Thursday, March 31, 2011

A is for...

A to Z Blogging Challenge!

Ha! Is that a cop-out? I figure by the end of this post there will be multiple "A's", so bear with me.

Moving on...

Today is the first day of the A to Z Challenge. I'd like to stick with the overall theme of my blog, which is my journey to publication, along with everything I learn along the way. I'm hoping to introduce my readers to my novel in one way or another, and I'm thinking part of that introduction will come around "L," so stick around.

A is also for...


Ooooo, agents. I am at the stage where I will be seeking an agent, so that word simultaneously strikes fear into my heart and sets it all aflutter. What does an agent mean to me? An agent is the first step to getting published. An agent accepting my work means someone thinks it is worth their time. An agent is a door opening. A big one.

Yes, I know full-well an agent accepting me as a client does not guarantee they will be able to find me a publisher. I realize it does not guarantee a publisher will see the same value in what I've written as I and the agent do. But it's a start.

Now is the time to sit down and research agents in my field. I'll be able to meet several at the upcoming conference, which I'm looking forward to. Last year I was all about the authors, because that's where I was, but this year it is all about the agents, which is more nerve wracking. I love that I will be able to get a feel for them in person, to see if we mesh in any way, because one point that has been pounded home in the last year is that you want to get along with your agent. If you don't like your agent, publishing will not be a pleasant experience for you. You will be working together, and we all know what an unpleasant experience it can be to have a co-worker who makes us miserable.

Realizing that, though, if I got an offer from an agent I didn't like, would I be so desperate to be published that I would blow off that advice? I can't answer that right now. All I can do is try my best to gauge who the best agent is and go from there. I think the conference will give me a leg up on this, as there are several representatives who work with Young Adult writers.

I'd considered doing one more "A," but I think this is probably long-winded enough. It seems like these posts are meant to be short. I wonder which will be the greater challenge: being consistent about writing every day on here or not babbling on and on and on. You be the judge.

Happy Writing!

P.S. Good luck to my fellow Challenge bloggers! After all, A is for Author, too!

Second P.S. I'm posting this a tad early, as it's only 10:30pm on the 31st here in Colorado, but it's the 1st somewhere (like on the east coast), and I'm a mom of littles, so night time is the best time to be sure to get something up on time.

MTA: A is also for Award! Check out the Powerful Woman Writer Award on the right-hand side of this blog. Thank you to Deirdre Coppel at A Storybook World blog for the honor! You can click on the award badge to view her site.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Old Dogs *Can* Learn New Tricks

I went for my second writer's gathering at Rico's last night (see here: As with the first time, it was a pleasant experience. There were a few of the same faces and many new faces, which was great. My end of the table ended up being the rowdy, raunchy end. Well, what do you expect from a bunch of stay-at-homes who finally get out for some socializing, eh??

We talked about query letters with a great example from an author who was published upon his first query, which is rare and definitely encouraging and inspirational! Two important items of note on query letters: 1. Keep it to one page, and 2. Try to establish a connection to the agent you're querying (example: "I've been a long-time follower of your blog" or "We met at the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference"). Obviously, there are other things you need to know, but those are two biggies I figured I'd mention. I hope to be addressing query letters, specifically, later on this month.

One thing I learned from speaking to other writers last night was that I needed business cards. I've had them in the past for various job positions, yet I hadn't considered making myself a card that said "writer" on it. When I asked who had cards for this purpose at the table, quite a few cards came out. Color me surprised! On the theme of old dogs and new tricks, I have now ordered some cards that say "writer and photographer." Though typing this out now I'm thinking I may have messed up and put "author" instead of "writer." Ah, well, too late now! I guess I can sort of learn new tricks? Whoops!

You may be wondering why that even matters to me. I'm not positive it does, but to me a "writer" is anyone who writes, whether for the public or just for themselves. An "author" is someone who is published, established, a professional. I just have my couple little published non-fiction articles and poems, but I guess I can accept that as meaning I'm an author. It just feels presumptuous, which is a fear I have frequently on discussing writing, and something I need to just move past. Get over it, me!

I also wanted to mention the Pikes Peak Library District's Mountain of Authors event. It is this Saturday, April 2nd, from 12:30 to 6pm. It's a free event that requires no registration. I'm excited about the Paranormal Fiction Panel, as that's the category I write in. There will also be a Publishing Panel and authors there signing their books. I spent way too much last year and foresee the same happening this year, but there are some great Colorado authors and I refuse to feel bad about it. Here is the link for more information:

Lastly, I'm participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge for April, for which you can read more or sign up here: I have no idea if I can think of something for each letter of the alphabet, but I'm sure going to try. I'm hoping this will spur my creativity and get me better about posting in here. This is not a challenge for authors only, but for anyone who blogs and would like to participate. If you sign up, leave me a comment and let me know so I can follow your progress, and I hope you will follow mine, as well.

On that subject, I'd be delighted to hear your comments and questions on my posts. If you know anyone who may be at a similar place in their writing career, please encourage them to follow this blog. If there are topics people would like to see, I'm open to those ideas.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The New Never News & Updates

Hello! I have been hard at work making edits after my first reader got back to me with some questions and comments. I've finished that edited draft and started sending out copies to a couple other people who had offered to read for me, so I'm excited to hear back from them and see what people have to say. My reader's comments were positive, and it gave me a little boost to keep at it. I'll be getting a Read & Critique at the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference at the end of April and then I hope to be querying agents.

