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

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I’m Kind of a Big Deal…On Paper

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, mostly because I’ve been trying to get my website set up and make it a one stop shop for all of my blogging. That didn’t work out so well. Actually, that blew up in my face. I have the domain name, hosting, header/banner, logo, twitter, Facebook pages, a workshop presentation, and the opportunity to write book reviews for publishers, but still no site. Why, you ask? Well, that’s a long story involving choosing a website builder that I didn’t love, not being able to remove it, not being able to utilize it the way I want to, and resolving to let that ground lie fallow until I can figure out what to plant there that will actually grow.

But this is not a complaint post; this is a post to share some good news. I signed up for Net Galley to review books, and I’ve been approved for some titles that I am excited about reading. I’ve completed two reviews so far, and I have many more books to read and review. Of course, this is the most appropriate place for me to review books; after all, this is my writing and reading blog. The readership here has always been supportive of my endeavors in writing. I love the support I get here.

Going forward, I am still a split personality, online-wise. I will place excerpts and links to reviews here in case any of you, Dear Readers, would be interested in reading more about the titles that I am reviewing.

So you can get a feel of what I have in store (and this is the ONLY site where I am giving a sneak peak):

Kissing the Maid of Honor by Robin Bielman: This is an Entangled Publishing Romance I reviewed here.

My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife by Sara Horn is a Harvest House Publishers book written by a Christian Woman seeking to live out Biblical submission in her marriage. You can read my review of this book here.

Upcoming titles include: Who Asked You? Terry McMillan’s newest book (to be released this fall; so excited about this one!); Cut It Out, a book about the increase in C-Sections and what this means for women’s health; Confessions of a Latter Day Virgin, a book about a member of the LDS church who is seeking to find a mate in the strict guidelines of her religion (it’s a memoir); Waking Up in Vegas, and; a book on being a Christian and being a writer that looks promising. There are more, but these are the ones I will be reading first.

I am working on my book as well. I took some time off to work on my presentation, Getting Serious About Who You are in Christ. This presentation went over well. I was shocked how well it was received by everyone in attendance.  I would like to release a little eBook of it, a free download possibly, at some point in time. I wish that I was able to capitalize on that presentation by passing out business cards or directing people to a working website address, but it’s a lesson learned. The book is going really well. It has expanded to cover more topics than I intended to cover when I first began writing. I know that when I get to the revision stage, I will have a lot of work to do to give it the right tone and style, but my main focus now is on getting it all down on paper. I’m thinking of a major change to the structure in a few areas, but I’m holding off until the revision stage so I don’t slow myself down.

How has the writing been going for you? Read any good books lately? Are you anticipating any of the review coming up?

Once Upon A Time…

I used to write in this blog a lot…now it’s being neglected. It’s mostly neglected because I don’t have anything to say of a writing or reading nature. So what’s so special about today? I found an old notebook with a reading wishlist in it and it inspired me to talk about things that I want to read (in hopes that increasing my reading will increase my writing, both here and my creative writing pursuits).

So, what do I want to read? I don’t know. I know what the world says I should have read already (like The Help), but I don’t have many books I want to read lately. I do have a few non-fiction titles I would like to read: The Other Wes Moore, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and Laying Down My Burdens. I’m currently combing through my old list for fiction books, and I may cruise back issues of BookPage to find something.

I have been working on some pieces in my long term absence. I have made progress on my Camp NaNoWriMo manuscript (aka continuing to write a crappy first draft), and I officially starting on the second short story in the Candy Apples series. So it’s not all sitting on my hands this way. This second story in the series is hard to write because I haven’t been there. It’s dark and terrifying and sad. It’s not a place one likes to dwell. It’s not difficult thinking like an adolescent again, but the subject matter gets so dark I wonder if I can see my way out sometimes. But it will be powerful fiction, the kind of fiction that may help someone else. These addiction stories are turning out to be some powerful stories. I was thinking of putting Candy Apples up as an Amazon single, but I don’t know if I want to. I  might have to make it free and then sell the series, which doesn’t sound like a plan to me. Besides, I still will have ten stories to write, so publishing it now will be a little soon. I would like to know if any of you would buy my work.

