Tag Archives: literacy

Promotion Joy and Woe

You write a wonderful story, great action, sizzling sex and wow the day comes where an a. agent, b. editor, c indy publisher actually wants to buy the book and follow your baby through to publication.

You jump on the exciting merry go round of emotions. You have arrived, semi arrived. Okay at least you have gotten further along the path to your goals. It is a fantastic time in your career. You are beginning to feel like a “real” author.

The next logical step is Promotion of your ‘baby’ and it’s not a magical formula. I have attended a few writer’s workshops on promotion.

The general consensus is NO ONE really knows what will work. It can get pretty expensive throwing “mud” at the wall to see what sticks.

I came across a great blog giving reference to any number of cites that promote the lower priced e-books.

There is a lot of good information here. However, the obstacle continues to remain. HOW DO YOU GET THIS INFO in the hands of READERS???

Any ideas? I would love to hear your comments. Yeah, totally selfish. I am a contributing author to an Anthology coming out mid October. I might have told you about that.LOL.I am keenly interested in how to promote this release to readers.

Fantasy Man Monday

I’ve been subtly celebrating my contract with Rebel Ink Press. I have days when I feel like a “real” author. Then I am humbled by some dumb thing I do and realize I’m still little old me, guppy Dorie.

My current WIP for Rebel Ink’s “Once Upon A Twisted Tale” due out October, 2011 in time for Halloween is a male/male romance. That’s all I can say about it officially at the moment. Once cover blurb is approved and I finish all the revisions I’ll be able to promote more. I wanted to give you a few images that inspired my hero characters. Nathaniel Hawkins and Ike Sandhill in “The Galloping Ghoul of Hockomock Swamp”.

Cast as Ike Sandhill

Isn’t he a darling hero to rescue?

Cast as Nathaniel Hawkins

Nathaniel has that brooding maturity with a spark of joy behind his eyes. Can’t you see how much he needs Ike?

The thing I love about romance. Love is Love no matter what packaging it arrives in.

Revisions Love them or Leave them?

I received my very first revision letter. Well, if you don’t count the real first letter that basically said. “Oops, the idea you’ve had is basically fan fiction of a 100 year old story that is still under copyright. So, a tidy do over would be in order.” Completely understandable and I was completely hyperventilating at that juncture.

Yes, I did have a moment of panic. I gave myself a full fledged half hour of freaked out OMG what am I GOING TO DO? Then my girlfriend R.M. Kinore sat me down and basically said, get a grip, you are a professional and you CAN do this. In order to not have a total melt down, she helped me break down the changes I would need step by step.

All that aside, LOL. I manged to pull off the changes. I made the necessary re-writes and while it’s not exactly where I thought I would go– I ended up with a story that I’m pleased with.

Back on task. I received my revision letter. I know it is the “first” revision letter because my editor titled it “first revision”. Did I mention I adore my editor. I think perhaps we are kindred sisters of separate mothers. I don’t often encounter people that really understand me and ‘get’ my voice. My critique partner and a couple of people in my Ink Plots Critique group do. It is an unsettling discomfort when someone reads my work and doesn’t understand me. So, I have a lot of thankful relief that my editor does understand me so well. I read through her revisions and had several “head/desk….head/desk” moments. I realize one of my flaws is I write without capitalizing on the contractions as I need to.

I will admit I have heard many many groans over revison letters. I will go on record to say that I found my revisions educational and yes, a bit humbling. I mumbled through quite a few “I should have known that” over her edits. LOL. She said in essence. I am telling you this now…newbie… so I don’t expect to have to tell you this again. And, she said it in the kindest, most objective way anyone could possibly have.

One more first in this exciting journey toward publication. Take a look at this you tube video for a laugh about revision.

Writers Coloring Box

I have had a eureka experience I have to share. I read voraciously. I think it is an essential part of the universe, readers write or perhaps better writers read. I have favorite authors at all levels of the stratosphere from epub to mid-list to NYT best sellers. There are certain qualities I fall in love with that causes their work to be a keeper for me.

Throughout this journey I have pondered good writing. At first I thought perhaps it was a sense of quality plot. All the I’s dotted and T’s crossed that the threads came together at the end with a plausible believable resolution. That became an ingredient to the stew but certainly more was indicated in my recipe for quality writing.

Next I considered character. All my keepers have great characters. People I want to take the journey with. People I grow to care about. People who are believable with their own imperfections and totally multi dimensional. They could be my friends. They exhibit a character growth through the book to become better on their own pathway through life.

Some day I want to meet Judith Ehrlich She was a final round Judge in the Beacon unpublished 2010 and gave my entry a thorough critique. She was detailed and objective. She is also a shrewed insightful woman. In the thirty something pages she critiqued for the contest, she said a lot of wonderful good things. Things that made me laugh and clap my hands like a six year old whose momie liked the rainbow I drew.

