Friday, October 30, 2009

100 Shots of Short -- COMPLETE

100 Shots of Shorts - a reading challenge designed to encourage the reading of short stories. I'm going to try and see how many of them I can do with free reads.

  1. The Eyes have It by Debbie Mumford
  2. Texas Waltz by Nancy O'Berry
  3. Swept off her Feet by Amanda Brice
  4. Puppy Love by Zinnia Hope
  5. Of Bikes and Valleys by J. H. Bográn
  6. Human Perfect by Kayelle Allen
  7. Dublin Dreaming by Sela Carson
  8. Ten Years Older by Caroline Witt
  9. Lady Kate’s Scoundrel by Anna Campbell
  10. The Return by Anna Campbell
  11. Lingering Doubts by Shobhan Bantwel
  12. The Cure by Jo Barrett
  13. Marry Me, Cowboy by Stacy Dawn
  14. Cinderella Dreams by Cate Masters
  15. Mistletoe And Folly by Debra St. John
  16. Merry Christmas, Victoria by Celia Yeary
  17. Seduced By The Season by Merline Lovelace
  18. The Boys' Club by Amanda McIntyre
  19. Millionaire Dollar Mistressby Trish Wylie
  20. Finders Keepersby Susan Lyons
  21. "Russia" by Tilly Greene
  22. "Keeping The World At Bay" by Stevie Woods
  23. The Valentine's Wedding Dress by Sherryl Woods
  24. Just Five Minutes by Karen Myers
  25. Distance by Kate Sheckler
  26. Men I Accidentally Married by Wendi Anne Stewart
  27. Disappearing Act by Leslie Vryenhoek
  28. The Waiting Place by Sharron Arksey
  29. A Mother Pucker Meets the Ankle-Biters by Jane Campana
  30. Chocoholic by D. Musgrave
  31. Red Hot Fantasy by Sage Burnett
  32. A Valentine's Proposal by Christine London
  33. Full Board by Frank Roger
  34. Love Never Dies by Rita Herron (Intrigue)
  35. The Road Taken by Megan Hart (Spice)
  36. My Great Brit Book Tour by Adriana Trigani
  37. Five by Julianna Baggon
  38. Leaving a Light On by Claire LaZebnik
  39. Moving Day by Cindy Chupack
  40. Yoga Babe by Lauren Henderson
  41. On The Eighth Day by Vanesa Baggott
  42. Dangerous Games with Competent People by Kim Wright
  43. Entry Point by Shanna Germain
  44. Blackberries by Nalo Hopkinson
  45. Blue Star by Sera Gamble
  46. If You Love Sometghing, Set it Free by PS Haven
  47. Comeback by Nicholas Kaufmann
  48. The Rock Wall by Alicia Erian
  49. Best Friendster Date Ever by Alexander Chee
  50. What Happened to That Girl by Marie Lyn Bernard
  51. Heads-Up Poker by Susan DiPlacido
  52. Taste by Susan St. Aubin
  53. The Sex Box by Nikki Sinclair
  54. The Razor by Tsaurah Litzky
  55. Dream Machine by Lauraleigh Farrell
  56. Wish Girls by Matthew Addison
  57. Beyond the Curve by Gay Degani
  58. Mommy’s Here by Theresa Mae Leitch
  59. Elements by Kimberly A. Zook
  60. Windows of Change by Cindy Haynes
  61. Ten the Hard Way by Vera Constantineau
  62. The Sad Affair of Maxwell Weedon by Dianna Graveman
  63. Jackpot by Sarah Hina
  64. Book By Its Cover by Katie Noah Gibson
  65. Mama’s Wish Comes True by Julie C. Eger
  66. When My Grandmother Made Perogies by Tricia Bowering
  67. Going Forth and Coming Home by Natalie Wendt
  68. Dust Bunnies by Abby Everett Tignor
  69. Enchanted Cottage by Linda Rhinehart Neas
  70. How the Universe Moved My Sofa and Changed My Life by Jen Payne
  71. The Desert Was In My Closet by Holly Helscher
  72. Weight-Bearing Walls by Julie Hoerth
  73. The Price of a Room by Nancy A. Jackson
  74. A Place of My Own by Pamela Allison
  75. Lady of the House? by Julie Donner Andersen
  76. Recreating Home by Shona Snowden
  77. English as a Second Language by Sarah Mian
  78. Jenny by Emily Howson
  79. Ueno by Amy Perry
  80. Should I Be Scared by Amanda Eyre Ward
  81. Butte as in Beautiful by Amanda Eyre Ward
  82. The Stars Are Bright In Texas by Amanda Eyre Ward
  83. On Messalonskee Lake by Amanda Eyre Ward
  84. Shakespeare.com by Amanda Eyre Ward
  85. The Way The Sky Changed by Amanda Eyre Ward
  86. Miss Montana's Wedding Day by Amanda Eyre Ward
  87. Nan and Claude by Amanda Eyre Ward
  88. She Almost Wrote Love by Amanda Eyre Ward
  89. Motherhood and Terrorism by Amanda Eyre Ward
  90. The Blue Flame by Amanda Eyre Ward
  91. Grandpa Fred In Love by Amanda Eyre Ward
  92. Reunion by Pam Champagne
  93. Immortal Blush - Lanette Curington
  94. Mad About Meg - Mari Carr
  95. Not For Me - L.K. Campbell
  96. Seeking a Six Foot Bride by Shobhan Bantwal
  97. Madison's Doubts by Camy Tang
  98. Idiot by Camy Tang
  99. Ultimatum by Anne Carrole
  100. The Wise Woman by Christina Cole