I’ll post the fiction books in my notebook up tonight, and you can tell me if they’re worth reading. In the meantime, two questions: Read any good books lately? Would you buy my book?

Passing on Your Passion

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Image via Wikipedia

When I was back in Michigan last week, one thing I wanted to accomplish was sorting through all of my books. I have a ton of books. Every birthday, holiday, or scholastic achievement was celebrated with new books for me, not to mention all of the books I bought from every book fair, book sale, and Friends of the Library store I could find. As reading has always been one of the loves of my life, I have books for every age of reader from beginner Little Golden books to The Babysitter’s Club to Disconstructionist Literary Theory. Needless to say, it was a lot to sort through (and I have a hard time letting go of a good book!).

It didn’t take me long to determine I would never reread The thin Disney’s the Little Mermaid I had stuffed in a box in the closet, nor would I be reading many of the other titles again. Those phases of life, for me, were passed. I don’t have any pigtail-laden little girls to read them to, either. But some of those books were just to good to be stored in a bin, never to be read again. I remembered the joy I had reading them, the worlds they opened me up to. Some things are just too good to keep to yourself.

My cousin has an almost six year old daughter (which is WAY older than five, you understand), Jemilia, who likes to read. She’s read every book that she has. My hometown no longer has a library (which, when I discovered this, made me feel like I’d lost a close friend), so her only source of books is her family and the school (which, of course, is about to close for the summer). Keeping this in mind, I combed my collection for books that were appropriate for a smart almost six year old.

The first book that went into this pile was My Body is Private. That’s very important reading for a little girl nowadays. Then came the disney books and  one about a tiny elephant eating from a jar of peanut butter. I noticed some were missing. Where on earth was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?

Of course, there were some I just couldn’t part with. My huge hardcover collectable Disney books based on the movies, for one. My grandmother gave me those. Also, the treasury of Hans Christian Anderson fairytales she’d also given me. I intend for my child/ren to have them one day. But the rest went on the pile, no matter how much it hurt to see these old friends go.

Jemilia and her grandmother stopped by as I was going through old notebooks upstairs. I sent the pile of books down with my brother, pausing to look out the window. She reached for the pile, which was almost as big as she was, but her grandmother took it for her. She tugged on her grandmother’s shirt until she bent down, then took The Little Mermaid off the top. As they started walking back home, she already had the book open and was reading, not watching where she was going, and not caring much where she ended up. I smiled. “That was my favorite one, too!” I thought, then turned back to my notebooks.

Isn’t the best look in the world the look we get when we fall into a book, no matter what age we are? The hunger, the wonder, the pure joy that comes over our face is almost unmatched. We all look like rapt children when in those moments, open and hopeful and imaginative. This is what makes me upset when people say they don’t like reading, or hate English, the thought that I’ll never surprise that look of wonder on their face. With everything else that happens in this life, I think everyone should feel the joy of reading.

So I used precious cargo room in my car to bring back books I have no intention of ever reading again. Among them are well loved copies of The Babysitter’s Club, The Boxcar Children, Sweet Valley High, and R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books. As the school year has ended, a sister at church wants to continue the tutoring outreach to include a reading and math help summer program. These books could be the start of a lending library for summer reading. 

There’s nothing I love more than sharing my love of reading with others, especially those who just haven’t discovered the book that unlocks that love in them. I believe we all have it within us (I should really be an English teacher, shouldn’t I? LOL). I want to cultivate a love of reading in some, and nurture it in others. I want to have pass on my passion. I’m glad I’ve found a way to do it…and declutter my home!

How are you passing on your passion? 

Let’s Talk Books

I’ve been spending so much time lately going over my current projects that I haven’t said a word about books or reading in quite some time. Reading is an essential part of my day, no matter what it is that I’m reading. I read several times a day. In the last few days, three Harlequins have met their match (all very good, by the way ;-)). But I have also been reading other books.

During my lunch break, I’ve been reading One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead (I think; going off memory). This book is all about consumerism and the wedding industry. I still have a little bit of book left, so I can’t give a full review, but I will say that Mead’s reasearch is thorough, and some of her findings are startling, to say the least. She also raises some big questions about why weddings are now so expensive, what we’ve been trained to think about them, and what big, expensive weddings are supposed to replace. I can’t wait to finish and review.

