Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's away...nail biting time!

Well folks, I just sent the partial for Marriage at Circle M to my editor. I thought I got nerved up over submissions before I sold. It's got NOTHING on now. I am, literally, terrified. So for better or worse, it's off.

I am also a little scared of my TGML release in less than two weeks. Just normal jitters, I suppose, hoping that some reviewers actually like it and that some people actually BUY it.

Now I'm off to edit land. Joy...but it has to be done.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This and That

Today's post is a mish mash of little things.

First of all, I guess the time spent banging the promo drum wasn't wasted, because I got lots of entries into my contest. Enough entries that I decided to add an extra copy of The Girl Most Likely. If you haven't entered yet and want to, send me an e-mail at donna@donnaalward.com and give me your name, format preference (Ebook or print) and your mailing address if applicable. That's it. Easy as pie.

Last night, I got a full night's sleep. Well, pretty much, anyway. Woke up at 2:30 for a pee break and at 5:30, but went back to sleep both times. After a week of waking at 4 or 4:30 and not getting back to sleep, it felt heavenly.

I have had 2 men in my house this morning spraying insulation in my attic. :-) We are snug as a bug in a rug. Extra insulation and new windows in half the house will hopefully help with the heat bills. And also the resale value if we decide to move in the near or not so near future.

AND, I have to rewrite 80% of chapter three, but that's ok. I'd rather fix it now, and chances are my editor would have come back with the exact same comments, so it's a pay me now-pay me later kind of thing. So that's what I'm working on today. If I need a change of pace I'll keep puttering away on my first round of edits for my January release, because I want to have them in by the end of the week as well.

Other than that...no excitement. Tomorrow is picture day at school. Always a source of stress. :-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Workin' It

Ok, so first of all, yes, we went for chinese last night. It was GOOOOOD. As in, 2 hours later still feeling the bloated, full feeling good. I ate way too much. The salt and pepper beef with vegetables was too good to resist.

I'll be around the web a bit today. Today is Contemporary Day at Joyfully Reviewed's yahoo group. You can pop in to read blurbs, excerpts, etc. HERE.

I also have an hour to myself at Novelspotters this afternoon, from 3-4 EST. Please stop by so I don't end up being there talking to myself...I do enough of that during the day!

Otherwise, it's getting my partial ready to go. :-)

Monday, August 28, 2006

My First Dollars as a Writer!

Usually I don't blog twice in one day, but I'm over the bloody moon at the moment!

Slogging through chapter three, I decided to take a break and check the mail. In it was an envelope from Harlequin. Figured it was just my copy of my contract. Inside WAS my contract, and also my advance paperclipped to the top!

I must photocopy it, as it is the first money I've made as a writer! I called my husband, who smugly said, "It's about time this started to pay off!"

I told my daughters that when I got it, we'd go for chinese, so that's what's on the menu for dinner.

And, I may just walk to the bank this afternoon. LOL :-)

The Craziness of the Weekend

I didn't write a word all weekend. NOT ONE.

I was too busy. Friday the husband and I played tennis, then got groceries, then volunteered at the kids' school. And Saturday...Saturday we went crazy.

I got up, stripped beds and started laundry. I cleaned out my eldest's closet, and started clearing everything out of my youngest's room, putting it, LOL, in eldest's closet. We went to Rona and bought paint, brushes, curtain rods and various other items, got home at 11, and went to work crack filling and painting her room. I also primed and put 2 coats of paint on the window trim in the other 2 bedrooms...since we had new windows put in last week and the new trim was raw wood. I washed comforters, etc. We put the first coat of paint on her room. I made supper and cleaned up the kitchen and tidied as best I could because the mess was driving me INSANE.

Then, I sorted laundry and washed 2 loads.

Yesterday morning I hung out the 2 loads and washed one more and hung it out before church. When I got home, we had lunch and put the second coat of paint on the room. I bleached doilies and dishcloths, washed them and hung them out. We moved furniture back into the bedroom, hung window treatments, and I got clothes in off the line. We had supper and I cleaned up. I did some ironing. I washed the walls and furniture in OUR bedroom. And then I decided NOT to finish the ironing and mending because I was just too damned tired.

