Monday, October 31, 2011

As Another Storm Has Bitch-Slapped My Town...

I was unable to draw winners from my 200 Followers/Blogoversary Giveaway. Which means there's still time to enter as I dig myself out of this:

Good luck, peeps!

Monday, October 24, 2011

200 Follower/1st Blogoversary Giveaway Extravaganza!

So October is a month with lots of things worth celebrating!

First, I hit 200 Followers! YAY! So hello to all my peeps, new and old. I'm grateful for each and every one of your lovely faces sitting in my sidebar, and for the words of wisdom you share with all of us!

Second, this week marks my One Year Blogoversary! My first post was October 27th, 2010. And boy has everything and nothing changed since then.

Third- my 5th wedding anniversary was October 14th.

I know that one has nothing to do with writing, but what the heck. I'm still proud of it.

So what's in it for you?

Books, of course!

Since I'm celebrating 200 Followers, it only made sense to do part of the giveaway IN TWO'S! First items up for grabs:

The Body Finder Series Part 1 and 2!

The Body Finder (Body Finder Series #1)Desires of the Dead (Body Finder Series #2)

The Nightshade Series Part 1 and 2!

Nightshade (Nightshade Series #1)Wolfsbane (Nightshade Series #2)

To celebrate my 1st Blogoversary, I'm also giving away some single titles:

Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe

Rosebush. Michele Jaffe

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why

And for my 5th Wedding Anniversary.... well, sorry, but you're out of luck on that one. I'll post some pictures though.

The Rules: Yes, you must be a follower, since I'm celebrating followers. Other than that, since I despise filling out forms or tallying points, all you need to do is leave me a comment telling me which of these series/titles you'd most like to win. Winners will be chosen at random one week from today. It's that easy! (And yes, I'll ship to anywhere. No discriminating here at Writer's Blog)

AND- anyone who tweets or blogs about my contest gets an extra entry. Just be sure to mention me (@gmc511) or leave me a link in the comments.

Good luck! Now for those wedding photos:

My first ten minutes as a wife

Me and my sister - and Maid of Honor
Figuring out how to negotiate my dress
Me and my handsome hubby :)
Rocking out to Bon Jovi with my bridesmaids. We are one fun family.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Wanted Words But All I Heard Was Nothing

Long story short: the two partials I had out a couple posts ago ended in rejection. That in itself wasn't surprising, because quite honestly, getting requests for material is way further than I ever thought I'd go in this publishing game.

What bothered me more is that all three of the rejections I've received on my submitted materials have been unhelpful, push-button form rejections.

I mean, come on, people.

Would it really have killed them to type a sentence or two that would have given me some REAL insight as to why they stopped reading, and not just a generic Sorry but this wasn't for me?

After all, how am I supposed to fix the problem if I don't even know what it is?

Is it my characters?

Does my writing suck?

Were they falling asleep by paragraph 2?

I'll never know, because no one is telling me!

At this point, it's obvious to me that my query is decent. My premise must be pretty decent too, or they wouldn't be asking to see more. But it's also obvious that there's some kind of problem, and I have no clue what it is.

So tell me, peeps - how do I make revisions based on feedback that isn't there?

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Yes!!! Moment

You all know what I'm talking about. No, not that. I'm talking about the moment that makes you fall in love with a story.

It could be a kissing scene. It could be a line that makes you laugh out loud. It could be the dynamic between two characters. At any rate, it's the thing you think about long after you've closed the book or stopped watching the movie.

For example, I was convinced I'd hate the move 27 Dresses. I mean, no one's been in that many weddings, right? Not to mention I've heard Katherine Heigl is kind of an itch with a b.

But wait... James Marsden is in it? That changes everything.

As it turns out, my lust for blue-eyed, dark-haired hotties led to me to watch a movie I actually ended up enjoying. And this scene is the one that did it for me:

Go ahead, try and tell me it's not adorable. The barbs, the singing, the confession, THE KISS... *sigh*

What's better than a mix of humor and hot? And who doesn't wish they had the guts to get up and sing the wrong words to Bennie and the Jets in front of a room full of people?


Then there's this scene, from one of my all time favorite movies ever, Gone With the Wind:

My CP's know this about me already, but I sort of have a weakness for flawed but likable characters. Specifically opinionated, somewhat petulant girls. Scarlett is most definitely that. And she is GORGEOUS.

