the drunk driver who hit me. He was sentenced on a lesser charge and received probation. There doesn’t appear to be any prohibitions or restrictions on his driving, however. I could feel a bit of helplessness creep in. I may be driving down the road with this guy again. In another year, he will be completely free of any ramifications of his actions if he doesn’t violate probation, and a year after the accident I still can’t drive without being nervous. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

I’m working out my own issues with #LoveThyEnemy. This story hinges on Annabeth not only forgiving Quentin of what he’s done to her family, but learning to love him in spite of what he’s done in the past for the man he is now. Writing from Annabeth’s perspective brings up a bad memory or two, but stepping back and examining it artistically helps me to put it into perspective. Writing from Quentin’s perspective is helping me to understand that even when we are responsible for causing so much pain to others, it’s not necessarily because we are bad people. All of us are in need of grace and should be given grace if we ask for it. The way that Annabeth clings to the wrong that Quentin has done to her has stopped her from moving forward, not him. Quentin has had to fight guilt and shame every step of the way, but he’s in a much better place when the book starts than she is. Hopefully I’ll be in a much better place when I type “The end.”

How is your life informing your writing and vice-versa?

XOXO

Erica

The Best to Get Over a Rejection…

…is to get under a new WIP.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a writing post up here. You might think that this is because I am wallowing in rejection, but you would be wrong. I am not wallowing. I don’t have time to wallow. Aside from the reviews I post here (mainly from Entangled Publishing because they give me books), I also review for Harlequin Junkie. This month I am also reviewing entries for my chapter’s writing contest, Touch of Magic. My critique partners have been through edits and revisions with their contracted books and are starting to send chapters from their latest WIPs. I’m buried under reading, people. Buried, I tell you.

But despite all of that, and the crushing disappointment of not selling Delivering Justice on the first try, I am writing. I put #MrLastNameBasis on hold for a while after the rejection and said I would focus on reading through some old words, but what I ended up doing was writing some new ones.

Remember my goals for the month of March? I’ve been making a lot of progress on them:

  •  start getting the Enemies book written.  You won’t believe this, but I have 7,714 words typed for this book, plus however many are in my notebook that I got down at lunch today. I polished up the first chapter and gave it to my beta reader and my critique partners and they are intrigued and hungry for more. Quentin is my favorite hero yet (but every time I work on a book, that hero becomes my favorite).
  • finish most of #MrLastNameBasis. Not a word since DJ was rejected.
  • get feedback from Delivering Justice submission. Got great feedback that you can read about here, but was ultimately given an “R.”
  • work on marriage kit book and get it ready for publication. I’ve been playing with some ideas, but nothing concrete yet.
  • further develop my writing routine. Umm…no comment. Haven’t done a smidge of work on this. Need to protect my writing time better.
  • Start and finish at least one writing craft book. I started Leigh Michaels’ On Writing Romance, and so far, so good.
  • Get all of my March reviews done. Ha! But I am actually on track with this. Only 2 more books to go, and three April books so far for HJ. I have to post a review here as well. Then I’m done.
  • Work on one super secret project. Done and done.
  • Get materials ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Umm…this depends on what project I decide to do during NaNoWriMo I have an inkling what I want to do, and I’m ready to meet my goals with it.
  • Finishing outlining and start Luka’s story before Beta Reader kills me. I started writing Luka’s story–well, saying it. I dusted off my digital recorder and have been rattling off a few scenes while I drive to and from work and working to transcribe them into something that makes sense later.

So you see, I’ve been a busy bee, getting words down on three WIPs, reviewing my face in, and setting Delivering Justice aside while I figure out my next steps with it. I’m not giving up on my dream of publication. I’m not wallowing. I’m chugging along. I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m getting ready to get out there again.