Sadly, there's still oodles to do. Sigh.

But, since it's Monday, first on the list is finishing chapter 3 of MCM so I can send it to my CP.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Heroes...and what they need to be

There's been a really great, interesting discussion about heroes going on at eharlequin's Modern Extra thread. Mod X is a relatively new line, and general consensus seems to be that it combines the sexual intensity of a Modern/Presents with the emotion of a Tender/Romance, with its own special elements incorporated as well. But the heroes? They seem to be closer to a Romance hero than a Presents.

I've read a few, not as many as I'd like since I live in North America and we're not getting them here yet. And a few that I'd ordered didn't come because they SOLD OUT which is well done for the authors but not so good for me. But I've read two of Trish Wylie's and I'd agree that they are very much like a romance. In fact, and she can correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think she was told to write it like a romance but with the sex in all the right places. Trish has an edgy, flirty yet deeply emotional style, which is why, among many reasons, she's been a natural fit for writing for both lines. Nicola Marsh is writing for Mod X now too, and she said this about her first Mod X: "BIG-SHOT BACHELOR, was written as a Romance. To convert to a ModX, all I did was add in 2 sex scenes and not change the hero at all". It doesn't mean that all Romances can be instantly converted by adding sex. But what it does mean is that her hero was perfectly fine for the new line.

So how are the heroes different? We've discussed the deeply alpha types required for Presents, and I made the comment that there could be no "wimpy" heroes. Ooops. Well maybe not oops, because a lot of really great points were made. I do NOT think that betas or a "kinder, gentler, alpha" is a wimp...that comment was strictly based on my own writing and critique comments like "don't let your hero be such a wimp!" Julie Cohen defines them as this: "For me, they're total fantasy figures: honorable (at least eventually), passionate, playful, strong, not afraid to laugh at themselves, always a challenge to the heroine."

LOL I'm discovering with my new WIP how you can write a tough hero but not have him abrasive - he's still a nice guy. And so to bring home my point, I'm going to cut and paste a few bits of those comments here, because these lovely authors explain it so much more eloquently than me.

When I was writing Hired By The Cowboy, Michelle Styles, one of my cp's, tried to make me see how my hero had to be more active rather than letting things happen. He had to take the lead. About heroes, she's said, "Alpha men can be funny and clever and care about things other than status. Alpha is about wanting to protect and defend. Alpha is about being strong, unafraid to take tough decisions because someone has to. Alphas have an inner core of integrity, a backbone of steel. Alphas do not tend to be self aware in the beginning...Alpha can be compassionate but their compassion is proactive. They do things, rather than react to them."

Heroes that act instead of react. THIS IS HUGE. :-)

Having a hero that is alpha doesn't mean he's nasty, arrogant, or a chauvinist pig. Kate Walker made a great point. "Nowhere but nowhere does it say that increasing that 'alpha quotient' means adding in brutality or callousness or arrogance - it means adding in more of that 'challenge' element - the personal/internal conflict that keeps your H & h apart."

And really, that's what it's about. Heroes that are strong, that we can fall in love with...and characters that have conflict running through the whole book.

I'll finish up with Kate Hardy's summation, and this might just be something that I stick on my monitor when I write because it's so damn important:

"conflict + character = emotional punch = what our readers want."

Thanks guys for such a great discussion and for letting me use your words here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sale at Samhain!

FABULOUS SALE & CONTEST AT MBAM!




Lots of prizes this week - all you do is make a purchase to be entered! Winners will be chosen to win a variety of print books!

ALSO, from now until September 30, 2006, every purchase will count toward a drawing for an ebook reader! The winner may choose between an eBookwise, a Palm Tungsten E2, or an HP IPAQ rx1950!

