Today’s spam…too funny!

Every blog that gets traffic gets spam. That’s the reality. I haven’t, yet, decided to put a captcha program on my blog (where  you have to input a wiggly set of letters and numbers to prove you’re human and not a bot in order to comment) and that’s okay. I use Akismet and they catch a lot.

However, I get email notifications of these spammers. And usually it’s something polite, every now and then it’s a foreigner trying to write English, and always it’s a company wanting my business.

The one post that has been generating most – nay, ALL – of the spam is one I wrote late last year titled “Rejection City”. The comments are closed for that post, btw, but that doesn’t stop the spammers from trying. And today’s spam made me laugh out loud.

Today’s spammer called me on the carpet. The message said they were disappointed that my content had nothing to say, that they didn’t learn a single thing from my blog post. As if that would make me write them back? Seriously?

I just tried to find that post in my trash, but my computer is that efficient – it’s already dumped it. But it was truly laugh-out-loud hysterical.

Universe, I know I don’t blog enough here. I know I’m not always educational, but I do try to be entertaining. And I’m really cutting down on the sad stuff. No, really. So if you don’t mind, please send me spam that’s more along the lines of “I truly love your blog you say great things about this subject everyone should think about it I will have all my relatives follow  you.” Oh, and have it be from somewhere creative, like an erectile dysfunction pill manufacturer, or something. Okay?

Peace out, peeps!

Branding, Blogging, Breathing…

Branding myself is a tiring business, but I have to remember it is a business. Writing a great book doesn’t mean squat if no one reads it, right? So, despite the fact that I don’t have an actual release date for my book, I’m forging ahead with my author brand by blogging at other sites, updating Twitter and Facebook, and if I’m lucky, adding words to book 2 in the Caine Brothers series.

It’s tiring. At times I have to remember to step away from the computer and just breathe. Whether I do yoga, or walk around the block, or meet a friend for coffee, I need the headspace away from my desk. Not to mention, my body needs to get moving in order to stay healthy. (Speaking of moving, I tried to do a couple of walk/runs. My third one, I tweaked my left knee. Sigh…and so it goes…)

Blogging gets kind of obsessive, especially when you get a lot of comments. I always feel I need to answer each one, even though I KNOW most of those commenting aren’t going back to read in case I comment! Still, seeing my words connect with other people is really cool.

Next week, on Monday I’ll be at Eva Coppersmith’s blog – you can find me there on and off all day PLUS I’ll be doing a giveaway of a copy of DEMON SOUL.

Now, I need to write. Tomorrow I have friends coming over for dinner, so will need to clean plus go to 10:30am yoga class. Oh, and cook, of course, I’ll need to do that too…oh, and the rest of the weekend?

I’ll be breathing.

Paranormal Spring Break

Paranormal Spring Break

Tynga is hosting Crescent Moon Press debut authors this week! Drop by and leave a comment on my interview and you could win a free copy of DEMON SOUL!

Click here…

See you there!

P.S. The drawing ends April 6th, so there’s time!


The Editing Process & the Prom

The Editing Process & the Prom

Every writer’s first time with an editor attached to a publishing house is different, because every writer and every editor is different. However, I learned five really nifty things that I’d like to pass on.

#1. Crutch Words Every writer has them, some more than others. Mine varied. In the first iteration, my editor teased me about everyone mumbling, muttering, or murmuring – and always under their breath. A few painful hours and 101 m-words later, I realized that by ripping those words out I had to dig deeper, which made my writing stronger. (The second iteration involved nodding, nodded, nod; everyone became a bobble head. Another learning opportunity!)

#2 Clarity This is something we all hear and know, but never think it happens to us. We believe our manuscripts are easy to follow. Well, maybe in the first draft they were – but that was 8 or 9 drafts ago, and the thought process now doesn’t track. There were times when my beloved editor would ask a question about something, and I would pull my hair out – it was very clearly stated in chapter 12! This was chapter 13 – my readers would figure it out!

Um, no, they wouldn’t figure it out, because between chapter 12 and chapter 13, I’d eliminated a chapter that explained a lot of stuff. So much rewriting had to go on in some spots just to clarify the story and keep the ball rolling along.