Also sitting on my shelf at the moment: Pledged: another nonfiction, investigative reporting style book investigating sororities. From the cover and introduction, it seems she focused on white sororities (that, and most non-white sororities are less likely to talk to her about their rituals and ways, seeing as though she is Caucasian, a non-member, and a member of the media); a book about a woman’s 40 day & night solo sojourn into the desert after a divorce (this is non-fiction as well); What Frenchwomen Know About Love, Sex and Men–pretty self explanatory, I should think; Faith Evans’ memoir, and; Heather Hunter’s attempt at fiction.

As you can see, their isn’t a lot of fiction; in fact, it leans heavily to investigative reporting style exposés and memoirs. While this is easier to jump back into (I usually read at lunch, while waiting, and in the evenings at home when I can), I can only guess the reason why I focused so heavily on these is because I’m going to be working on an investigative reporting style similar to Mead and others for the Marriage Kit book, and I’m going to be working on  a memoir of my college years. I’m taking a look at what works and doesn’t work in the genres, I guess you could say.

Does what you’re looking to write ever change what you are primarily reading? Are you a writer who stays away from all romance novels while you’re writing romance, or does your readership in the genre you are attempting to write in increase? How do you work reading into your day and not end up crowding out writing?

A Funny Thing Happened in the Church Parking Lot

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

At least they know YOU, dear sir! Image via Wikipedia

I went to church yesterday and had a conversation I’ve had countless times since I decided on a college major (over eight years ago–my how the time does fly!). I was standing outside of church talking to one of the college students who was home visiting. I asked her what her major was. Her eyes sparkled and she stood a little straighter. “Nursing,” she said with a smile.  “Too much math and science for me.” Her smile faltered a little. I felt like I’d pricked a child’s balloon. “Oh, what did you major in?” I smiled, stood a little taller. “English.” “Ugh, I don’t like English, it’s so boring. Too much history for me.” My face fell. We were too truly disappointed people, standing there in an awkward silence.

It never fails that when I say I was an English major that I get this response. In that same spot a few weeks ago, I got the same reaction from a high school junior. In the past, I’ve gotten it from nosy neighbors, drunk college guys, engineers, HTM majors, church folks, family members, and friends. I’ve gotten “so you want to be a teacher?” so many times I could scream, though that’s better than “what on Earth can you do with that?”, “why don’t you just major in (blahblahblah),” or “I thought you were going to do…?”

People hate literary theory more than anything else in the world. They hate essays and papers. They don’t understand what a semicolon is for. Spelling and grammar irk them. They don’t like “literary” books, and can only fall back on a few for reference to any literary pursuits: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Beloved, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, some Shakespeare play their high school made them read (usually Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, or Othello).

It saddens me to think that many people have not developed the deep abiding love for reading, writing, and grammar that I have. It disturbs me that people don’t care if they split infinitives, and many have no idea what that phrase means. It irks me that people think it’s trendy and cool to read Twilight and Harry Potter, but won’t read any book that requires any real thought. How do you expect to grow as a person? How do you engage your imagination? I’m sorry, but sparkly vampires are not symbols, allegories, motifs, or tropes. There aren’t many well executed similies and metaphors in Eclipse. I like “light reading” as much as the next person, but I demand that even my light reading be well written and adds some dimension to my experience of life.

I would love to hand my (imaginary) child the entire Anne of Green Gables collection. I would love for her to read Laura Ingall’s Wilder. I can’t wait to read Sideways Stories from Wayside School. I can’t imagine buying my child the Twilight books (I don’t mean to belabour the point; I just really don’t like the books). I can’t imagine not raising a well read child who has a strong imagination and has lived in countless worlds via the written word.

Everytime someone laments how much they hate reading or writing, a little literary cherub has its wings ripped off midflight and tumbles to the earth, and I cry a little on the inside.

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! 🙂

Writing About Writing in 2010 Rewind!

Stephen King's House in Bangor, Maine

Image via Wikipedia

Before I started this truly awesome blog, I wrote (albeit sparingly), about writing on my other blog.

As this year draws to a close, I wanted to make sure my (three) loyal readers had a chance to read the best of the writing posts pre-Copywrite1985. So here are links to the best:

I’m more than certain this year will be full of more exciting blogging about writing, books, and all things literary!

