Thursday, February 28, 2013

Welcome SYTYCW Author Janie Crouch

Welcome Janie, who is sharing her So You Think You Can Write experience with us today. Thanks for being here.

Q. Overall, how would you rate your experience with So You think You Can Write Global 2012?

A. Well, I’m determined that I’ll never do it again, so what does that tell you? :-)

Honestly, I thought SYTYCW would be my big break. Not that I figured I would win the contest, or even come in the top three. But I was excited that a real live editor from Harlequin (oooh, aaah) would be reading my chapter. Surely once she read my chapter, there would be a request to send more chapters or the full manuscript.

Or perhaps they’d love it so much that they would offer me a book contract *on the spot*.

But alas: no. Nothing. Nada. Never heard anything back from anyone as a result of this contest. It was a heavy blow to my writing self-esteem.

Q. Ouch, I've suffered similar blows. Unfortunately they are part of this crazy business. We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?

Minor revisions. My book was complete before I submitted it to SYTYCW.

Q. How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?

I wrote my book as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – November 2011. I completed the novel in 30 days then put it away for three months. I didn’t want to look at it at all during that time. Finally, I found the mental fortification to really dig into and edit the book. Surprising, the story itself was pretty good; no real holes and it flowed at a good pace.

There were definitely some inconsistencies in the novel (blue eyes in chapter 3 turned to green eyes in chapter 6, etc) that had to be fixed. And dialogue that had to be expanded or chopped – or changed completely. I fully edited it two more times before I would let anyone else even glance at it. After a couple of trusted friends read it and encouraged me to keep tweaking, I did line edits with the help of an outside reader. It was completed finished long before SYTYCW.

Q. Any thoughts on submitting your entry to another publisher or agent?

A. I have definitely come to understand that my writer’s “voice” is not a good fit for the Harlequin Love Inspired line. I am a little too irreverent and biting where they are looking for traditional and sweet. Nothing wrong with traditional and sweet, that’s just not my style. At this point, I have given up hope that I will be an author for the Love Inspired line.

I submitted the first chapter of my SYTYCW entry to another Christian publisher – one that has a more progressive reputation – at the end of January 2012. On February 25, they requested my full manuscript. I plan to have that off to them soon.

Q. Finding the right fit for your style is important. How long have you been writing?

A. Unbreak My Heart, my SYTYCW entry, was my first novel. I completed it in November 2011. Before then I concentrated more on non-fiction and academic writing.

Q.What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?

Basically, I went Looney-Tunes crazy during SYTYCW. It’s hard for me to talk about exactly how nuts I got, but I’ll give you the highlights:

1) I bugged every friend I had (or used to have, most of them probably unfriended me) on Facebook for TEN DAYS STRAIGHT asking them to vote for me in this contest.

2) About 2 days into the contest, I realized I could also TEXT PEOPLE and ask for them to vote for me on their phone. Coincidentally, lot of my friends changed their phone numbers during that time. And didn’t give me their new number.

3) I went to the Apple Store at the mall 8 days in a row and voted for myself on every device they had hooked up to the Internet (which is 57, btw).

4) I made my children vote for me on their Nintendo games and iPods. And told them to ask their friends to vote too.

5) Do you know that the public library has multiple computers patrons can use? Want to know how I know that?

6) Because voting was blind, I had no idea how many votes I had versus the other entries. What I could see was how many Facebook “Likes” an entry had (which had nothing to do with voting, but still… at least it seemed like real data). So I went through ALL 690 ENTRIES and wrote down the title of any entry that had more than 100 Likes. There were 120 of them in case you're wondering.

7) I got ABSOLUTE NOTHING done the three days between when voting closed and they announced the finalists because I was so nervous and anxious to find out the results. Nothing – I don’t even think I cooked or took a shower.

8) On Monday, Oct 15 when they began to announce the finalists, I checked my email incessantly even though my email gets sent to my phone and Tom Hanks announces “Houston, we have a problem” on my phone whenever I get email. Still, I manually checked. You know, just in case it was broken, or Tom Hanks didn’t feel like talking…

8) I didn’t help my kids with their homework on that Monday because I was so busy watching Twitter to see who the winners were.

9) I threw an absolute fit when one of the finalists started tweeting about how she didn’t even have manuscript finished so she better start writing *fast* so she’d have something to turn in.