However, some very real problematic issues arose. I have a lot to thank her for in taking the time to make that critique and the tone that she used both encouraging yet honest without guile. References to weak writing and that my heroine was a “prop” for the two dynamic heroes. Now before my friends get out their pitchforks and get all up-de-up. Let me say — I understood perfectly what she said and I agree. I love my “boys” I have a wonderful male voice in my writing. My heroes leap off the page. My girls fell flat.

I spent about four months reading strong heroines. I wrote fan fiction for myself playing with a female character I admired. She was strong yet vulnerable and I understood her well. As a result, I acquired a good female voice for my heroines. I recognized character is another essential element to quality. Yet, she said weak writing so there was more.

Along this same line and about the same time my main critique partner and I spent an evening talking about writing. She had received a series of encouraging requests. First for 20 pages, then 20 more, then 20 more. I don’t know why they didn’t just request the whole thing. But that is how it went. I agonized for her each time the agent requested twenty more pages. We just knew this was it. A contract had to be in the works.

Please allow me to digress a little bit and say other than my own writing. I adore my critique partner’s work. Her stories are vivid, the pieces come together at the end and are threaded along the way. I love the people she creates. I mean really love them. I wish they were my people. I want to wrap them up and take them home and hear all about their lives forever and every. I could go on. She is one of the smartest women I know and I am so grateful for her influence in my writing through her excellent critique. Okay, okay so stage set.

So, why on EARTH after sixty pages did they reject her work saying all the right things, all the good things about the Manuscript, the plot, the characters — but….always the but… Something like– the writing just wasn’t consistently strong enough.

WTF? Consistently strong enough? *see the incredulous expression on MY face* It really threw me for a loop. If my C.P’s work wasn’t ‘consistently strong enough’ what did I have to offer. I call myself blessed to creep in her shadow as a minion.

It caused me to do a lot of thinking. I looked over comments I had received from judges in the contests both first round and final round. I suppose I was struggling with what it meant to have weak writing. Don’t think that I just fell off the turnip truck yesterday. I have a deck of cards that I made that I roll through in the editorial phase. I will be talking about those cards in future blogs. Those cards helped me find some of the obviously rookie mistakes writers make. Each card has a little reminder of something to screen the manuscript for. I’m not talking about those superficial things. It is deeper than that. After all the editing was complete and I couldn’t find anything else…. there was still the “weak writing” comments. I didn’t understand how to change or avoid it.

Last night I started reading a writers reference book and “Sokath His eyes uncovered” A little tiny book put understanding to the concepts I’ve been exploring and coming to terms with for a year.

I am going to spend some blog time talking about weak writing. How to recognize it. How to avoid it. My disclaimer is that this is not a lesson mastered. It is a lesson in progress. I yearn for the day when I will be a strong writer.

Okay, so in getting ready for this journey together…. What does it mean to you to be a weak writer or a strong writer? Perhaps you have it all figured out and I’m sitting on the floor of the short bus all alone. Leave a comment about your thoughts on weak writing.

The Beacon Unpublished CHALLENGE IS ON

I’ve had a lot of contemplation lately on just exactly what I am doing. At first I called myself an aspiring writer. I’ve gone through the phase of…. I’ll be a writer someday. Okay well I’m writing so obviously I am a writer. At one point I somehow thought it sounded more ego boosting to say I’m a pre-published writer. Then I realized that might mean that I actually had a “contract” waiting for it to work through the system to BE published. So that didn’t work. Here I am. I write therefore I am a writer.

If you have decided you are a writer too take this as the challenge. ENTER the BEACON UNPUBLISHED writing contest. I have to tell you three years ago….no one on the planet had ever read a word I had written. I had just almost completed a full length fiction manuscript and NO ONE HAD READ a word I’d written. I say it twice for emphasis folks. I took the first 30 pages and entered the Beacon unpublished. Call me crazy, I know. However, as BAD as that manuscript was. And honey, it was BAAADDDDD. The judges comments were kind and given objectively and they made me feel good about what I was doing while pointing out some obvious ways I could improve the work. It was the most educational experience of my writing career. So the challenge is on. Enter the Beacon. Yes, maybe you would want SOMEONE to read your entry before you submit it. I don’t recommend the cold turkey approach I used. But, at the time…that was me.

Last year I entered the Beacon Unpublished and made the final round. So from scores in the 70’s to the 90’s in one year. Hummm maybe this year I could actually win? We’ll see. But you won’t know unless you enter! The best part is for a relatively new writer you have wonderful critique comments on your work. If you are a more experienced writer then check out who the final round of judges are. You could get your work in front of some pretty impressive people. There is something for everyone. Below are the deets.

DEADLINE APPROACHING – The First Coast Romance Writers 2010 Unpublished Beacon Contest closes for entries at MIDNIGHT, OCTOBER 8.

Please TWEET or Share a link

All electronic contest open to ALL WRITERS who have not been contracted for novel-length publication in the last 3 years, RWA membership is NOT required.

Judges first 30 pages (with optional synopsis) of an unpublished manuscript.

Cost: $25 – $35, Deadline for entry is October 8, 2010.

Each entry will be judged by a published author and a trained judge, with detailed comments on the ms and a simplified score sheet. Our final round judges include an editor AND an agent for each category.

