Monday, November 30, 2009

Puppy Love

Now that my oldest is five, I've been letting him watch a bunch of Disney movies, especially the older ones. The other day I was thinking about my favorite movies as a kid, and why I liked them.

I realized that the movies I loved all had something in common.

The hero.

Yes, my twistedness started young. Some of my favorite heroes were Charlie the ex-con dog (All Dogs Go To Heaven), Butch the street-smart dog (Lady and the Tramp) and Robin the saving-the-poor and antagonizing-the-rich fox (Robin Hood).

These characters are wild and flirtatious. Charmers.

What do your favorite childhood cartoon heroes say about you? Have your tastes matured? (unlike mine? Heehee.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Break

I wanted to do another post on dialogue, but family is in town and I have a feeling I'll be absent from the blogosphere.

That said, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday week and weekend, and I'll see you Monday! Or sooner, if my blog addiction can't be contained. LOL

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oblique Dialogue

Writing dialogue can be a lot of fun but it can also be tricky. Dialogue is not the same as conversation. It is not question/answer format.

Dialogue should lead to questions. It should entice the reader to turn the page. It should move the plot forward.

I've never heard dialogue called oblique before chapter eleven in Stein on Writing. According to Stein, this type of dialogue is indirect.

His example of oblique dialogue:

SHE: Hi, how are you?
HE: Oh, I didn't see you.

The man doesn't answer the question. He circles around it and says something else. That's oblique.

Have you ever heard of oblique dialogue? Or maybe you've heard it called indirect? For an exercise, here's some dialogue. Can you turn it into something oblique?

HE: Heard you had a party last night.
SHE: Yep.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gone Garage Saling

Today (for some reason I originally wrote tomorrow, lol) my mom and I are making the rounds!

Anyone else trying to save some money on presents? Am I completely cheap to do this?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Controversial Changes

There are some changes in publishing.

First, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson is partnering with Author Solutions in a new venture called WestBow Press. This will be Thomas Nelson's self-publishing arm. You can read some details at Writer Beware!.

Now I've just found out that Harlequin is a part of a new press called Harlequin Horizons. There's some talk about whether it's a Vanity or Self-publisher. Lots of talk, actually. Check out Dear Author for a short post about this, and then in the comments a Harlequin representative answered some questions.

As a capitalist, I think these publishers are innovative and smart to do this. As a writer, I'm concerned. These are new territories and it'll be interesting to see where publishing heads.

What do you think about these traditional publishers using traditional names for their self-publishing ventures? How about agents receiving referral fees? Do you think these changes will really affect those of us who are aiming for traditional publishing?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Awards Banquet

Thank you to Steph, who inspired this banquet! :-)
There are so many of you who deserve an award. I could never name all of you, but I appreciate every single person who comments on this blog. I tried to match up the awards with blogs that I think embody the feel behind that award. Also, I didn't follow the rules for any of them. Sorry about that! And if you've already gotten the one I gave you, I'm sorry, and if you don't post it or play with it, that's totally fine with me.
So here they are!



Terri Tiffany







Have you received any awards? Which one is your favorite? Which one do you wish someone would give you? Do you even care?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Awards, Awards

I have more thank yous! And then, on Tuesday, I'm going to have an awards banquet (the idea was inspired by Steph In the City, so thanks!)In the meantime, I know I haven't played the rules for all of these, but that's because I forget what they are. I'm looking forward to passing these on verrrry soon. *grin*

Thank you, Julie! Julie's blog has been spotlighting her Nano experience. Interesting stuff for someone like me, who's never Nanoed.

Thank you, Stephanie! She has a new blog and always posts interesting, conversation-starting topics.

Thank you, Jennifer! Her blog always has a weird news report and it usually makes me laugh.

Thank you, Dara! Dara posts about some really cool Japanese myths, names and facts.