#3 Sentence Structure I’m a pretty smart cookie. But after getting my first edits back, I wanted to hide in a huge book on grammar and not come out until I’d finished reading it. Except I hate grammar. So after I took a deep breath, I really studied what my editor was telling me. I learned that choppy sentences work really well in tense situations, but not so good in the slower moments.

Plus, at the beginning of the book all my guys sounded like chicks. They talked too much, apologized too fast, etcetera. Yeah, good to know! What an eye-opener. All these things that I’ve learned will go into an edit before any other project gets sent off to an agent or an editor, I assure you!

#4 Edits Take Time Getting the edits done took more time than I had imagined they would. The first pass I did took me two weeks – and I don’t have a day job, folks. Actually, it took me a whole week just to wrap my head around the changes needed (I had some unfortunate POV shifts and had to move them to another characters’ POV – and never the same character, lol!). Every day I’d look at the comments, and every day I stepped away from the computer, not sure how to begin. Six days after first receiving the edits I finally understood and started in on the revisions. Eight days later, they were done. Not only did I change the POV issues, but I added scenes, added a character, and did some continuity work.

#5 The Crit Partner You Can’t Say No To During my week of introspection on the first edits, I went through a lot of the same emotions that I’ve gone through in the past with critique partners. Except this time, I couldn’t just ignore the comments on sentence structure, plot holes, continuity, clarity, etcetera – this time I had to face my demons and get the work done. (Never ignore your critique partners’ words of wisdom. Never. Always give them serious consideration.)

I’m not saying you can never say no to an editor, because that’s not true.  Yes, you can fight for the big stuff, but hopefully you’ll be able to keep your mind open enough to listen. Editors want to make your book the very best they can be and most of the time, they have WAY more experience than you do. Think of it this way; your editor is making sure you go to the Prom with your fanny decently covered, not hanging out in the wind and inviting evisceration of your character (book).

Thank you, Liz Pelletier, for making sure my fanny was covered!

DEMON SOUL comes out at the end of this month from Crescent Moon Press! Here’s the cover…

Big Sur Writer’s Workshop – KidLit

So, now that I’ve recovered from camping up in Big Sur…the Workshop I attended was presented by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and it was a workshop, not a conference/convention. Including staff, we totaled 110; there was roughly 1 pro for every 5 attendees, not a bad ratio.

The weekend was for writers of picture books, chap books, middle grade books, and YA. It was not cheap – at $720 for two half-days and one full day, not cheap at all – but probably the most valuable weekend I’ve spent.

Unless you paid the single supplement, you were issued a roommate and I got lucky with Karen Akins. She’s a sweet Arkansas girl who writes both picture books and YA time travel books. We really hit it off and the second night, I kept her up way late chatting. But the roommate thing was fabulous!

The main thrust of the weekend were crit groups, two separate ones. We were to come prepared, with copies of our work, which I did. We read aloud, received feedback from the group plus the group leader (I got lucky and had two agents as group leaders), and had a chance to rewrite before taking it back to the group a second time. Two crit groups, four crit sessions total. Invaluable. Not to mention, a one on one for ten  minutes with an industry professional…that alone totally made my trip.

Some may think they’re beyond it – not needing strangers to crit their work – but I welcome every opportunity to learn, especially from people who aren’t invested in me and could care less how well I do. The feedback I got has been the most valuable on this book so far. Lots of changes need to be made, but that’s okay – it gives me somewhere to take this book so I’m thrilled.

Surprisingly, the groups meshed quickly. Our leaders were firm, fair, and spot on when targeting trouble spots. All the staff were approachable – they wanted us to talk to them, to ask them questions, and considering these were agents and editors for the most part, it was a wonderful sense of camaraderie that they fostered, made possible by the intimate nature of the group.

If you write for the YA market or younger, if you’re stalled and don’t know which way to go, if you’ve got that book that just isn’t exciting interest and you don’t know why – do yourself a favor. Save your money and go to the Big Sur Writer’s workshop. They hold it twice a year – the first weekend in December, and the first weekend in March – and at $720, all-inclusive (lodgings, meals, workshop fee), it’s totally worth the price.