Welcome! Please sit down, make yourself comfortable, and have a brownie or three...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Two Publishers Seeking YA Submissions!

If you don't follow GalleyCat, you may have missed a couple of announcements this week. Even if you don't write Young Adult, please pass these links to any writers who might be interested. You never know~ you might just help someone launch their dream career :)

Poisoned Pen Press Seeks Submissions for New YA Imprint - This press is seeking YA mysteries.

Carolrhoda Books Seeks Unagented YA Manuscripts for Limited Time - Submit from October 1st to the 31st. This publisher prefers projects that feature unusual people, unfamiliar mythologies and doomed romance.

And here's a fun one for all you comic book fans:

Stan Lee Hosts Photo Caption-Writing Contest - The comic book legend is hosting the contest on Facebook and will personally pick a winner.

Also, if you didn't see the announcement, The Bent Agency is adding another agent to their ranks! Gemma Cooper will join Molly Ker Hawn across the pond at the UK branch of TBA. See the announcement post HERE for details and Gemma's wish list.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Magic Wonka Beans! In MY Garden!

I may have had a contest reminder ready for today, or a post on the wonderful world of adjectives, but those thoughts were beautifully blown from my mind when I took a writing break yesterday to pick climbing beans in our garden.

The poor garden has been woefully neglected in the last several weeks, and since these particular beans are meant to be eaten young and small (though you can wait for the pod to shrivel and cook the inner seeds as you would any dried bean), I was disappointed to find many too-large pods swinging in the breeze.

But when I ripped open one of the offensive giants, I found...


The inner seeds were gorgeous and totally worthy of being filled with chocolate and stuck inside Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory to grow into some sort of bizarre and magnificent tree.

I immediately called Mini-Me out to help me harvest some of the beauties, and she was extra delighted that some of them happened to match her dress.

As for a point to this post that relates it to writing, I'm not sure. Neglecting your manuscript will actually allow it to produce hidden gems? Maybe not, but putting away a draft for a few weeks can bring a fresh perspective and allow you to see what's working and what's not.

I suppose my takeaway from yesterday is that you can be having a slogging, regular kind of day~ the kind of day where the thought of making dinner and folding laundry is already wearing on you, but then! But then you find MAGIC WONKA BEANS and you are over the moon. Giddy with delight. Giggling like a schoolgirl and excited by the amazing surprises the world holds.

Finding that wonder in everyday things can make you realize that your inner kid is still very much alive and that magic beans might just exist.

Although the beans have already lost a bit of their lively color from drying on the counter, yesterday was an extremely cool day, and I thought I'd share the coolness.

PS~ These are scarlet runner beans, in case any of you want to grow some next year. In addition to the awesome beans/seeds, they produce a red flower that's edible!! OK, stepping off my backyard vegetable soapbox.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Contest Info!

The fabulous Dorothy Dreyer is hosting a 3-2-1 Pitch Contest on her blog, We Do Write! Check out the details:

Eligible manuscripts: YA (I'm assuming any genre within), Fantasy, Science Fiction

JudgeRebecca Podos of the Rees Literary Agency

Prize: A full manuscript request!

Dates of entry: September 21 and 22

ENTRY POST (click on link)

Also, YAtopia and Down Under Wonderings are hosting an editor-judged pitch contest on October 15, and they have posted pre-competition information HERE. This contest is for Young Adult manuscripts only.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Embarrassing Writer Moments: Caught in the Act (of Creating a Character)

The recent conference I went to featured a wonderful and many-times-published author as a speaker who made a point to let us know that:

Everyone in this room has something in common, which is why we love to gather together like this. We are drawn to each other because of…

We all waited for her to say something like, “our creativity!” or “our passion for words!”

Instead, she said,

we are drawn to each other because of the fact that WE ARE NOT NORMAL. Normal people do not contemplate how best to kill someone while eating breakfast (she's a crime/mystery writer). Normal people get stressed over their own problems—they do not get stressed over the problems of the imaginary people they create.”

She got a hearty laugh from us all. Maybe she’s right, but I was definitely sitting with the right group of people.

A few days ago, I was taking a long walk with my kiddo. We took our time along the hilly roads of my town, and my mind wandered a bit. It wandered to a character who’s been nagging me for two years or so. He’s a little boy of Irish heritage who wants more than anything to be an Italian chef because he believes that a killer meat sauce has the ability to cure nearly every wrong in the world, his personal problems included.

When bits of dialogue for my very loose storyline pop into my mind, he has an accent eerily similar to the one I heard in my head while reading Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis.

Anyway, like the “not normal” person I am, I found myself chuckling at a response this fictional boy might make after being told to stick with cooking potatoes, and I said it out loud.

In a very bad Irish accent.

I said it a couple of times, trying it out. My little girl giggled, so I said it louder. And then I added some silly, indignant hand motions. And then I noticed a man standing against his front porch railing, staring at me. He wasn’t open-mouthed or looking disgusted or anything, but I could tell he thought I was…"not normal.”

So I got very embarrassed and hurried my daughter down the road, not speaking until we turned the corner, at which point my wee one and I began singing “Sister Suffragette” from Mary Poppins. I have a quick recovery time when it comes to embarrassment.

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment related to writing or creating a character? (please say yes)

Friday, September 14, 2012

HarperCollins imprint to accept UNSOLICITED Sci-Fi/Fantasy Manuscripts (for 2 weeks)!!

Do you write sci-fi/fantasy? Do you know anyone who writes it? Then you MUST click on the GalleyCat article below:

Harper Voyager to Accept Unagented Manuscripts for Two Weeks

From October 1-14, Harper Voyager will accept unsolicited manuscripts! This is pretty stinking cool. Period. 