PLUS, you can enter the drawing without making a purchase by sending a postcard with your name, address, phone number, email address, and how you heard about MBaM to this address:

My Bookstore and More
2932 Ross Clark Circle #384
Dothan AL 36301

All postcards must be received by October 31st, winner will be announced on November 1st, 2006


Come see our SALE PRICES on ebooks!
http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/


All Trade PRINT books are ON SALE too! 10% off cover price plus FREE Shipping!



Presented by Millennium Promotion Services, Inc.
http://www.millenniumpromotion.com

The mundane

Well, I think things have FINALLY settled to a point where there's not a development every other flipping day. Which is good. Since March 20 (my sale date to Samhain) I haven't really been able to focus on a new WIP. It's been a slapdash approach, and the ms I WAS working on has been tabled since it was a Modern Extra. That's what happens when you sell three manuscripts in 4 months while working and then vacationing and all the other. Yesterday I sent edits back to my Samhain publisher, and my line edits are done for HBTC, so all I have now is a partial to finish, then first round of edits for my January Samhain release, and then once I hear back from my editor about the partial at Harlequin, I'll proceed from there. It feels really good to have things narrowed down so I can focus more.

Now as far as my house, we have some new windows which look fab and makes me wish we could have afforded to do the whole house. Hopefully next year we'll do the other half. I've also started my spring cleaning, yeah I know, it's not spring anymore. LOL Yesterday I washed all the walls and furniture in my eldest's room. I still have to wash her bedding and hang it out, and clean her closet but those are not big jobs. A few drawers and the kitchen will be done too. I figure if I can get a little done each day, then eventually it'll all get there.

Now that I've bored you to tears, I'll go have some breakfast.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I never knew!

I was surfing today and checking out the local RWA chapter page, and to my surprise I discovered that I'm NOT the only canadian author for the Romance line!

Phew!

Cara Colter, who writes/wrote for Silhouette Romance, has an October release under the Tender imprint! Very very cool!

You can find her webpage at www.cara-colter.com.

Holy Shmoly!

I just, out of curiousity, checked my statcounter for my blog.

Since I started blogging last July, I've had over 7600 page loads, and over 4600 unique visitors!

Wow.

It's so amazing to think how many people pop by here on a daily basis and how many come back. So thank you, all of you, for making me feel like I'm not just blathering on to myself!

I had a pretty good weekend. I had edits arrive on Friday, so I spent the weekend getting those finished up and ready to go. We made dvd's of our vacation video to send to our parents, and I sorted out pictures that I'd ordered from our digital camera. We're going to put together a package for each of our parents. Yesterday morning we went shopping, and we got a few more fish for our tank. :-)

The fun begins today though. Me being the anal, organized person that I am, I've made out a list of all the crap that needs to get done around here, stuff I've ignored for the last 6 months or so and has piled up. Also, we're having half the windows in our house replaced today, which is exciting but adds another dimension of hectic-ity to the day. That's ok, it's going to be very cool having new windows. Hopefully next year we'll be able to afford to replace the other half.

Ok, so I have a question for all of you. Most of my posts are either about my mundane life or writing developments....so I'm gonna ask if there's anything you'd like me to blog about. I don't want to bore you with the same thing day after day, so if you have a question or idea or ANYTHING you find interesting, let me know and I'll see what I can do!

Maybe I'll get off my rear-end and do one of those poll thingies.

Friday, August 18, 2006

And the winners are....

OMG, I'm just bouncing with excitement.

My good friend Michelle Styles was up for a Reader's Choice Award at Cata Romance, and they were "presented" today. Now Michelle is a modest, pragmatic sort of person, and had commented that she didn't truly expect to win. Which makes me even more proud when I say she won in the M&B Historicals Category!

This is all the more sweet because it's the first historical M&B have published in the Roman time period. I'm just so proud and excited for her, and that others obviously have such good taste in authors!

Also in the M&B categories, Liz Fielding won in the Tender category, Kate Walker in the Modern/Presents category, Kate Hardy in the Medicals, and I'm so happy that another debut author and friend took the award for the Modern Extra line - Julie Cohen!

What a fantastic way to end a week.

I have paltry news to add, except that I had 2 compliments today from 2 separate editors that made me feel good about myself and made a great day even better.