XOXO,

Erica

February 2014’s Progress on Publishing World Domination

This is going to be quick and dirty because I have to get ready for work. February was no less great than January for achieving some writing goals. In February:

  • I went to my second Central Florida Romance Writers meeting, where we studied pacing and emotion.
  • On my way to said meeting, I had an epiphany about a story in the Christian series I’m planning, and throughout the month, I wrote character profiles for the main characters and an outline of the book, along with doing a bit of research. This shall be known as the Enemies story.
  • I joined Romance Writers of American and Central Florida Romance Writers. Yay! I’m a card carrying member–or I would be if I had a card. I do, however, have a member number. 😉
  • I entered Cupid’s Lit Connection’s Blind Speed Dating competition to try and get the attention of an agent but wasn’t chosen. I was disappointed, but I was OK with getting the news because the same day…
  • I entered the Second Chance Carina pitch and got a request from an editor! I sent my manuscript for Delivering Justice in on February 14th, Valentine’s day. I should receive feedback of some sort by March 21st. I basked in the achievement of getting a query letter, synopsis, and manuscript submitted for a couple days before I began obsessively checking my email.
  • The sequel to Delivering Justice, known on social media by the hashtag #MrLastNameBasis, started to come together when I added a pint sized motivator to the mix who broke my emotionally distant hero wide open. I love this little boy in this story and the dimension he adds to the suspense. I’m trying to figure out where this story is going while I outline the others in the series in case I get a bite on Delivering Justice and someone is interested in the other three books.

I crossed off two major  writing goals–I submitted to an editor and I joined RWA and CFRW. Not only did I submit to an editor, I submitted a requested manuscript, not to the slush pile. It’s a fast track entry with a quicker than usual turnaround. So why do I feel as if February was a slow writing month for me? Probably because I didn’t get as many words on the page as I would like. I didn’t post as many reviews as I meant to post. I’m a little behind on reading my craft books and such.

But what I’m trying to embrace is that all forward movement is important, that what I’ve accomplished this month is huge. True, I spent a lot of time doing revisions, writing and revising a query letter and synopsis, and not getting new words on the page. But doing those things are what got my submission out the door.

March is about moving forward even more. What are the goals for March?

  • start getting the Enemies book written.
  • finish most of #MrLastNameBasis.
  • get feedback from Delivering Justice submission.
  • work on marriage kit book and get it ready for publication.
  • further develop my writing routine.
  • Start and finish at least one writing craft book.
  • Get all of my March reviews done.
  • Work on one super secret project.
  • Get materials ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in April.
  • Finishing outlining and start Luka’s story before Beta Reader kills me.

How was your February? What are some of your goals for March? Be on the lookout for more reviews and a few special writing posts coming this month. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any.

XOXO,

Erica

Sticking the Landing…

I had this amazing idea to use my car accident as the moment that defines the lives of two characters in my Always series. As I chronicled here, playing the what if game got me a basic premise of how they came to be where they are at the start of the story. The hook is an enemies to lovers theme with a much more serious reason to be enemies than usual. They aren’t in competition (but there’s one of those in the series percolating) and there’s no old family feud. No, the largely one-sided animosity is created by an accident, a horrible accident that changes the main character’s lives forever in two very different ways. For one, the accident brings realization, salvation, and hope; for the other, loss, anguish, and bitterness.

As soon as I realized what I was asking my heroine to do during the course of this book–forgive the man she holds responsible for his role in her sister’s death–I knew I would have to adjust things to make it work. I didn’t want to make it easy by revealing a twist like he wasn’t really responsible for her sister’s death (not that I have anything against this when done well–and I’ve read books where it is done well). I couldn’t if I wanted to be the hero told me he WAS responsible in the most basic way. So how can I make it plausible that they can get past this big huge thing separating them?

One of the things that I like to do is to figure out how to keep two characters determined to flee “in the room.” How do I keep them in the same place at the same time long enough for the sparks to fly and the magic to happen? One thing I find works well is when at least one of those characters wants to be in the room and is determined to keep that other character there. In this instance, my hero’s goal is to make amends to the people he directly affected, including the heroine. While there’s no way to give back what she lost in the accident, he has to find a way to make amends and ease some of the guilt he’s been carrying. It takes help from God to keep the heroine “in the room” and interacting with him, which is probably the only thing that will keep them in the room when our heroine is so determined she will NOT grant him the forgiveness he seeks.