Click HERE for submission details.

Note: This is an opportunity for digital publication.

That's all for today~ please have a wonderful, bear-free weekend! We've had a new bear in the neighborhood who has targeted our trash bin, ripping off the door two more times in the last week. He's a big guy. I saw him out of the corner of my eye while driving to a writer's conference over the weekend and was like, "What the heck? Does somebody have a giant black Newfoundland dog that's bounding across the front lawn of our neighbor's yard and...oh, crap. That would be a bear." No more early morning jogs for my hubby.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Very Cool Opportunity With A Very Cool Agent (plus a new 1st page contest with THREE agent judges)

Do form rejections leave you nursing your latte and muttering, "Why? Oh, why? I thought my manuscript sounded perfect for this agent?!?!"

Agent Suzie Townsend (New Leaf Literary) has posted a generous offer on her latest blog post:

Starting NOW until I sit down to do my queries next Friday (September 14), you can query me and instead of a form rejection I will tell you exactly why I'm passing. 

She also says:

*This will not be a critique of your query. It will most likely be one or two lines, similar to what I've said in this post.

*This will also not be an opportunity to engage me in a conversation about what you can do to make your query better. By participating in this, you're promising not to reply to the email and ask me more questions or even send thanks and praise. 

If you shoot her a query, I know you reeeeeeally want a request for pages, BUT if you don't happen to get one, remember that a non-form rejection (especially at the query stage) is a valuable commodity! If Suzie accepts your genre, and you have a manuscript ready for agent eyes, I suggest you take her up on this offer. You should probably send it by Thursday night to be safe :)

A new first page contest has popped up on Writer Therapy, and it's a fabulous one with plenty of time left to enter. After carefully reading/following directions, leave your first page in the comments of THIS POST by September 29th.

Prizes include query critiques and first chapter critiques from agents:

Grand Prize for 3 talented winners
Query critique from agent Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger
Query critique from agent Molly Ker Hawn, The Bent Agency
1st Chapter critique from Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency

Runners-up will receive awesome prizes, including more 1st chapter critiques, books, mouse pads, and more!

Friday, September 7, 2012

CONFERENCE TIME~ Which Sessions Do YOU Attend?

I’m off to my annual writing conference in Denver. It’s the one really big treat I give myself each year, and I can’t wait to go to sessions and engage in conversations. And not only will I have ADULT conversations (a rare beast for this SAHM~ stay-at-home-mom), but I’ll be having them about books! And writing! And frustrations! And joys! And the best snacks to eat while typing!

With limited time and so many fabulous sessions to choose from, I’ve had to make tough choices. The biggest change for this, my third year, is that I don’t feel as compelled to go to the sessions related to querying. In large part, that’s due to the online community. Do I still need help with queries? Um, yes. Yes, I do.  But I have met amazing critique partners and have learned to utilize online critique sites to help me with my letters and pitches, to the point that I feel I can skip those sessions this year and attend some wildcards (helloooooo Steampunk!). How about you? Do you ever attend conference sessions that you probably won't write about, but simply can't resist~ Medieval Weaponry, The Science of Death Scenes, etc.?

Here are some of the sessions I plan on attending during the 3 day conference:

The Fab 5—Your Final, Final Scene Checklist
Steampunk 101 (I don’t write steampunk, but thought this looked like fun)
Kiss your “As” and “Throw Away” Words Goodbye
77 Secrets to writing YA fiction
EMT to the Rescue (I thought this might have some interesting medical tips I may use in future writing)
Characters Who Walk Off the Page
Series Fiction
2 Editor/Agent Panels

And since my WIP is a historical mystery:
Mystery Panel with fabulous editors and authors
Putting the History in Mystery
Taking a Clue from One Whodunit

Whew! I’m tired just looking over that list J I plan on being deliciously exhausted and emotionally energized by people who share my passion.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend as well!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Already Dreaming of Your Next Summer Vacation? Consider The Shire!!

(Visit http://www.hobbitontours.com for more info)

Now that Labor Day has passed, the time for family vacationing has come to an end...but that doesn't mean I can't dream big about a trip for next summer. And by "a trip for next summer," I mean,

"a trip that I will not be going on, but will advertise in hopes that one of my lovely readers will be inspired to travel, allowing me to live vicariously through their subsequent blog posts and photos about said trip."

Destination? The SHIRE!! I follow the blog of agent Nephele Tempest, and she recently got back from New Zealand and posted some links regarding the area. One of them was for Hobbiton movie set tours, and it put my sense of travel longing into overdrive.

For the love of Breyer's coffee ice cream, will one of you please go to New Zealand and visit The Alexander Farm, where Tolkien's Shire came to life??? Please?

Much of the set was torn down after Lord of the Rings, but they rebuilt Hobbiton in 2011 for the new movies. With the movie versions (they're dividing the book into three films~ I thought it was two, but blogging buddy Andrew Leon of Strange Pegs knew the truth, pointed it out in the comments, and deserves a shout-out for that) of The Hobbit coming up, I am once again falling in love with The Shire and its hobbit holes. And yes, I like to capitalize "The" in "The Shire." I feel it deserves double caps :).

In case you're thinking about taking a tour, here are some links that I've been drooling over.

Store (maybe it's a good thing that this trip isn't in my family budget, because I could easily be suckered into going overboard on gifts~ the woolen scarf rack wouldn't last a minute around me)

That's all for today~ I hope everyone has an excellent week!

Oh wait, I nearly forgot! Cupid's Literary Connection is hosting an agent contest. The first entry window was this morning, but there's another one on 9/7 (this Friday). Click HERE for details (this one requires a $4 donation to enter).