Friday, May 21, 2010


Yesterday I got the first look at the cover of my new novel, PULL. My YA contemporary is coming out in October, 2010 from WestSide Books. I took a first look. Looked again. And I loved it.

I've heard horror stories of strange covers from other authors. I'm glad to say I won't have one to join with theirs. Since I write in public - I know, writers are supposed to be a lonely lot, bent over our keyboards in private, disdaining human company, my friends at the computer room gathered over my shoulder. They've been my cheering section for the past few months, and I swear they are more excited and pumped about this than I am. The vote was unanimous, that was a cover that would make any of them look twice, pick up the book and read the blurb. Which is half the battle.

It's feeling more real every day. A title, revisions, a cover - pretty soon there will be an actual book in my local bookstore and I'll stand in the aisle watching people pick it up.

As Usher says - OMG!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And the pendulum swings

One of the popular features at the 2010 Write Touch Conference was the WisRWA's got talent hour. Two industry professionals, this year Agent Scott Eagen from Greyhaus Literary Agency and Editor Victoria Curren from Harlequin, read the first pages of a manuscript and commented on them. They both had great senses of humor and I'm sure the lucky few who had their page read received a lot of benefit fromt he experience. Although they did not get to my page (so sad), I got some important take aways from the discussion.

  1. TMI is just that. Be picky about the details you include, especially at the beginning. We love the five senses, but sometimes use them too much. Don't be too intrusive. Leave information out until you are at the point in the MS where readers need to know.
  2. Be careful not to confuse the reader. Several times they noted the need to read the passage more than once to understand what was going on because of the order in which facts were revealed. In real life they would probably not bother, we get one chance to make that good impression.
  3. Don't overwork your phrasing. People should love your words enough to want to keep reading, but not so much that they stop to enjoy fancy phrasing. That takes them away from the story.
  4. RUE - Resist the Urge to Explain. This usually results in repetition. Trust the reader and write tight.

One of the more interesting aspects of the discussion were the areas where they disagreed. Sometimes that pendulum swung violently. One panelist would like a passage the other found big problems with. Usually for wildly different reasons. Reminding us all again, this is a subjective business. Keep looking, and you may yet find that special someone who will love your words.

Monday, May 17, 2010

WisRWA Conference

I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Wisconsin RWA conference, Love is Brewing in Milwaukee. Three days of agents, editors, workshops and inspirational speakers. And men in kilts. I’ve been a member of Wisconsin RWA for three years. Although I seldom get to meetings – sigh – this is my second conference (I missed last year). Once again I got shut out of every basket I bid on. But, I got a wonderful door prize, a free class. And, as a Golden Heart finalist and having made my first sale (just weeks before the conference), I found myself an honored guest. For this raving introvert, being called to the front was draining. But it’s also necessary practice for future rounds of promotions and activities I’ll need to do as a published author.

I brought along a friend, Clara. My daughter was going to come, but changed her mind. So I brought a young writer, the daughter of a friend from church. She’s thirteen, and already knows how to turn a plot on its ear. She’s an outstanding artist too. The men and women of WisRWA made her feel at home and encouraged her budding career. She even sat with me on my pitch to Tessa Dare (just so she could see what was really in her future if she became novelist). She returned to tell her parents it was all awesome, and an armload of signed books, including two she purchased from J. A. Konrath, because, like him, she likes to kill people in her writing.

She also set a goal, after hearing the wonderful inspirational talks from, Lori Handelman, Cathy Maxwell, Mary Jo Putney and Barbara Vey. In spite of dealing with graduation in a few weeks, and then her first year of high school, her goal is to have a first draft of a novel complete by this time next year. After that – to use a well-worn cliché – the sky’s the limit.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I learned about the flood yesterday. My first thoughts were for the people. I remember not too many years ago when the DesPlaines river flooded, the second "hundred year flood" we had, and basements all around me were overloaded with water. My House is on a tiny hill, not enough to notice when you're walking by, but just enough that me and my neighbors were dry while surrounding houses flooded. Thank God for a few inches.

I know what people around here went through. Saw the problem as I took the train to work and passed missing streets, car dealerships with only the tips of the car tops visible, waterlines on the sides of buildings. People having to start all over again because their possessions were gone and homes unlivable.

I feel for the people who lost homes, and possible loved ones. Those whose jobs went with the water. They have my prayers and my thoughts.

As a writer and member of RWA, that was going to have their 2010 convention at the Opryland hotel in July, I've seen loads of emails about how hard this is for people planning to attend. I understand the disappointment, and the worry about deposits and costs, possible lost opportunities to network or have face-to-face time with editors and agents. I too have lost, my airline tickets are non-refundable, and, while the airline may do something to let me reschedule, I'm not holding my breath. I also hope I'm not selfish, not when there's real loss going on down there. My first thoughts are not on the convention, or what this means to me. It's on the people in the area, who have suffered real losses, and will continue suffering in the weeks and months ahead. My prayer is not that the Opryland finish repairs in time for us, or that the RWA reschedule the convention quickly and conveniently for me. My prayer is for them. People hurt. The clerks, maids, waiters and gardeners and all the people at the hotel and surrounding areas that no longer have paychecks. And for all of us, that we learn to care about others, and not just the inconvenience to us.