I am considering entering the Colorado Gold contest. It is a writing contest for full-length manuscripts, and can lead to exposure to several agents/publishers. I need a little more information on whether I can be submitting the novel elsewhere during that time first, because the results don't come in until October. That feels like a long time to wait at this point, but then I'm all hot to trot on getting started and trying to get published. I believe they start opening up for entries sometime in April. I'm watching the Chiseled in Rock blog intently for more information:

I submitted a post to Colorado author J.A. Kazimer's blog and it was posted last night. To check it out, go here: It's a fun blog to follow and you can submit your own stories (see the upper right side of the page).

I stopped by Beth Groundwater's book launch for Deadly Currents and got a signed copy of her new book! I'm excited to read it, but am in the middle of another book, so it's next on my list. You can visit her blog here:

Finally, I attended a great Pikes Peak Branch of the National League of American Pen Women meeting this past weekend. Attorney Brenda Speer spoke with us about copyrights and protecting our work in the digital age. I learned quite a bit of new information and had a great time with the ladies. I've been asked to do a program on Facebook and I've got some work to do on some other things, so I'm both incredibly nervous and excited.

That's all for today. Happy Writing!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Notes on February Meetings

I've put editing on hold while one person reads my book and lets me know what she thinks. I caught myself going over it to edit again after I gave it to her and decided I needed to relax and let it float around in my head a bit and wait to see what she thinks. We'll see how long I last with that thought process, though.

In the meantime, I'm working on some short stories for submission and maybe some contests to see if I can get out there. I'm excited to have an upcoming short-short on a local author's blog on the 20th. Until then, check out her blog and enjoy: (Also, check out her website:

I've found the writer's groups and associated events such an inspiration that I thought I would put a little note on here for each one. I did miss the February Write Brain, but I was able to attend a great Pen Women meeting and a writer's night at Rico's.

The Pen Women meeting was about writing memoirs. Colorado author Carol Caverly, writer of the Thea Barlow mysteries (bio can be found on this page:, gave us some great pointers on writing memoirs, though her tips applied to writing of any sort. What it boiled down to was that a memoir is still a story. You have to tell the story and entertain the reader.

She advised us to ascertain the goal in the writing of the memoir first. Figure out who the audience is and why you're writing it. After that, she went over the basic story structure, which is valid for fiction, as well: Goal, Motivation, Action. These items lead to further actions, the conclusion and, finally, the denouement.

We were given an exercise that involved the article "Memory of a GI's Christmas Gift." If you haven't read that article, it's a wonderful and heartwarming read.

The next part involved creating an emotional moment in your story(ies), which involves something happening to the character, the impact, them overcoming it and then being recognized for it. One example Carol gave us was the scene in "Pretty Woman" when Vivian returns to the shop where snobby saleswomen had snubbed her, arms full of bags from other stores and tells them "Big mistake, Big."

She also gave us pointers on a few things to avoid in your writing. These include verbs of being (is, are, was, were), the word not when describing something (not clean vs. dirty) and weak words that are used far too often. She then gave us an exercise to write without using various weak words. For instance, try to describe a delectable meal without using the word "delicious."

Carol was a great speaker, and I learned a lot, despite the fact that I have no intention of writing a memoir (at least not any time soon). It did inspire me to look at possibly writing memoirs about family members, likely just for other family members. That's in the future, though.

The most exciting part: I won Carol Caverly's "Frogskin and Muttonfat," which is next on my reading list.

The Pikes Peak Writer's event I attended was a monthly meeting at Rico's in downtown Colorado Springs. It occurs the fourth Monday of each month, and is hosted by Deb Courtney. The next one will be March 28, from 6:30-8:30pm. You can find information on this event, open to anyone, here:

How this evening works is people show up and can ask about anything they want. Aside from Deb Courtney, there were several other published authors there, and all were willing to answer questions. Some even had questions of their own. I've mentioned before how supportive the writing community is, and this evening was a perfect example of this. Laymen could offer advice to published authors and vice versa.

One great thing about this was that we were all seated around a table. It was comfortable, you didn't have to be put on the spot, and it was somewhat intimate. No one had to shout to be heard. No one had to raise their hand to be called upon. It was a round table discussion. I was really nervous going into it for my first time, but it was quite easy on me, even though I was late.

On a side note, Rico's has great food, coffee, and an iced tea bar that includes decaffeinated teas, which I have a hard time finding elsewhere. It's worth a visit:

As far as the Write Brain event I missed, my husband was out of town and I've got kiddos who needed to be in bed for school the next day (one of them, anyway), so I was unable to make it. However, I was able to read about it here:

That blog is great to peruse at other times, as well.

There is no in-person Write Brain this month, but one can listen to it on the Pikes Peak Writer's website here:

You will also find a March workshop listed which, regrettably, I cannot attend, though I'd love to. So attend it for me and let me know about it, would ya'? Anyone? It is about novel beginnings and endings, which are pretty important, if you ask me. It is only $30, and is especially great if you cannot make the larger conference occurring about two months from now.

I think that pretty much covers what I wanted to say tonight. Check out the links I posted and you'll find some great information (and entertainment). The more you get out there, the more informed you become, and the more productive you may be. It's a great thing.

P.S. I created a Facebook page for the Pikes Peak Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. Check it out and hit "like" if you'd like to hear about contests and events.!/pages/Pikes-Peak-Branch-of-the-National-League-of-American-Pen-Women-Inc/132317990169789

Once it has 25 "likes," I can get a shortened username for it, which will make posts like this one much easier to deal with.