HAVE SOMETHING TO TURN IN???? I had an entire book ready to turn in! How good can yours be if you’re writing ¾ of it in 2 days?

And… scene.

Do the words: outlandish, preposterous, ridiculous, or absurd come to mind? They should. Basically I lost two weeks of my life to this stupid contest. And by “stupid contest” I mean: “a perfectly reasonable contest in which my behavior was asinine.”

It’s hard to watch a train wreck while you’re also conducting it. But somehow I managed.

Q. If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

A. Not enter. Or if I did enter, not involve any of my family and friends in trying to get them to vote for me.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. In November 2012, just after SYTYCW ended and I was wallowing in self-pity for not being chosen as a finalist, I received a request from Harlequin for a full manuscript from an entirely different book (also completed). See No Evil, was sent to Harlequin Intrigue in December 2012. I am still waiting to hear back, although on February 20th I received word that the Intrigue Editor was in the process of reading my manuscript. Hopefully that means I will hear one way or the other soon, perhaps by the first of April.

Q. Please keep us posted on your Intrigue full request. I have everything crossed for you, and envy anyone who can write Intrigue. Where can we find you on the Web?

A. Blog: www.run-janie-run.blogspot.com

Twitter: @janiecrouch

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Adventures-of-Calamity-Jane/375033609178636

THANKS FOR COMING BY, JANIE

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Welcome SYTYCW Finalist Heather Gardner

Heather joins me today, and she has the distinction of being among 28 authors to final in the So You Think You Can Write Contest contest. Kind of a big deal, you know?

Overall, how would you rate your experience with So You think You Can Write Global 2012?

I had a very positive experience. Everyone was encouraging and helpful.

We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?

The first chapter hasn’t changed since the contest.

How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?

My book, Maguire’s Corner, was complete when I entered the contest. I’m not doing any revisions on it at this time.

Any thoughts on submitting your entry to another publisher or agent?

Yes, it is out right now and I will be sending more queries out soon.

How long have you been writing?

For many years but only for the last few have I ever tried to get something published.

Have you ever entered a contest like this one before?

Yes, I once tried a contest affiliated with Amazon.

What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?

The social networking aspect was fantastic. I met quite a few new friends during the contest on Twitter and found lots of new blogs to follow.

If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

It should have occurred to me that Maguire’s Corner was not really Harlequin material. I did make the top 28 but once the HQN editors read it they said it really wasn’t for them. My story doesn’t just focus on the two main characters and that’s really what HQN is looking for.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on book two in the Maguire’s Corner series, a fictional town with a very large and interesting founding family.

Where can we find you on the Web?

Twitter: @hmgardner Blog: http://hmgardner.blogspot.com

Thank you for joining us, Heather!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Welcome Mag7 Author Tricia Tyler

Tricia is a country girl at heart who has written about cowboys and the women who love them. She also writes about yummy cop heroes.

Q. Welcome, Tricia. It’s great to have you here today. What do you like best about the Mag7 group?

A. I love that we have such a diverse group. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, and all bring something different to the table. I think that is a blessing when we are helping each other. Most of all, I love how supportive we all are of each other.

Q. I love it when authors become each other’s cheerleaders. How long have you been writing?

A. I penned my first romance at the tender age of eleven. But I seriously began to put words on paper with the hope of someday becoming published last March. So almost a year now.

Q. Why romance? Or why not?

A. For me it could not be anything else. I love all romance genres and have been reading them since sneaking my older sisters book Tender Betrayal at eleven.

Q. What are you working on right now?

A. Currently I am working on a Romantic Suspense with a Psychic P.I, a Sexy Cajun Cop, and a Hot FBI Agent all working to bring down a Serial Killer.

Q. Hoo boy. Two hot heroes. What a heroine to do? Got any bragging rights lately?

A. My first two books have received full requests.

Q. That is amazing, and rare for the first books. What are your writing goals for the next six months?

A. Finish Dark Water and be working on another.

Q. What’s your favorite quote on writing?

A. I don’t know that it is a writing quote necessarily, but it is my favorite at the moment.

‘Life is a book unwritten and only you hold the pen’

Q. What inspires you?

A. Pretty much everything, but music is the biggest. I always have at least one song that inspires me with my current WIP.