CONGRATULATIONS GIRLS!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tagged!

Trish tagged me a few days ago with this, so here goes:


1. One book that changed my life:

Vows by LaVyrle Spencer. It was the first book of hers that I read, and the book that got me hooked on the rest of hers and firmly into the romance genre as a whole.
I think I was 16, because I remember my Dad read it I think and so obviously I read it before he died.

2. One book that I have read more than once:

Oh God. Can't list just ONE. I mean really, until I started writing, I read SO much that I couldn't afford to buy a new book every time. So I just re-read my old favourites. Lots and lots of Nora and LaVyrle's books I've read at least a dozen times each.

3. One book I would want on a deserted island:

The Divine Comedy. For one it's huge, it's deep, and it's one of those you could read over and over and find something new each time. Besides, if I'm stuck on a deserted island I plan on being there with Jamie Bamber, and we should at least be reading the same thing so we can have, er, critical, intelligent discussions.

4. One book that made me laugh:

I snicker at Jane Austen, but if I had to answer this off the top of my head I'd have to say every time I critique one of Trish's books she makes me laugh my ass off.

5. One book that made me cry:

Then Came Heaven by LaVyrle Spencer. I mean I used half a box of Kleenex in the first hour. It's set in a small town in the 50's. Have a young mother get killed, two small children left with their dad and a sympathetic, conflicted nun....WOW.

6. One book I wish I'd written:

Hmmm, I don't know if I can answer this. There are books I love but I'm not sure I would have wanted to have written them (although getting the $$$ for them would have been fine, I suppose!). I think I say that because I AM writing and I have my own style and voice and if I wish I'd written something else then that would mean I would be something other than what I am. If that makes ANY sense at all. Let's just hope who I am is strong enough to keep selling manuscripts.

7. One book I wish had never been written:

I don't know about this either like most people answering this question, I don't really believe in censorship. However I take exception to books written with malicious intent. Any book that promotes the degradation or elimination of a specific group of people is crossing a line IMO.

8. One book I am currently reading:

Friendly Fire. It's the story of four Canadians killed in a friendly fire incident by a bomb dropped by a US F-16. It's really, really good. It's also very neutral. Being a Canadian I went in thinking how the US pilots were only to blame, but it's becoming very clear that there were "cock-ups" at several levels, all of which contributed to the event. I got it to do research for a future hero, and it's proving to be exactly what I needed - a realistic, detailed portrayal of what it's like serving in Afghanistan.

9. One book I have been meaning to read:

Middlemarch by George Eliot. I've started and stopped it so many times, and always get distracted by something else. I love George Eliot. One of my favorite books ever is Daniel Deronda. She was revolutionary in writing about anti-semitism at that time.

Phew!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Long Overdue - my vacation!

So this is way overdue, but we did have a great trip this summer, going to New Brunswick to visit family and friends. I was exhausted so focused on R&R. We went swimming almost every day - it seemed everyone was either on the water or had a pool. While at my mom's I spent some quality time with my sisters and spent a day at Kings Landing with my best friend who works there. THe kids loved having so much space to run around and loads of pets to play with! I liked being back on the farm. It isn't "our" farm any more, but I did lots of walking around it and the guy that owns it now even picked me up on the tractor. LOL I'd run my mother's clothesline off the pulley at the pole end. I'm deathly afraid of heights, but he put a pallet on the forks, hoisted me all the way up and I fixed it. I watched them hay the field and went to sleep at night to the sound of the "hay dryer" - a very welcome and familiar sound from my childhood.

After I left my Mom's, we picked up a very special friend (waves at Michele) and took her to lunch. Then it was on to the in-laws.

My inlaws have about 5 acres and an adorable little bungalow on it. It is the epitome of relaxation. We had a family get together on the weekend, with 23 of us there I think. Everyone brought their campers - it was like a campground! The kids enjoyed their cousins a lot and we played lots of canasta, did karaoke, and enjoyed some liquid refreshment. The week after we went to the Dunes in Buctouche as well as the Irving Gardens, and then out for Chinese. We also did a day trip to Prince Edward Island. The weather was beautiful, and we took the girls to Anne of Green Gables house as we'd recently read the first book of the series. Dh's parents were with us and we had a picnic lunch, then took the Wood Island Ferry to Nova Scotia, had dinner with dh's sister, and got home about 10:30 at night.