Someone once told me I resembled Vivien Leigh (I don't) and it was probably the best compliment I've ever gotten. Off topic. Sorry.

Anyhow this scene is all about Rhett, and the way he puts her in her place without batting an eye - You miss, are no lady. And bam. Scarlett, for once in her life, is rattled. Let the sexual tension flow.


So peeps- share some of your favorite YES!!! moments with me. Whether it's books or movies, which fictional moments are still replaying in your mind?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay It Forward Blogfest!

It's been a very long time since I participated in a blogfest, but I really liked the concept of this one hosted by Matt MacNish and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

The idea is to inform everyone of a few blogs that might not be getting all the love they deserve. I was only supposed to pick three, but that proved too hard.

So here is my list. Feel free to click three of your choice, and spread some love!

1) Aleeza Rauf at Aleeza Reads and Writes
Aleeza does fantastic, insightful, enthusiastic book reviews. If you ever want an honest, hilarious opinion on a book, this is where you need to go. No joke, she can probably read us all under the table. And she's a sweetheart, too.

2) Heidi Windmiller at ...then she writes
Heidi wears many hats: Teacher. Lawyer. Mom. CP Extraordinaire. She puts out thought-provoking posts and also has a great feature on Fridays where she gathers up interesting and informative links from the blogosphere and lays them out for everyone. What's better than getting to copy a smart girl's homework?

3) Leigh Ann Kopans at The Naptime Novelist
Leigh Ann's posts are introspective and funny, and she almost always takes the time to respond to her commentators, which I think is great. She comes up with great metaphors for the different phases of writing, from the joys to the heartbreaks, and once you visit you'll wish you lived close enough to have lunch with her. I know I do!

4) Francesca Zappia at Zap's Lobster Tank
If you're looking for someone who tells it like it is, Chessie is your girl. She's also a ridiculously talented writer and artist, and her creativity blows me away. She's one to watch, ladies and gentleman. Because I firmly believe that you'll be seeing her Sci-Fi novels on book shelves in the very near future.

And since I already broke the rules, I want to mention a few more popular blogs. Because they are popular for a reason.

1) Brodi Ashton
Brodi is the author of upcoming novel EVERNEATH, and is all around awesome. Her blog is hilarious, heartfelt, and well worth visiting.

2) Agent Vickie Motter's Navigating the Slush Pile
Vickie's blog is one of my favorite writing resources. She's done posts on everything from common spelling and punctuation errors to what you should and shouldn't say when you receive "the call." (From her lips to God's ears!) She also does book recommendations, and says why she would or would not represent the books she reviews. Even if you don't plan to query her, follow along anyway.

3) Katie Mills at Creepy Query Girl.
For real. Does anyone NOT love this blog? Katie is one awesome chick and I'm anxiously awaiting the day she becomes Creepy Agented Girl followed by Creepy Published Author.

Go forth and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Update from the Query Trenches: Still a Moron, Still in the Game

The good news: After my undeniably sucky form rejection on my full, I received two partial requests (Yay!)

The bad news: I failed to learn my lesson about Exhausted Querying after my first big Querier Boo Boo.

Obviously I managed to get at least two right, but I know I screwed up at least two more very, very badly. After going through the trouble to revise my query letter yet again, and actually thinking it kind of rocked this time, I set out to query a few more agents, two of whom had just re-opened to submissions.

For agent # 1, I spent so much time making sure I'd spelled her name right and personalized the letter with reasons why I'd chosen to query her that I forgot something sort of important: the sample pages.

That's right. The sample pages specifically requested on their website. The same sample pages I claim to have included in my query letter. Yup. Somehow managed to hit send without them.

I realized my mistake as soon as I did it, and even as I banged my head against the desk, I managed to get query # 2 right.

But then, I tempted fate. I decided to send a third.

And know what I did this time? Oh, that's right. I forgot to delete the personalization from my first query letter, which claimed I was a follower of both her blog and Twitter. And I'm pretty sure this agent has neither.

I know exhaustion makes crazy things happen, but seriously, I'm no query rookie at this point. How the heck did this happen?