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Things I Learned in the Emerald City

I actually learned a few things at the Emerald City Writing Conference...and now that I've found the cable for my AlphaSmart, I can share ::

Robert Dugoni – Power Editing

When you write your opening chapter, rewriting the opening sentence 100 times…evaluate the first sentence of every scene. Make sure it is interesting and raises a question, not a throw away sentence you put in to move the writing forward. The do it with the last sentence of each scene. It is natural to sum things up, but this stops a story. Sometimes you can remove the last paragraph of a scene…or all your scenes. Leave things unresolved to keep a story rolling.

Megan Chance – 1st 50 pages

A story moves forward by constantly increasing conflict. How a character overcomes conflict – or doesn’t – is your story. A characters behavior creates the conflict and makes it worse. A characters own actions should make everything worse. You need to make it so scene 2 could not happen without scene 1.

Linda Wisdom – My Bunny Slippers Ate My Homework – Creating memorable creatures

They do need to have their own set of rules they live by – and a history. It makes them more real to you, and therefore a rounder character.

Parachute Packing 101 – Survival Tips for a Volatile Market with Debra Cooke
  1. Sheer single-mindedness. Stubborness can serve you well in publishing. Quitting is the only guarantee that your career will end. The only way to be published is to write.
  2. Follow your passion – write what you love. Success is rooted in following your bliss. Write the book of yourheart every single time. Tell the stories you want to sell, not what you think will sell. Publishing careers are built not on one book, but on 6+…so don’t sell yourself to a market you don’t want to stay in.
  3. Start with the work. Good enough is a tactical career error. The only think you can control is the work. If you don’t respect a house, don’t align yourself with them. Ideas are magic – whe you use them up, you get 10 more. Don’t hold on to an idea – ideas are the currency of choice. Impressions come not from what you save, but from what you send out into the universe. Enthusiasm makes things happen. Never discount passion, it’s infectious. Always aim high – polish, hone, stretch. There is no good enough in a volatile market.
  4. Recocgnize the role of luck – authors that want to control everything will be disappointed. Covers are out of your control. You are not a victim. Crappy covers happen. Acknowledge what you can’t change and act accordingly. You are the creative party at the table. Good luck comes to those who feel lucky, and people feel lucky when they feel they have some control over their situation. Tell your editor you have ideas about the marketing package.
  5. Take the initiative and make your own luck. Research what others are doing, know what you like and what you don’t, think of scenes that would transmit graphically…get it down to 100 words (the more you write, the less they read) and send it off. I fyou like a cover, tell your editor who’ll pass the positive reinforcement to the art director who’ll do more for you next time. Help luck along.
  6. Cultivate objectivity. Writers tend tobe dramatic about their books, but it is exhausting and unproductive. Think of your book as a product and your agent/editor as a business partner, and turst everyone to do the best job they can, you’ll be more successful. Acting the victim gets you nowhere. No matter how much you read – they know more about what readers are reading and why. Be a good business partner
  7. Be an active protagonist in your own writing career. Actively engage in the world and make sure your goals are attained. Create the reality you want. Define your work – genre, temperature, setting, hero type, heroine type, similar authors, what makes your work distinctive. One thing withwriting to market, is that the stories already exist. New and fresh things come from authors, not from marketing departments.