By the time we got back, we were exhausted all over again but really relaxed. And homesick. For the first time in the 10 years we've been gone, we really missed "home".

Here are a few pics that we took.... the first is of Kings Landing in New Brunswick, the second is the lighthouse at Wood Island, PEI, and the last is of the Irving Chapel in Buctouche, New Brunswick.







Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Details are UP at Samhain!

First of all, thanks to everyone here and on my various lists that offered birthday congratulations! I had a delicious cake and a treat of my favorite pizza- tropical chicken on thin crust. Yum!

So the news for today is that my blurb, etc. is up at Samhain for The Girl Most Likely. You can view it here. Heck, I read the blurb and got excited myself!

Next, congratulations to all the nominees in Cataromance's Reviewer's Choice Awards. I'd attempt to list all those authors I know who were nominated but I'd be terrified of leaving someone out! But notably I'd like to congratulate Julie Cohen for her three nominations, and my CP's Michelle Styles and Trish Wylie. The awards are handed out this Friday.

Just a reminder - you can still enter to win a copy of The Girl Most Likely. Just send an e-mail to donna@donnaalward.com with your name and your format preference (e-book or print version coming in December). Then come back on September 12 for the draw and other happy thoughts as I celebrate my first release!

As an aside....more reality! I just received my line edits courtesy of Fed Ex! When it rains....

It's more than cool seeing my book printed up with line numbers and everything.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday, Monday

Wooo hooo!

I know I've blogged about this before, but I love Mondays. Maybe if I hated my job I'd hate Mondays too. But Monday means that I get to go back to my regular routine and I get to work. I love what I do - even when it gets hard - so I love Monday.

I'm all set to start my new ms, currently titled Marriage at Circle M. My plan is to aim for 1000 - 1500 words a day while writing. I'm going to have each chapter critiqued as I go though so that count won't be as high on the days I get my critiques back, and that's ok. It's the method that's worked best for me in the past and I think things will definitely work better if I get back to it.

I also have a second project started, but with no plans for it taking off just yet. If I can have the partial done by the time I have the whole ms of Marriage at Circle M sent, I'll be happy. It'll be one of those things that I'll work on if time permits OR if I get really stuck and need to jump start.

I heard from my Samhain editor and I will have my edits tomorrow. I'm hoping they're not too extensive. It makes me happy though because it'll be one more thing I can check off my list of things to do and as most of you know I'm a big list girl.

The other reason why I love THIS particular Monday is that it's my birthday. No, I really don't like getting another year older although I can't complain as I've had a banner year. I'm much happier in my 30's than I ever was in my teens or twenties, so who cares about a number? (remind me of that in a few years as 40 approacheth as well as having teenagers, shudder!) Anyway the dh and kids have cooked the makings of my cake which they will put together at dinner. It's my favourite and they've started making it every year. A white layer cake, with vanilla pudding and strawberries between the layers, more pudding and berries on top and then whipped cream - garnished with more berries. It is light and delicious.

And since I'm in a goodwill-sharing type of mood, I'm going to celebrate by sharing a pic or two...it's been too long since I did! I'm sure if he knew it was my birthday he'd offer congratulations of his own, but for now I'll just put up the pics. :-)





Saturday, August 12, 2006

What's Next!

WHat's next up for me?

Well, for right now, it's the sequel to Hired By The Cowboy!

The timing is serendipitous I think. I generally don't work on the weekends unless I have to, so I'm starting chapter one on Monday...which just happens to be my birthday. Added to that, but my kids are back to school mid-week which means next week is also my first week as a full-time writer, with no kids at home during the day. It's like it's new beginnings all around.