Finalists will have the opportunity to revise before entries are submitted to final round judges.

Final Round Judges:

Chick Lit / Women’s Fiction / Mainstream – (E) Mercedes Fernandez, Kensington; (A) Weronika Janczuk, D4OE Literary Agency

Young Adult – (E) Debra Dixon, Belle Books; (A) Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger Agency

Historical / Regency Romance– (E) Sally Williamson, Harlequin Mills & Boon; (A) Amy Boggs, Donald Maass Literary Agency

Single Title Contemporary Romance – (E) Georgia Woods, Samhain; (A) Elaine English, Elaine P. English Literary

Contemporary Series Romance– (E) Rhonda Penders, The Wild Rose Press; (A) Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency

Romantic Suspense – (E) Tessa Woodward, Harper Collins Publishers; (A) Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Agency

Fantasy, Futuristic, Paranormal Romance – (E) Leis Pederson, Penguin / Berkley; (A) TBA

Erotic Romance – (E) Raelene Gorlinski, Ellora’s Cave; (A) Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency

Inspirational Romance – (E) Elizabeth Mazer, Steeple Hill; (A) Pam Strickler, Pam Strickler Author Management

For more information, visit http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/contest_un.htm or email fcrw_beacon2010@yahoo.com .

Thank you to

Fantasy Man Monday

Our Beautiful men of Monday

Handsome youth forever young.

Rest in Peace Tony Curtis

My Girl Wednesday

Hump Day is almost past and I have to say exploring the heroine these past few weeks has given me a moment to pause and consider what we all look for in the female stars of our stories.

Is she the tough spunky type ready to fight battles with the hero sometimes becoming part of the problem rather than a solution?

Or is she so capable and kick ass that she hardly needs the hero to conquer her own demons but somehow he completes something missing in her personality so they are a natural fit?

What does your heroine bring to the table for skills, character arch and vunerability?

Fantasy Man Monday

It is pouring rain today. It almost inspires me to have pictures of wet fantasy men. Yet that might bet too risque’. The antithesis of wet t-shirt. Wet running shorts. Ahhh no, I don’t think this is the time to go there.

Melisa wrote and told me that she can’t believe I have not previewed Shemar Moore’s hotness on Fantasy Man Monday. In checking I quite agree. He can not be overlooked a moment longer. This blog would be irresponsible to surging female hormones everywhere to deny them this eye candy moment.

So there you have it ladies. A few candidates for your next fantasy man dreams.

Happy fantasies

You will recognize him from Criminal Minds.

He has a beautiful smile, and there are some buff beach pics out there that will make us blush. ahemmm. anyway

A number of my readers contacted me to say a good smile was a most significant feature to capture their interest in a man. I have to admit a good smile usually comes with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

I have also not given sufficient air time to Scott Stapp. I have been reprimanded for this grievous oversight. I am hanging my head in shame for not noticing this sexy boy earlier.

Okay maybe not so much a boy. hummm.

Fantasy Man Monday

In considering the concept of Men in general I searched for an interesting knock your socks off candidate for Fantasy Man Monday.

Naturally a consideration of socks made me think of underware so I looked there for our winner.

Ahem…yes well.

So after dismissing that thought as terribly naughty and not productive…although….somewhat interesting for contemplation on another fantasy day. *fans self*

I thought NO I need a pursuit of REAL men this week. Not some fickle fantasy that doesn’t exist!

I found these fine gents.

No *giggles* not quite what I am looking for yet.

ummm lets see. I am looking for the man that will stand the test of time. Grow old with me and be my love for the best is yet to be. I’m sure I read that some where.

Ahh….yes… for some but perhaps not for all. That kind of love gives you a soft mushy feeling but isn’t really the purpose of today’s Fantasy Man Blog….it doesn’t sizzle your shorts…. Which led me back to the under wear page.

No — NO—- Oh God No and just plain ewwww. Dirty thoughts invade as I search

I’m always caught up by the bad boys.

What happened to the boy next door?

Ah yes…he won American Idol.

On serious contemplation I realized my “boys” were always broke – bad boys

I can’t find my Fantasy Man for this week. He must be hiding. Maybe I should go home and look under the bed. Nahh I wouldn’t find him there. I expect he is feet propped up making a mess in some dark corner of my imagination.

Perhaps I should explore the concept of Fantasy Girl on Wednesday.

Fantasy Man Monday

I had a request to preview a Fantasy Man that has a more European flavor. The search was on. The first candidate was suggested by friend Beth. Goran Visnjic and let me tell you the camera loves this boy. He looks different in almost every picture I have seen of him.

I love a man with a genuine smile. Humor is so sexy.

Yet, the man has a look that is so introspective and thoughtful.

The dramatic lines of his classic features led me to explore more about men of Europe. I found several worthy of Fantasy Man Monday

Tihomir Dukic a croatian gentleman living in the United States and working for a launch of his acting career.

or how about the drama of this Fantasy Man.

Denis Nikolic.

What do you think? What is your favorite Fantasy Man….European or otherwise?