  8. Careers are not built on one book. The 2nd book should be in the same niche to build audience effectively.
  9. Strategize. What do you really want? Is fame more important than money? Do you like a steady paycheck or high spikes? What do you see yourself writing in 5 years? Make sure your agents area of expertise encompasses what you want now and in the future. Never slam a door. Editors play musical chairs. Publisher is a small pond with the same fishies swimming around in it.
  10. Carpe Diem. Take advantage of opportunities. When switching subgenres and repositioning yourself, write the complete to prove yourself. Publishing is risk averse, so eliminate the risk by delivering. Less risk = more money.
  11. Take charge of your self-promotion. Blog, website, teaching, booksignings, press releases, book store mailings…Protect your writing time first. What you do maintains continuity between houses.
  12. Keep something simmering on the backburner as creative insurance. Play with it, a creative game, no stake in selling it. Writing teaches you, regardless of the success of the project. Writing with no risk teaches us more than writing to deadline because you aren’t safe with it.
  13. Insure Your Financial Stability. Writers are freelance employed individuals and money in publishing flows slowly.
  14. Keep an eye on changing trends. Types of fiction come in and out of fashion. What is being rapidly acquired is about to plateau. Romance is a niche that lags behind popular culture.
  15. Feed Your Soul. Have fun with your writing, it shows. Your work will lose its spark when it is a job.
MILITARY FOR WRITERS with Bob Mayer
  • Special Forces work with their brains, Seals work with their bodies.
  • 2 types of soldiers the steely eyed killer and the beedy eyed minion and they are hard to tell apart.
  • Women are better pilots then men – they handle g-forces better because they have a higher percentage of body fat
  • Nothing is impossible to the man who doesn’t have to do it

Thursday, October 15, 2009

FLYing!

Housework is not my bag. I embrace my lack of scrubbing talent ...usually. Friends want to see the new house, and I'm scrambling to keep it presentable. A friend (online, so it was no comment on my cleaning aptitude) suggested FLYlady. Basically, it breaks things down to managable segments so it's not so daunting.

Today is Errand Day. Grocery shopping is the suggestion, but I did a Target run and the boys haircuts (picture day is next week)

FLYSpot - Bathrooms...I do think I need to do a toothbrush check! Great idea!! The boys have 2 each and really, they don't need 2.

October Habit -- Paper Clutter Oh! I so need to go through my magazines. I'm not sure about only having a week with them...but I know I have September issues that must go! In fact, I think I'll Zone Super Fling Boogie them and see how much I'm tossing in the recycle bin.

Couple things, though...I cannot dress to shoes, which is what FLYlady suggests to start the day. I have a shoe free house. And I can't weekly vaccuum...I have a black lab with a shedding issue and a baby who'll eat off the floor. She also suggests doing a load of laundry a day, but I need the push of 3-4 to get me to...you know...take the laundry from the washer to the dryer. I'm not the most domestic of godesses.

Let's see what excuses I can come up with next!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Salvaging Your Rejected Manuscript


I'm giving a workshop on resurecting rejected work...at 8 am on a Sunday. The irony is not lost on me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Short & To the Point

Today MG Braden and I are giving a workshop :: Short & To the Point - Writing Short Stories & Why You’d Want To

We missed the deadline for having the handouts printed, so I'm posting the stuff here...might not make the most sense to everyone...