The second thing I wanted to do is figure out how much time will have passed since the accident when the story begins. I had to do a bit of research to figure out a timeline for the judicial ramifications of the accident, and then I needed to leave time for healing to begin. I decided to start the story five years after the accident–enough time for the legal matter to run its course and for the food and the parade of sympathetic friends to be a thing of the past. Even then, I knew that this relationship needed to move at a snail’s pace. I’m still tweaking how long it will take for each phase of the story.

The thing that’s hung over my head the most, of course, is figuring out how to get the reader to connect with a hero who admits to the things he did surrounding the accident, which are very unlikeable things, without turning the victim into the bad guy or otherwise shifting the blame. I didn’t want the reader to hate him like the heroine initially does. So I decided to start telling this story from the hero’s point of view, to introduce the reader to who he is now before they know who he used to be five years ago. The hero has a sympathetic back story that he doesn’t use to excuse his behavior and isn’t over the top. I made the hero humble and sincere in his attempts to make amends. And I let God work on both of them, through nature, other characters, and each other, to show them how forgiveness can release both of them and how love can cover the multitude of sins between them.

I hope the reader, and the heroine, can appreciate the changes that God has made in the hero, and can move forward with an open mind. I’m working really hard on this one, drawing up character profiles, creating an outline, researching. I’m taking my time with it because certain details have touched me personally and I want people to understand the underlying message of the work that forgiveness does in us. If I’m being honest, I want to come to terms with my own accident and make sure I truly forgive the person responsible for it. I’m working hard to get this one right.  The gravity-defying flips and twists that make the crowd ooh and ahh are worth nothing if you don’t stick the landing. I want to make sure this one doesn’t have a shaky, unstable end that costs the story a spot in the reader’s heart.

What difficult things are you working on in your current WIP?

XOXO,

Erica

I Have a Request…

I didn’t get chosen for the agent round of the blind Speed Dating contest. I was…”bounced” by the bouncers. I would be a lot sadder about this if not for the other thing that happened February 12th. I saw the announcement of a pitch contest on Twitter for Carina Press, a digital first imprint of Harlequin, scheduled for February 11th, but decided not to pitch my finished novel because I was in the speed dating. I second guessed myself, but I missed the window & couldn’t participate. The morning of the 12th, I saw the second chance Carina Pitch. Since I’d been feeling some regret for missing it before, I pulled out my speed dating pitch and tweaked it to suit the guidelines of the pitch contest. I hit send on my entry & forgot about it.

Checking my twitter feed, I noticed I had a new mention. I nearly keeled over at my desk when I saw it was Kerri Buckley, an editor for Carina Press, requesting to read my story!! cue happy dance in my chair & mad rush to co-worker/beta reader’s office for squeal party.

It’s been a mad rush to write a winning query letter & synopsis as well as rap up the last couple chapters’ revisions to submit by the deadline. This was my first query letter & synopsis, so I’m not sure if they were exactly right, but I did it. The letter was professional & focused and the synopsis detailed the main characters, plot, & conflicts, so they at least do what they are required to do.

I’ve added one scene and extended two scenes since I sent the chapters to my critique partners, & I think they really strengthened the manuscript. As soon as I hit send, I was plagued by doubts. I had too much of this or should have tweaked that more. But at the end of the day, I know using the additional couple hours I would have after work wouldn’t better the manuscript enough for me to push so close to the deadline. I know I sent in a good story, & I know that the rest of the series will be as strong or stronger. I’m content with the book I submitted.

I should hear something by the 21st of March. In between now and then, I have my birthday, 11 book reviews, book 2 to continue, & 2 more detailed outlines to complete. If you think that will keep me from obsessively checking my email way too soon, you don’t know me at all.