In other news, fall must be approaching. I'm doing the nesting thing. It's back to school and growing up that meant baking and freezing and canning. Well, unfortunately now I'm a city gal which means not much to freeze and can as I don't have a garden. And I'm trying desperately not to bake because my jeans are already feeling squeezy. So instead I've started cleaning. I didn't do my spring cleaning this year as I was so crazy with edits and revisions and working. Today it was the last straw. I couldn't put my groceries away without cleaning out my fridge. I couldn't put my baking goods away without cleaning out THAT cupboard. Which just started a snowball effect and I came close to housecleaning my whole kitchen. All I have left to do is clean the window blind and the inside of some of the cupboards. Walls are washed, baseboards were cleaned with a toothbrush. LOL I Murphy's Oiled my table, chairs, and the exterior of my cupboards. It's actually very sad how good it felt.

But I still feel like I should be stockpiling for the winter. :-)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I have a cover!

I have the cover for The Girl Most Likely!

It's very very cool seeing your name up on your very first cover. In celebration I've found it on the Coming Soon page for September on Samhain's site as well as on my author page there, and I've posted it on my website. I also revamped my website AGAIN, so pop over one more time and let me know how you like it! For the record I'm much happier with it...it just seems more unified to me.

Anyway without further ado....



Oh, and I think it's very interesting that I have a nipple on my cover. :-) I'm thinking Julie Cohen might really appreciate that.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Quick note:

I've made some changes to my website. Please pop over here and have a gander, and let me know if you find the new template easier/prettier/better. I'm learning as I go. I also got a peek at my cover for The Girl Most Likely this morning, and once it gets final approval I'll see about putting it up there and how THAT works. :-) I hope to have the final pic by the end of the week!

Because I haven't in a while....

and darn Trish and her silly birthday which is incidentally the same sign as mine....

Here's yet another blogthing....

You are 73% Leo

Friday, August 04, 2006

Happy Friday!

This is a long weekend and August is the month of my birthday, which have nothing to do with what I'm about to say but it makes me feel good anyway. And I thought today would be a good day to switch gears, especially since I mailed my contracts and other various forms last night! Squeeeee!

SO, my release date for The Girl Most Likely is only a little over a month away! Which means it's just about time to announce a contest!

On September 12 my first sale will be available to the world! To celebrate, I'm giving a copy away right here on my blog. On September 12 I'm having a bit of a launch party, right here, and I'll announce the winner as well as post excerpts and other nonsense!

Details are on my website . The good news is, there are no difficult questions to answer, no hoops to jump through! And the winner will have their choice of e-format, released in September or the print format, which is released the third Tuesday of December, just in time for Christmas!

Pop over to the site, send in your entry and then come back here on September 12 for the winner announcement!

Oh, and have a great long weekend. :-)

Donna

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Things they don't tell you about selling!

I feel like Mike Wazowski from Monster's Inc.

You know, when Roz stares him down from behind the desk and growls, "Wazowski, where's your paperwork?"

Paperwork, paperwork. Right now I'm attempting to decipher a form from the IRS and I'm completely lost. It's only one page. You'd think it'd be easy. Nope.

There's lot's of things "they" don't tell you about selling. You're going to be inundated with congratulations which is the fun, surreal and coolest part. You'll be asked for a biography, a dedication. You're going to be blessed with invites to author threads, you're going to have contract questions after you've read the same paragraphs of legalese until your eyes cross. There are release forms and permissions to ask for and at times I think I'm ready for my head to explode.

I guess I wasn't prepared for all that would happen once I sold to M&B. In a very good way I suppose but sometimes my head starts reeling! LOL That being said, everyone has been really helpful and has cheerfully answered any and all of my questions. But once you sell - and be warned, all you guys submitting and waiting for THE CALL - you're going to be hit with information from all quarters!

The good news is no one expects you to know exactly what to do the first time out and no one is going to fire you. :-) And the best part is that with every task, you are reminded that you've achieved a goal you set for yourself. That feels pretty darn good!

