Friday, January 29, 2010

The journey . . .

Another Friday - another blog. This time I asked my friends and fan base over at Facebook what they'd like me to talk about this evening. I got some great ideas but the first post intrigued me. For the others that piped in, I'll tackle your ideas in subsequent Friday posts.

Anna Walls piped in with this gem: As a relatively new author, I'm always intrigued with how my peers made that journey. Was it planned? When did you start planning if it was? That sort of thing. What did it feel like to see your own very first book in published form?

Was this planned - no not in the least, at least not the path my life took when I got married almost twenty one years ago. In college, I had dreams of being a writer, producer and director. My major was in Communications with a concentration in radio and television broadcasting. I loved it. I mean LOVED that world. When I got out of school, I went to work at a local television station in the capacity of a film editor. What that meant in the practical world is I reformatted movies to fit into the specific timeslots and took out scenes that were not suitable for broadcast television. I also helped out in the news room at times and on occasion wrote and directed kids news spots. It was a fun job, but it paid a pittance, so when the opportunity came to switch gears into the world of finance.

In all the years I worked and raised a family, writing was always in the back of my mind, but time just wasn't there. But even during that time, my imagination stored all the ideas away into a “this might be interesting” file cabinet in my head.

The catalyst for change was in the beginning of 2007, my daughter asked the million dollar question.

If you could do anything, what would it be?

That was an easy question to answer. Write a book and get it published. And with that, my husband and kids gave the go ahead. For close to two years I wrote almost non-stop - every evening, every weekend, every vacation and I have eight manuscripts to show for that crazy brain dump. Since then I've written dozens of short stories, but my focus has been on refining those manuscripts.

I made the classic rookie mistakes with query letters, from the first batch which was really more like a typical business letter introducing myself and the stack of manuscripts I had written to the naivety of being sucked into those less than reputable publishers - luckily I got wise before I peeled off any cash.

The turn of everything happened when I met Lauren Baratz-Logsted on MySpace and she turned me onto Backspace ( and the forum there. Talk about eye opening and humbling. I had a lot to learn and the folks there were exceptional at sharing knowledge and pushing me to write better, cleaner, more compelling prose.

That is when I started planning. I set up my own website, my own blog, branched out from MySpace to the other networking sites, and then started refining my pitch. I met the editor of Allegory and volunteered to be an associate editor on the E-zine and landed my first publishing contract myself. So now it’s a balance of branding my name, writing, editing and learning more about the craft. While I’d like to have an agent and get my more mainstream books in the hands of the big markets, I can’t complain.

As for actually holding my first book in my hand, it's an amazing, surreal, joyous, unbelievable feeling that I can't begin to describe.

Now all I need to do is find balance between my writing life and my family life. Once I find that, I’ll be golden.

Friday, January 22, 2010

NFL Championship Games and other weird blogging thoughts.

Hey all.

I was chatting with a co-worker today and asked him - what should I write about in my blog tonight? Of course he, being a he, said write about the AFC and NFC championships and make a prediction. I smiled and raised an eyebrow.

I have to admit, I had to look up who the teams were this year. After all, the Patriots didn't make it - therefore my interest dropped to almost nil - just a backdrop to my busy writing life - the dull drone of the announcers, the frantic cheers from the crowd, yeah - I don't think I even looked up after seeing the first half of the Dallas game at my folks. Even so, I like a good match and am hoping the games this weekend aren't runaway wins like most of the games last weekend. It's been a while since we had a nail-biter for Super Bowl.

I looked at the team records and made my picks based on their seasons and players on the injury lists and all that jazz.

AFC - Jets versus Colts. My pick for this match is the Colts. They have a better record overall - but I'm thinking this game might be a close one.

NFC - Vikings versus Saints - I'm betting on Brett to bring the Viking victory home.

And my picks are the polar opposites of my friend’s picks, so we’ll see who’s grinning on Monday morning.