Please make me feel better, peeps. Regale me with your stories of stupid query mistakes. If you don't have any... make one up! I don't want to be alone in this!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Share Your Favorite Rejection

I've racked up enough form rejections by now that I have "favorites." Sure, they all basically say the same thing - no thanks - but that's only if you're taking them at face value.

I've done a little reading between the lines, and here's what I've come up with as the "best" of my rejections:

#3)Dear Author,

Thank you for your query and for letting me have a look at your work. I apologize for the impersonal nature of this email but I receive so many queries that it makes it impossible for me to respond personally to each one. Thank you for your patience.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel that this is right for me, so I’m going to pass. Just because I wasn’t quite drawn in, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t another agent out there who will love it. I encourage you to continue to submit elsewhere.

Thanks again for thinking of me, and I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

What she really means: This is the longest form rejection ever! Bet you almost didn't find the rejection key words I so stealthily hid within it... I almost had you going, didn't I?! Bwahaha, I've created the longest winded version of "no" humanly possible and you will all suffer my evil genius!

Did it make me feel any better about the R? Nope. I scan and stop reading the minute I see "unfortunately." But it did make me laugh.

#2)Please don't take this rejection as a comment on your writing, because it isn't intended to be one. While your novel has merit, I am forced to give serious consideration to the realities of the marketplace when deciding which writers to represent. And I really have to be absolutely in love with every project I choose to take on.

Best of luck with this project and all your endeavors. Due to the volume of queries and submissions I receive, I'm unable to provide a personal evaluation and/or further explanation of my decision.

Good luck with your submissions.

What she really means: You love your book. I thought I did, but I'm dumping it for the way cuter, more popular book that someone else just sent me. Toodles!
Did it make me feel any better about the R? HAHA! Um, no. This one kicked my ass. But I give her points for trying to make such an impersonal letter feel personal.
Ready for my absolute favorite?
#1) In this very competitive market, I am simply not enthusiastic enough about my ability to sell this work to offer representation.

What he really means:

Gotta give props to a guy who tries to go with the "It's not you, it's me" line! And there you have it.

Your turn, peeps. Tell me about some of your more noteworthy rejections! (And be honest - have any of them actually made you feel better about getting rejected?)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Getting Over Your First Love

Story-wise, I'm finding this impossible.

They say you never get over your first love, and whoever "they" are must have met me in another life. I can't let go of my first novel because I fell in love with it, even though it's fairly obvious no agent is ever going to do the same.

I'm even working on a new story, but it isn't helping. So what am I doing wrong?

1) Encouraging my CP's to draw me pictures of the character I just might love most of all:

LOOK AT HIM! That's my Michael. I almost fell on the floor when I saw this rendering by Chessie. How amazing is she? How amazing is he? Those blue eyes! That devilish grin! The trenchcoat! HE MAKES ME SO HAPPY!

But right after I almost bawled from happiness, I wanted to bawl from sadness. Why? Because no one will ever know Michael if he's stuck in a Word Document that wasn't "the right fit" for all the agents I queried. And that makes me very, very sad.

2) Not Hitting Fast Forward on the Ipod when LBD-related songs come on.

I never had an official playlist while I was writing. It was more like I'd hear a song and think this fits perfectly! So naturally, I put them all on my Ipod.

But now, what happens every time I hear The First Time by Lifehouse, or Some Hearts by Carrie Underwood, or even Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know by Britney Spears (yeah, I said it.)? Oh, that's right. I want to bawl. Again.

3) I Compare my WiP to my finished MS. Constantly.

Why is it taking me so much longer to write this one? Why don't I hear these characters talking in my head 24/7 like I did the last time? Why does my word count seem to inch up at a deathly slow pace that makes me want to gouge my eyes out when my last ms was 96K after 4 months?

Yeah. Comparing and contrasting doesn't fly in relationships, and it doesn't fly in writing, either. So why can't I let go?

Because I still love this story, and I still believe in it. And, because I just counted the actual number of rejections I received, and I'm only at 15. That's nothing compared to the rejections other authors racked up before landing their agents.

So I've decided to tweak my query again, and keep going until I reach a number of rejections worth crying over, or until someone offers rep - whichever comes first. But even then... will the love affair end?

Tell me, peeps. Do you have a story sitting in your drawer that you still pine for?