Thank you, Jeanette! Your friendship really has "hit the spot." :-)

Thank You Mary at Writer's Butt Doesn't Apply to Me (and boy, don't I wish that were true for me, LOL)

Thank you to Tara at the BloodCrossed Writer! I haven't explored this blog too much, but look forward to it later.

I hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Melodramatic Mother

Mom, this one's for you. *wink*

The other day we were on the phone and my mom was describing some of her ailments to me. She's normally a healthy person, but she does suffer from allergies and sinus issues. She's also a vivid person and this comes across in her language.
In this case, she told me her pain was skewering up through her nose.


She never finished the description because I laughed. What a perfect word! Strong, to the point, I had an exact (if somewhat gross) image of what was happening.

Do you have a vivid person in your life? Someone who thinks in ways you forget to? And in your WIP, are you using the strongest verb possible to convey EXACTLY what you mean?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Author Laurie Alice Eakes on having the Right Agent, Part 2

Thank you so much, Laurie Alice, for sharing your story. You can find her at her website or her blog, Seize the Chance.

Continued from Part One:

Then tragedy struck. My best friend found out she had four months to live. She told me to go back to writing, to pursue that dream and not let that lousy agent stop me. My friend believed in me. Several other life-changing events occurred, too, and I found myself with a renewed relationship with the Lord, glad my secular stuff had gone nowhere, joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and, by a pure miracle of the Lord, got an agent who believed in me.

I had done my research on her. She was new, so no former clients, but also that meant she was hungry. No, she didn’t have great contacts in the industry, but she was outgoing and warm and had a desire to succeed. She was also a writer, so knew people in the business. She was also working with an experienced agent. Frankly, I felt that I had nothing to lose at this point.

Ten years after that first agent told me I couldn’t write and my idea was terrible, I sold that terrible idea to Avalon Books. Family Guardian won the National Readers’ Choice Award for Best Regency the year it came out. And since then, I have sold twelve more books. Why? Yes, I suppose I have some talent and ability, and I also have an agent who believes in me, encourages me, sticks with me, tells me when something won’t work, but also tells me when something does. And an agent who always submits what she says she will.

These are the minimal points you should expect from your agent. Not all will hold your hand. If you want that, then seek one who will. If you want one who just submits and doesn’t care if your dog died and your heart is broken, so long as you meet your deadline, then make sure you know that ahead of time, too. I tend to need some encouragement, someone to call me up and say, Hello, look at that award on your desk when you think you can’t write. Look at those books with your name on the spine. This isn’t for everyone and not every agent will do this for you either. I have a friend whose agent gets her good deals, then disappears. I would hate that. Well, I’d like the deals, but I don’t want my agent to disappear.

Your agent should be honest with you about your work, but should also encourage you. She (or he) should keep you up on the market and pay attention to whom she is selling. If she’s never sold to publishing house X, she may not have a connection there or like the stuff those editors do, so she’s not a good fit.

Whole books are written on this subject, so I’m just summarizing as best I can. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Author Laurie Alice Eakes on having the Right Agent, Part 1

Thank you to Laurie Alice for sharing her agent journey with us.

Laurie Alice Eakes is the award-winning author of historical romantic fiction in both the sweet-secular and inspirational markets. After a slow start, her career took off this year with the sale of eleven books in nine months.
She lives in Texas with her husband and sundry animals.

Worse Than No Agent At All

A bad agent is worse than no agent. For me, I learned this aphorism the hard way. I was so thrilled to get an agent I said yes to her representation without getting all the scoop on her. In truth, she’d come recommended by someone I respected. Things looked good for the first three months.

This post is about what can happen if you jump at the first agent who offers to represent you, or if you submit to one without doing your research on her first, research such as finding clients who have left, as well as those who have stayed, what she represents, to whom she has sold, etc. And, because I am an unashamed believer in the happy ending, this post ends on a positive note.