I know this doesn’t have a hoot to do with the writing world, but I do enjoy watching a good football match.

So weigh in - who’s going to the Super Bowl?

Friday, January 15, 2010

A moment to reflect on writer's conferences . . .

Another week, another blog and this time I decided to focus on the Backspace Conference considering there are two weeks left to get the discounted registration rate.

I had an absolute blast at the conference and learned a great deal about the inner workings of the publishing world. In addition to meeting a whole host of writers, both published and those waiting for their big break, I had my first opportunity to meet agents face to face and hear what works for them and what doesn't first hand.

Between the workshops and the chance to read the first pages of my book to an agent panel, it was an experience of a lifetime. And the bonus: getting to finally meet the friends that I had cultivated online face to face. That was a hoot!

I also understand that seven writers who attended last year obtained representation from the agents that were at the conference.

And if you're interested in more information about Backspace or the confernce - here are the websites: (Backspace Conference) (Backspace, the Writer's Place)

Well enough about me, tell me about your favorite conference!

Friday, January 8, 2010

First week of January brings some wonderful surprises!

This week has been quite an experience starting with the receipt of my Survival Games ARCs. Wow, let me tell you cutting the tape off the box and pulling out that first copy was surreal. It’s been a dream of mine since high school, and I had the pleasure of sharing it with my folks who were at the house to get my son off the bus like they do every Monday afternoon. I actually made my father tear up because that first book I pulled from the box, I gave to him as an early birthday gift. You have to understand the relationship I have with my dad, he is and always has been my hero. The man has a heart of gold and an equally sharp sense of humor that has defined my outlook on life, so it just seemed right for him to receive that first copy.

And here I thought my week couldn’t get any better than that but then Monday night I received the preliminary artwork for Mind Games from a stellar cover artist down under. Working with Scott Dawson was a pleasure and after a few minor adjustments in the image eye color, we had the cover ironed out and submitted. I posted that cover over on Facebook and I’m telling you, it is beyond beautiful.

The rest of the week was tied up with work - my day job overriding a lot of my time and sucking the life out of me so I had nothing left at night and even wading through the Allegory submissions was slower than usual. Well, I guess that’s what you get for taking close to two weeks off from work. LOL. I did get an invite to the Winslow House Bookstock event in Mass on October 2nd and set up a couple guest blog events close to the release dates of both books, so it wasn’t a total loss.

The week ended on an up-note. I was hired as a content editor and my story Grayson House hit in the top ten over at the P&E readers poll which thrilled me to no end. I’d love to see this story get within the top 5, so if you get a chance, please take a second to vote for me before the polls close on the fourteenth. Here’s the link and I would be eternally grateful for your vote!

Well, that about does it for me for this week faithful fans. Until we meet again!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year.

My new year resolution is to pay a little more attention to my blogs. I've neglected them for too long. So prepare for a weekly rant from yours truly.
I received wonderful news a couple days ago, Mind Games, the second book in the Games trilogy has been picked up by eXcessica for release on November 29, 2010. A little over four months after Survival Games goes live. I'll have to work on the last of the series which is appropriately titled End Game and hopefully that can get on the docket for early 2011.

I also have a short story that is in the staff showcase over at Allegory in the January issue. Armageddon. So jump on over to and check out all the fabulous stories that made it into this edition. There were some stellar submissions and I had the joy of helping Ty Drago narrow down the maybe list to the final eight. It was a joy to read all the maybe's but a bear to try and pare that list down for both the best and a balance of fantasy, science fiction and horror.

Anyhow, submission period starts again in February, so we all get a breather to focus on our own writing. Once I finish polishing End Game, I'll start my focus back on the FBI series and start hunting for representation of that series. I already have 5 books (that need work) and a partial 6th in that series and I've been away from them for too long. It's time to get Special Agent Steve Williams back into hot water.

My wish for all the writers out there is for a prosperous and productive New Year!