The point, though, is I’ve taken a major step in my publishing journey: I got a request & I submitted directly to an editor. That’s plenty to celebrate…for now

Natural Talent: A Blessing and A Curse

*Note: As you are reading this, I’m frantically getting ready for the Love Inspired Luncheon taking place in Tampa, Florida today. I’ll be meeting with several Love Inspired authors (and hopefully an editor or two), taking pictures and collecting swag. I leave this post to tide you all over while I’m gone. Stay tuned for more book reviews, interviews, and more insight into my writing journey!

It was clear at a very early age that I was something of a prodigy. Unlike most prodigies who can solve pie up to eight digits in their heads or play Chopin at three, I was an English language and literature prodigy. I could read and comprehend things far beyond my years. I read at a college level before I was firmly in Middle School. I excelled in grammar classes despite my southern family and their horrendous dialect. Most importantly, I could write anything I wanted to: poetry, creative non-fiction, literary fiction, genre fiction. I was one smart cookie.

Here’s the thing about being a literary prodigy that no one ever tells you: natural talent isn’t enough. In fact, sometimes natural talent can hinder more than it can help. As Adrian Monk loves to say, it’s a blessing and a curse. For me, the curse of natural talent has always been the arrogance of the first take tantrum.

If I were a musical prodigy, I’d probably be one of those artists who liked to step into the studio, lay the track down one time, and move on. I’d be a real one-take wonder. That’s not to say that every take would be perfect, or that I’d be happy with it. It would just be. At least, that’s what I think I’d do since it was what I did as a writer. I never revised. I proofread but I never revised. This is a horrible habit to get into for any writer, no matter how much talent you have, but I was resting on the laurels of natural talent. Most of my first drafts are better than other people’s second drafts and blah blah. Arrogance at its finest.

The only problem with my logic was that second drafts are rarely, if ever, publication worthy. If I want to do my best writing, if I want to take my writing to the next level, I need to revise. Revision is where you put some meat on the bones of an idea. It’s where you make sure the characters are fully formed, the plot is strong enough, the descriptions flow well. It’s where you round the edges and add the icing to a literary cake. It’s where you polish it to a streak free shine. It’s where I run out of horrible metaphors and clichés and run into solid prose.

I’ve been struggling with revisions on Delivering Justice because of the natural talent curse. I was convinced that DJ was ready to publish almost immediately after I finished NaNoWriMo. I’d edited, added in detail, and proofread as I went, so I just knew it would be perfect. I read through the entire thing and thought it was the greatest romantic suspense since they invented the genre. But deep down, there was a niggling feeling that I could do more with this or that. I ignored it and set a hard deadline, but then the revisions stalled a bit.

Thank God for critique partners and time away. When my critique partners pointed out the same areas I had misgivings about, I knew I was on the right track. Reading more about the genre and soaking in advice has really helped me to develop a plan to get the revisions done. I will be able to take this book to the next level–the publication level.

I’m learning with each year of writing that natural talent isn’t enough. Revision is important. Knowing how to connect with readers is important. Continuing to learn about the craft is important. Feedback is important. There’s always room for improvement.

That’s my two cents, anyway. What hard writing lessons have you had to learn?

XOXO

Erica

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I’ve been facing a dilemma for a while now. I think it’s a silly dilemma, but unless it’s life or death, most usually are. They are usually not of your own making as well, at least in my case. My current writing dilemma is making me a little bit irritated, but maybe you guys have some thoughts on it that will help me decide what to do.

As you may be aware, I attempted my first romantic suspense story during NaNoWriMo. The characters were the easiest I’ve ever written–the story flowed from my fingertips with few moments of “what the heck should they do now?” or “what is she going to say to that?” Some of the characters are a little too fond of sexual innuendo and some of them are alpha males, so while the book doesn’t contain more than a simmer, it’s too much for a line like Love Inspired Suspense.