When my agent and I met in person, we didn’t click. Why I won’t go into, but she exhibited some behavior that set off alarm bells in my head. Of course I ignored them. She was an agent in New York with a great address--the same building as St. Martin’s Press, and I was writing secular fiction.

During the next year, I worked hard on my writing. I finished a couple of manuscripts, something I hadn’t been very good at doing. I went to a couple of regional conferences and made contact with editors who liked my stories and said send away. After these conferences, I contacted my agent and told her to send the projects. Then I waited.

She called me once a month to tell me nothing had happened. Sigh. But things took a while. In July, I went to the RWA conference in New York city. Great things would happen there, right?

Wrong. My agent never remembered to bring the list of editors to whom she’d sent my stuff. She hated my next idea.

Discouraged, I went home and didn’t work so hard on my writing. In fact, I finished nothing. I still got the monthly calls, but nothing happened—still. Finally, at the advice of some new writing friends I’d made, I wrote her and asked to know to whom she’d sent manuscripts, as I was severing our relationship and needed to let the editors know.

Surprise. She hadn’t sent my stuff to any of them, not even the ones with whom I’d made contact over a year earlier. She said she didn’t think I was publishable and should move on.

So I did. I played with ideas and part of me still had the dream, but I essentially stopped writing, went to grad school for history, liked academic a little, but research more, and went back to my office job. A couple of times, I took out things I’d written, dusted them off, and reworked a chapter or two. I even submitted something which, fortunately, didn’t sell. It really was bad and I wouldn’t want it in print.

Then tragedy struck. My best friend found out she had four months to live. She told me to go back to writing, to pursue that dream and not let that lousy agent stop me. My friend believed in me. Several other life-changing events occurred, too, and I found myself with a renewed relationship with the Lord, glad my secular stuff had gone nowhere, joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and, by a pure miracle of the Lord, got an agent who believed in me.

On Wednesday I'll post the rest of Laurie Alice's story. She may be stopping by today, so feel free to ask questions.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Book Spotlights

I loved the main character of this book. Ray Quinn is a cross between House and Ollie Chandler. I was intrigued immediately. The writing was spectacular. Author Mark Mynheir outdid himself and I was hugely impressed, not to mention hooked. A great read, imo.

I've loved all of Lessman's books but this one topped them for me. While pushing the boundaries of sensuality for the CBA market, I also think it pushed the spirituality of today's Christian. The book overflowed with Godly principles and bible verses without ever becoming preachy. I loved it.

This was a great ABA thriller. I couldn't put it down and even though I guess the killer, it wasn't until the very end. If you like suspense, I highly recommend this one. Interestingly enough, Castillo wrote category for years and I believe this might be her "break-out" novel.

Jones is a new author for me. I sat by her at dinner one night at the conference. She was super nice, I'd heard great things about her books, so I bought one. It was SO good. Great writing. The dialogue blew me away. So smart, so funny. It was just a really, really good book that kept me hooked.

What are you reading? What do you like about it?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Family in Town

I might be absent from your blogs for a few days. Just depends on how much my adorable little nephews lure me away from the computer.

Can't wait to get back in the blogosphere. And so far I have one author willing to guest post about the writer/agent relationship! Woot!

This just in! Apparently Travis Erwin is doing a series of posts about how agents have enriched writer's lives. It looks great. Check it out if you have time.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Your Turn

While there are plenty of things to watch out in our Great Agent Search, I don't want to leave everyone on a wary note.

The thing is, a compatible, solid relationship with your agent can be the best choice you ever make for your career. Whether the relationship remains professional or turns into friendship, it can be wonderful.

We know the things to look out for, but I'd love to hear about any great experiences you've had with agents. If you have a great relationship with your agent and are interested in doing a guest post about it, e-mail me at jessica_nelson7590 AT yahoo Dot com. Or you can share in the comments section.

Here's a link to an encouraging and helpful post on picking an agent.

I'm looking forward to reading some awesome comments/posts!