CHARACTERS

Two by two, the church filled up like the loading of the Ark. Karen Finn turned in her church pew and stared at the wedding program. Just where was her matching zebra, hmm? Someone who’d made it past thirty without finding that other half. (THE PERFECT STRANGER, Dreams & Desires 3)

We know where she is (church), why she’s there (wedding), how she feels about it (yearning), and that she’s young (relatively) and funny. And we know it in 40 words.

MARKETS

e-pub ::

Mundania Press – at least 2K, all genres
http://www.mundania.com

The Wild Rose Press – at least 7.5K, all genres of romance

Red Sage Presents – 10K
http://eredsage.com

Ellora’s Cave Quickies http://www.ellorascave.com

Harlequin http://eharlequin.com
Historicals Undone – 10K
Nocturne Bites – 10K
Spice Briefs – 5K

Red Rose Publishing -1K

Cobblestone Press – 10K

Freya’s Bower Bites – 6K

Magazines ::

Woman’s World (US)
(For WW inside info, Kate Willoughby discusses that week’s Woman’s World story each Monday ::http://womansworldstyle.blogspot.com/ )
Woman’s Weekly (UK)
Woman’s Day (Aus)
My Weekly (UK), The People’s Friend (UK)
Bella (UK), Best (UK)
True Love (US), True Confessions (US)
Cincinnati Woman
Country Woman
New Love Stories Magazine
http://grassrootsmag.com/wrgu.html

Free Reads ::

Hosted by –
Coffee Time Romance - http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/freereads.html
Romance At Heart - http://romanceatheart.com/fos.html
Night Owl Romance - http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/FreeReads/FreeReads.aspx
Romance Junkies - http://www.romancejunkies.com/links/free-reads.html
Romance Divas eBook Challenge - http://romancedivas.com/

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Off To See The Wizard


I'm heading to Emerald City...not for the great and powerful Oz, but for something even more powerful than that - the Emerald City Writers Conference.


I haven't been to a conference since before I was pregnant with Grace. Long before the 'block'. At this point, my muse needs an enema, and I think this conference - with the vibrant energy of fellow writers, a dynamic booksigning, and juicy tidbits from editors and agents - I'll be writing again in no time.


I'm still keeping my fingers crossed, just in case.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I WOULD RATHER


I would rather sleep than write. It didn't used to be this way.
Luckily, I do know that my 'block' can be worked through. I did it for one day at the beach retreat. I can do it again...provided the baby sleeps for more than 30 minutes while the boys are at school.
I can. I just haven't yet.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Excuse Me...

I mean to write today, but the closest I came was registering for NaNoWriMo. Blast it all...time to head to bed and read No More Excuses.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Excuses


I have so many excuses for not writing - home improvement projects, grocery shopping, and those three kiddos - that I sometimes feel justified in not getting anything done.

And then I find a book on banishing excuses and learn...there is no justification. You either do something or you don't. And so today...I didn't write. I wanted to, I never found a time slot for it.

Bring on Monday.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Book Reports

I loved writing book reports. It meant I was done with the book. A page of writing and I would never have to crack the cover again.

A synopsis is a glorified book report. And boy howdy, do I loathe writing them. I know if I ever managed to bang out a good one, I'd feel differently. But each time I turn one in I think - this is what my book is about, only better. And that does not help an editor. Not at all...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Blunt Writing Tips

So I'm trying to write...

...and I tried this technique another writer swears by. She stops writing mid-scene so that she just has to go on.

I did it...and I have no clue what happens next. Jetskis are involved...but that is all I know.

Yeah. That tip is not so sharp...or maybe you just have to be sharper to use it.

I do know that need to start writing. When I don't write, I shop. For furniture. I bought an ottoman today.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I'm back...and I brought pictures

OK, so they are of the Romance Booksigning last month, not my writing retreat at the beach. But I actually WROTE. Me. Words on the page.

Now if I can just keep writing, I might actually have a new story to tell!