Another author warned me that previous methods of time management would go out the window and that it can be a challenge. I can see that. I can see me having to disconnect the internet and the phone for a few hours each day so that I can focus on writing without interruption. Or setting a word count for the day and then once that's done, looking after the other "stuff". I'm sure after a short while I'll get into a groove and everything will start running smoothly!

For now I'm off to ask for some help with this darn form. I thought Revenue Canada was hard. It's got NOTHING on the IRS!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What do I do now?

So, I'm bored.

That doesn't sound right, does it. But it's true...anything I had due to hand in is IN. Which means until I get edits from one editor and confirmation on what to write next from the other, I have nothing to do.

WEIRD.

I've organized the "filing" so that I have receipts put with bills and bills ready to pay come Friday morning. I have outgoing mail ready so that when my contracts are ready to go I can do one stop at the post office. I've updated a few things, checked my e-mail, and have started making a grocery list.

Yawn.

Maybe now I'll go check the mail.

Oh, and I have to share a funny story. I had subbed a manuscript in September of 2004 to another house. Last September I called to wish it happy anniversary. Still under consideration. Later in the fall I called again as I had another submission ready to send and didn't know if I should before hearing back on the first. I was then informed that it had been rejected. No letter, no date, but the computer showed it as being rejected. Well, I was just glad to know. So while on holidays I got a letter from this publisher and it was the rejection. EIGHT MONTHS after I was told it was rejected!

I had to pull AAF from this publisher when I sold it to Samhain, which happened in April, so I'll look for that rejection around Christmas. :-) LOL It just goes to show that computer glitches DO happen...people are fallible...and it sometimes pays to follow up on submissions, no matter where they are.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What turned the corner?

A comment by Janet G (who incidentally is a writer from my hometown) has prompted the subject for today. She said, "After you got a couple of published authors as your CPs did your writing change in any major way?... What piece of advice gave you the lightbulb moment when you knew what you were doing wrong...was it the crit from Michelle (the one you mentioned made you cry and think about quitting) that made you realise what you needed to do to get published? Or was it a combination of things you learned as you exchanged crits with Trish and Michelle?"

I can honestly say that I learned something new from every ms I wrote, about what worked and what didn't. About where my strengths lie and what needs work. But I would have written for a darned long time without great CP's to help. So yes, my writing changed in a major way...getting a lot more requests for fulls for one thing.

When I thought about quitting, it was because reading that crit was hard news to take. I wondered if I would ever be able to do it, so why bother? And so I learned a few things about myself in the days that followed. First of all, hard crits are necessary and the best thing to do is let them simmer for a few days and go back and see if you can see what your CP is saying. When I went back a week later, I could see the truth in it as much as it stung. I also learned something about myself...I'm damned stubborn. (Shocking, I know.) I was determined to do this and that meant swallowing some pride, and, horror of horrors, admitting I might have been wrong!

If I could offer one piece of advice to any aspiring writer, just ONE, it would be to learn how to take criticism and make it work for you. Listen to what CP's, other authors, and editors have to say. Think about what they've said and why they've said it, and look at how you can apply that to your own work. For some writers, things can change overnight. I was a little slower. Michelle has been my cp for 2 years, Trish for 1. But they've taught me lots about showing emotion, upping conflict, developing strong yet sympathetic characters. And I learn *almost* as much from reading their work. I see things and point them out and can then use that in my own work.

I can honestly say that there wasn't any one lightbulb moment that I knew what I was doing wrong. Each ms has its challenges. One thing Michelle was on me for all the time when we started was to add physical beats and introspection. In other words, to SHOW and not TELL. Sounds easy, right? It's not. It was something I really had to work at, and now that's not so much a problem.

The one lightbulb moment I DID have was when I found my voice. I just KNEW. Every ms since then has been developing that voice to a point where it was ready for publication. One of the comments I got in my last rejection from M&B was to keep developing my distinctive voice. When I got my revision letter, they said they loved my voice. So that's really, really important.

And believe me, selling is not magical. I am so far from having it all figured out! LOL Right now my struggles are to keep conflict going and making sure I have strong heroes!

I hope that answered your question, Janet!