Q. Where can we find you on the web? http://writerswritingoutloud.wordpress.com/ and @PatriciaMarsh

Thanks for being here today, Tricia!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Welcome SYTYCW Contestant Author Lorraine Nelson

Please help me welcome author Lorraine Nelson, another contestant with So You Think You Can Write Global 2012. Lorraine is a published author with Evernight Publishing and Breathless Publishing.

Q. Overall, how would you rate your experience with So You think You Can Write Global 2012?

A. It was well organized. I enjoyed participating.

Q. We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?

A. Does anything ever stay as is? Yes, it’s gone through more revisions. Still tweaking and polishing. 

Q. How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?

A. The book is finished and I’m revising it in its entirety.

Q. Oh Lorraine, I am doing the same so I more than feel your pain. Any thoughts on submitting your entry to another publisher or agent?

A. Harlequin American is considering my ms for publication, hence the revisions. If that falls through, I will certainly sub it elsewhere.

Q. Congrats on your full request, Lorraine. How long have you been writing?

A. I’ve been writing all my life, but romance since February, 2009.

Q. Have you ever entered a contest like this one before?

A. Yes, I entered SYTYCW two years ago and New Voices before that.

Q. What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?

A. I think Harlequin and the participants promoted themselves well.

Q. If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

A. I would’ve allowed more time for writing and polishing.

Q. Is there ever enough time? What are you working on now?

A. Revisions for Suited to be a Cowboy for Hqn American and Cameron’s Quest, Book 5 in my Thunder Creek Ranch series with Evernight Publishing.

Q. Where can we find you on the Web?

Website: http://lorrainenelson.weebly.com Blog: http://lorrainenelson.wordpress.com Twitter: @lornelca Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LorraineNelson.Author Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lorraine-Nelson/e/B005XMAYFQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Thank you for being here today, Lorraine. Please come by again sometime soon!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Welcome Mag7 Author Lora Bailey

This week my Critique Partners and I begin our group blog over at Wordpress (oops, can I say that here?) We launch appropriately on Valentine's Day so be sure to check us out.

Q. What do you like best about the Mag7 group?

A. The best part of Mag7 is the flexibility. I don’t feel as though I have to participate in every conversation. I have the freedom to be quite chatty when the mood strikes, or not. When life intervenes I can be away from the group for days/weeks at a time, and return as if I had just posted the day before. This, of course is in addition to the fundamentals of motivation, discussion, networking, craft, etc. However, I’ve never felt the freedom to be myself in any other writers’ group I’ve encountered before. That, to me, is priceless.

Q. How long have you been writing?

A. I’ve been writing all my life, before I could read, actually. Ha! Seriously this current burst of honest and serious effort is in its 8th month. Yep. I’m a newbie!

Q. Why romance? Or why not?

A. Romance – because it is the only genre I read. I know I should broaden my horizons and read other genres. I try. My “go-to” genre to read is romance.

Q. What are you working on right now?

A. I am working on a category-length romantic comedy. It features two burned out executives who meet when one’s dog destroys the other’s garden.

Q. I am helping you with research, right? Just kidding. Got any bragging rights lately?

A. Yep. I lost 5 pounds. I’m shooting for 30.

Q. Way to go! What are your writing goals for the next six months?

A. My first goal is to finish the category-length romantic comedy, then see if the concept has strong enough legs to be a series.

Q. What’s your favorite quote on writing?

A. Each day we begin again. What we do today is what matters most.

Q. What inspires you?

A. The promise of chocolate.

Q. Where can we find you on the web?

A. Twitter - @LorWrite Facebook – Lora Bailey Wordpress - http://lorwrite.wordpress.com/

Thanks for visiting here, Lora!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Welcome SYTYCW contestant, author Fiona Marsden

Q: Hi Fiona, thanks for being here today. Overall, how would you rate your experience with So You think You Can Write Global 2012?

A: I had a great time with the contest. Apart from receiving a rejection for the same manuscript two days after entering. It was actually quite liberating after the initial rejection meltdown. I figured I had nothing to lose so just enjoyed the camaraderie. I managed to read over 200 of the entries and the synopses for quite a few more.

I think the best part was getting to know so many other writers going through the same process. I’m still in touch with quite a few.

Q: We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?