Not only did I fall in love with these, the two tamest of the characters so far, ideas for other people in their world took off. I have outlines or ideas for three more romantic suspense offerings. But beyond these four stories that I am happily charting? I don’t know if I have any other suspense books in me. The first book was a fun adventure into something new, and the others are characters from that bold new thing that just clamored for their own story. I don’t have any other suspense ideas waiting in the wings. But I have a TON of Love Inspired things waiting.

I have a big connecting event that links eight stories I’m tentatively calling the Always Series. I’m still getting to know the characters, but I love them and their stories. I have a little something from most major tropes and I can’t wait to twist them into something that’s uniquely mine. They feature strong Christian characters whose beliefs are put to the test and the things that they’ve held onto that aren’t like God are stripped away by this life changing event. And there are other stories beyond this series–Pleasure’s story, Josie’s story, Hope’s story, Patience’s story–that are not connected but would fit with the Love Inspired line. Not to mention stories that fit neither of these modes. I love and read all sorts of stories and want to write all sorts of stories. I still haven’t given up hope of branching into memoir, literary fiction, and non-fiction Christian living. But it doesn’t seem possible to do it all the way I would like.

I spoke to some people familiar with Harlequin, my dream home for my romances, and they have said that Harlequin prefers that as a new writer you build your audience in one line. Only veteran authors write across lines after establishing their audience and building a solid fan base. So if I sell my romantic suspense first, I would be committed to romantic suspense for the foreseeable future and then would have to speak with my editor and agent if applicable to try and work out writing for another line. Also, there is the general rule of thumb that if you write for the inspirational lines you should write across lines. I’m sure I didn’t say that correctly, but that’s the gist.

The only options I could think of are to write one genre under a pen name, go with another publisher for one genre, self-publish one genre, or give up on a genre…for now. I’m not new to writing by any means. I’ve spent 25 years with all of these stories backed up in me waiting to spill out. I’ve taken classes and attended workshops and have followed forums, boards, and threads. I have developed my voice if not my following. I don’t want to give up on getting ALL of the stories I have within me out to the masses.

One other option presented was to try and gear the romantic suspense stories to Love Inspired Suspense, but the characters won’t work within that line. For example, Mallory’s best friend Emma is bawdy and full of sexual innuendo and Jake’s body makes Mallory think about liking her way around his abs, even if she doesn’t do it. A lot of the fun of the stories is this offbeat humor and flirty fun. I’ve been told that not having premarital sex may not fit with the other romantic suspense lines, so I may have to submit my romantic suspense elsewhere for that reason anyway.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Does anyone know of another reputable publisher I should be considering? How do you solve your writing dilemmas?

XOXO,

Erica

P.S. A couple of things:

1. I am going to be adding reviews to this site! That was part of the original purpose, and I have a few reviews on here, but I want to start reviewing some Harlequin titles and get my readership up to be approved for Love Inspired titles through NetGalley. I will create a tab for reviews and link all of the pertinent details. I also review Harlequins (not inspy) on Harlequin Junkie. All my reviews have Erica tags.

2. There will be other changes to the site that I am working on but they aren’t ready to be revealed yet. Any changes you would like to see?

Year of the Writer 2013; Year of the Published Author, 2014?

2013 was a great year for my writing. It was in is year that I got more serious about my craft. In the first part of the year, I worked diligently on the marriage kit book, and in the fall, I began getting back into fiction. I entered Harlequin’s writing contest, So You Think You Can Write, joined the Harlequin online writing community, successfully completed NaNoWriMo for the first time, found critique partners and began exchanging chapters and just wrote like crazy.

I wanted to start 2014 off building a writing network closer to home. I went to my first meeting of the Central Florida Romance Writers, an affiliate of Romance Writers of America. I learned so much from this meeting! It was good to sit in a room full of writers, people who “get” the drive to write. I think joining RWA and the local chapter will be a big step in my journey to getting my romantic fiction published. I’m glad I didn’t let the setbacks and foibles of the day to cause me to miss the meeting.