The Writer as Reader

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at Yor...

Libraries are a girl's best friend! Image via Wikipedia

As a recovering English Literature graduate (B.A.), I find that I have trouble reading for enjoyment sometimes. I’ve heard many of my classmates lament that they had trouble reading for enjoyment anymore, either because they were used to reading for writing papers or because they were afraid to read anything that could end up in their own work by accident. I’ve heard that all good writers are readers and that all writers love to read, but at the same time, it can be difficult to switch gears from editor and critic to reader.

I held on to my love of reading and found ways to get around this English Paper Mentality for a long time. I would always read things twice: once for enjoyment and then again to accomplish whatever assignment was attached. I was disappointed when I didn’t enjoy something the first time and had to write a paper about it. My primary joy was not in relating how Their Eyes Were Watching God worked as a Bildungsroman as it was the quotable lines that said so much in so few words. However, the English Paper Mentality has caught up with me in recent years as I’ve focused more and more on my writing. So what does a writer do to regain her “reader’s eye?”

Well, what I’m doing is going back to some old standbys, books that I love reading just for the joy of reading them. At the moment, I’m reading Autobiography of a Face for at least the third time. As soon as I secure a library card, I will be rereading Wasted: A Memoir and Prozac Nation. I’m sure there will be plenty of others, but these are the books that have been on my reader’s mind. As I’m working on my fiction writings, it’s a good change of pace.

What do you do to get back in reader mode when you’re experiencing editor/proofreader burnout? How do you return to your own work as a reader, reading for enjoyment as well as plot holes and continuity? How do you retrain your eyes to see what a reader would want to know more about, instead of just where you need a stronger verb? Can you separate your reader self from your writer self at all?

Your Introductory Course to Me

Misery (novel)

Image via Wikipedia

“Hello there,” you say, staring at the back of my head, angling your neck to try and get a better view of my face. I see you clearly reflected in the window in front of me. “I thought that was you!”

You appear delighted to see me, but I have no idea why. I’ve been dodging you for days, turning into alleys and crossing the street without thought to danger or destination whenever I saw your beige trenchcoat and stylized bedhead hair.

I’ve been waiting for you to catch me, turn your head faster than I can duck out of sight and raise a casual hand of greeting. I thought you had once, but you were signally a taxi. It made my heart race to almost be caught, just as it’s beating now…

I turn and extend a hand, one corner of my mouth upturned, the other a straight slash…

***

All of the above is fiction. I don’t make a habit of dodging people, but I am not a fan of introducing myself either. I usually don’t spend much time doing so (as my other blogs will attest). I usually just jump right in with wherever I am and catch you up as we go along. So, without further ado my life right now:

  • I am participating in NaNoWriMo; in other words, I am a nutcase. I still don’t know why I signed up for it. This is my first time attempting it, and I am well below the total I’m supposed to have at this point. More on this later.
  • Oh, and my NaNoWriMo novel is my first attempt at Chick Lit. Oh, boy, will you hear more on that later.
  • I am reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt. It’s a well written book. I found it a little slow at first, but I’m beginning to see her genius. I usually read on my lunch break from work (I work for a company and do stuff–I’m sorry; that was deliberately vague). So far, on said lunch break, I’ve read Stephen King‘s Misery, Carrie, & It, along with a litany of Harlequin romance novels; I am now attempting to be more literary.
  • I’m moving in two weeks time, which only adds to the fun of working, reading, and writing–with packing!
  •  I think this is one of the coolest blog names ever!
  • There are a million and one things to do to this blog–I hope you stay around long enough to see me at my best
  • Yes, I realize I spelled “copyright” wrong; that was intentional.
  • This blog, at the moment, will be about me as a writer, reader, and literary thinker. However, due to chronic random-itis, I may digress into random observations that have nothing to do with any of the aforementioned things.
  •  Does anyone else feel like Paul Sheldon in Misery sometimes?–Not that some crazed fan is breaking your legs and holding you hostage, but that writing, while slow at first, sort of becomes a rabbit hole for you, to get away from all the pressure and stress of the everyday? I also feel like writing is something I can’t afford to not do–albeit for a different reason.

Enough of my rambling. Welcome. Kick of your shoes and stay a while. Pardon the mess.