A: I noticed a couple of typos and that I hadn’t described what my heroine was wearing. Those were fixed but otherwise not a lot of changes. The book was more or less finished before the contest but I revised the first chapter drastically before entering.

Q: How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?

A: The entire book was revised along the same lines as the first chapter after the contest. I received a full request from Harlequin UK immediately after SYTYCW finished. I finished the revisions and sent it off a couple of weeks later.

Q: Any thoughts on submitting your entry to another publisher or agent?

A: I will wait to see how that request from Harlequin UK works out before considering other options.

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I could say all my life. I had some poetry published as a child and started writing romances that I never finished in my teens. Once I had a family I stopped writing for many years though I still read copiously. I seriously began writing again in September 2010. Since then I’ve manage to complete quite a few stories to the HEA stage which is an accomplishment in itself.

Q: Have you ever entered a contest like this one before?

A: I discovered SYTYCW 2011 when it was half over and quickly entered one of my completed stories. I suspect it wasn’t even properly formatted as it was the first one I wrote and I didn’t have a clue. It probably looked like an old university English assignment but longer. I also entered two stories into the Valerie Parv Award and had some useful feedback.

Q: What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?

A: I assume you are referring to the self promotion side of the contest. I found it quite difficult but enjoyed promoting the other entries I enjoyed. I think having the rejection for that MS made it harder to consider that my entry was worth promoting.

In terms of the overall promotional aspect of the contest I think it was a great way to raise the profile of Romance and Romance Writers.

Q: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

A: Not enter a Manuscript that was already under consideration. I’d actually forgotten it was out there because I have several stories I’m preparing. Remembering which ones I’d subbed six months ago and which were already rejected is a job in itself. I have a spreadsheet but I don’t study it religiously.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I did pitches for two manuscripts at the RWAus2012 conference at the Gold Coast here in Australia. Both received some interest and one three chapter request is with HarlequinUK at present. I am revising the rest of the MS and working on another MS that I’ve been invited to submit to another publisher. I always have something fresh on the go as well.

Q: Where can we find you on the Web?

A: I have a blog I do the occasional thing with at http://apleasantbook.blogspot.com.au/ I am planning a website but am focusing on getting my writing up to scratch at present. I’m on Twitter as @FionaMarsden2.

Thanks for sharing, Fiona!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Welcome Author Tina Evans of the Magnificent Seven

Our group blog, Writers Writing Out Loud, launches on Valentine's Day this February 14th. This Tuesday I welcome one of the Mag 7 members, author Tina Evans.

Hi, Tina. What do you like best about our Mag7 group?

I love the support. We all have great days and awful days. Finding a supportive non-judgmental environment is difficult. This group is our opportunity to celebrate, vent and even cry over the craziness of this process. There's a huge learning curve in writing romance and and I think having a safe haven to turn to (especially on the days you get rejected) is priceless.

You can say that again. And thanks for pulling me up off the floor a few times already. How long have you been writing?

Writing with the actual intent to get published : 1 year.

Why romance? Or why not?

I love romance, but I didn't discover this until about two years ago. Growing up I gravitated more towards suspense and mystery. Pretty much anything my sister left lying around. I still remember grabbing V.C. Andrews "Flowers in the Attic" from her nightstand. And later Anne Rice's "Interview With The Vampire".

But two years ago I was on bed rest while pregnant and came across a contemporary romance title called "Talk Me Down" by Victoria Dahl and there was no turning back!

What are you working on right now?

A contemporary romance.

Got any bragging rights lately?

I receive 3rd place in this years Maryland Romance Writers "Reveal Your Inner Vixen" contest. I also am a finalist in the New England RWA "First Kiss" Contest. The results have not yet been announced.

Well, you know I'm pulling for you - we all are! What are your writing goals for the next six months?

Complete my current project and get started on the next one while submitting the first.

What’s your favorite quote on writing?

I recently came across this. It's not necessarily about writing. More about storytelling in general.

"One person alone in the woods is a scary story. Two is a fairy tale." I wish I could credit someone but I have no idea who said it!

I never heard that one before, but I'm going to add it to my inspiring quotes. I love it! What inspires you?

Reading other authors that I love. It's the old, "I hope to be as good as them one day!"

Where can we find you on the web?

On twitter@just_ms_tina and on the magnificent seven blog site.