I’m still pursuing self-publication for the relationship book that I’ve calling the marriage kit book here. I think that self-publishing is the way to go with this one because I don’t want the content to be watered down, toned down, or elementally changed by an editor, nor do I want to wait another 12-18 months for it to be available (even though if I keep adding sections and chapters, it may take that long anyway!). I feel much more comfortable choosing the people involved in each step of the publication process with this book.

I haven’t thought much about Some College but there’s a contest coming up that I may want to get started on it to enter. Right now, I’m enjoying revisions with my critique partners and trying to get some new words written each day. My writing new year’s resolutions are as follows:

  • Join RWA & the local chapter
  • Submit, submit, submit–get my work out there as often as possible.
  • enter more contests and pitches.
  • get my hands on more writing craft books and magazines.
  • Write first draft of Always the Girlfriend.
  • Finish Pleasure’s Payne (Read the first chapter here).
  • Finish revisions to Delivering Justice and submit.
  • Outline and write synopses for the three follow ups to Delivering Justice (Series tentatively titled The Bartolucci Brides).
  • Outline and write synopses for the seven (o_O!!!) other books in the “Always” series.
  • Start a proposal for Some College memoir.
  • Start the other short stories for the Love Addicts Anonymous short story collection.
  • Not die or become a hermit.

I have a lot of work to do in 2014 if I want to have contracts in my hot little hands before I’m ringing in yet another year. I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.

XOXO,

Erica

Writer’s Remorse

I’m not a very experienced submitter. I have only submitted writing to a handful of competitions–poetry and oratorical contests in middle school (where I won every gold medal/blue ribbon known to man), Prize Papers in high school (where a story about one of the biggest rejections of my life was won, ironically), the literary awards competition in college (where I ate the dust of an MFA candidate), and two literary magazines competitions (neither of which I won. One was for Crazy Horse and the other was for Boulevard). With so little experience with submitting work, and never giving myself too much time to think about what I am submitting when I submit, I often have a writer’s form of buyer’s remorse about my submissions.

I don’t know if this happens to other writers, but once I submit something to a teacher, a workshop group, an honest friend, or a competition, I am plagued with writer’s remorse. The moment the piece leaves my hands, I am overcome with doubts about the choices I made and the quality of the material. This time is no different. Even before I pressed the submit button, I wanted to change the opening of Pleasure’s Payne. I knew where I wanted the manuscript to start, and that I should blend the things before the beginning into the story, but I wasn’t confident enough in that option to pursue with only 4 hours left until the deadline…while at work, where I’m supposed to be working on what I’m paid to do. In the end, I ended up closing my eyes and pressing submit.

I know that the opening is still strong as is, but I can’t help but feel like it could have been better. It certainly didn’t help that the very thing I was going to do was tweeted as a warning by one of the editors reading the submissions. She was saying that if you don’t get selected for the top 50, perhaps it’s because your manuscript started in the wrong place. My first reaction was “Oh, my God! She’s reading my submission! She’s talking about me! I’m dead in the water already. How could I let this happen? But they’re judging on the content and voice and the quality of writing as well, right? I know the writing is good. Can’t they forgive a little misstep like giving a teeny bit too much background at the beginning?!” Yes, friends, I freaked out at an ambiguous twitter posting.

I’m so tempted to change the beginning now and continue on with it all “chopped and screwed,” but if I do manage to make it to the next round by some miracle, is that even allowed? I don’t know. Besides, I’m supposed to be finishing the book, but now I’m paralyzed with fear. I wrote another 3,000+ words after I entered it Thursday, but I wrote zero words yesterday. I know where the book is going, what needs to happen, what characters will be introduced, how they will get over their issues and find love with each other, but my pudgy little fingers are a little dejected right now. So help me snap out of it.

Have you ever had writer’s remorse? What happened? What advice can you give to a novice submitter?

XOXO

Erica