Monday, November 27, 2006

Back at it...

Hey, I'm guest blogger at Romantically Inclined again. Yay, they asked me back. We're talking about heroes today so pop on over....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Up early

Ready to do that cooking thing. I can remember that my mom used to get up at the crack of dawn and start cooking dinner. She'd have the turkey in the oven at 8 in the morning. Why did she do that? I'm going to have to ask her one of these days.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holidays and friends

I've been doing quite a bit of writing. Got the next scene in my new book off to my agent who wanted to see what happens next. She thought the pages were--and I quote--"amazing." Of course she then asked how I come up with this stuff. (subtext, you are so twisted, Erin, where does this stuff come from???) But it was a positive reaction.

I'm cooking tomorrow for my family and friends. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays so I don't mind. I enjoy the baking and the good smells in the kitchen and all that. I just wish it would get cold enough to have a fire, but I fear it's more likely that Santa will make an early visit than it is our weather will turn. Right now they're predicting a blustering 80 degrees. Sheesh.

Anyway, happy holidays!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Zen Palace and other words from the zone

So I've been on this "kick" to simplify my life and especially clear my writing space of unwanted negativity. I learned some of the steps from my good friend Sherri. First, I cleaned my office. It had become so much clutter that I would come in, get on my PC and try to squeeze a spot out between stacks of books, papers, magazines, etc. Not a pretty picture.

So once I got everything clean and looking like a "real" writer ought to be working here, I lit some sage and went through every room in my house with the little smoking bundle and did some positive affirmations. After that my house smelled like pot, but I felt better. Then I brought in candles and incense. Now I write by candlelight.

The best time for me to write is early in the morning--early being a relative term of course. I know early for me is not the same as early for the rest of the world. But before my family is awake, I come into my office, light my candles and incense, and I write. So far it's been working for me. I think the ritual of lighting the candles settles my mind into the idea that it's time to get to work. The time before I really come awake, when I'm still groggy in fact, is when I am most creative. Apparently, my personal editor slash critic sleeps in (the bitch) so I get a lot done.

Which reminds me...It's time to get to work. :-)

Anyone out there have other "how to make a perfect environment" tips?

Thursday, November 16, 2006


It's been a good week inspite of the fact that I've been sick. I spoke at the VOS (RWA Valley of the Sun) chapter meeting on Tuesday. I was nervous, probably boring, but the people were nice and asked questions so it was fun...for me anyway. Sorry to those I put to sleep. Hope my drone didn't give you nightmares.

My new book continues to be fun and challenging to write. I'm very excited about it.

Glad tomorrow is Friday though!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thoughts from an overworked writer

I am up to the challenge. I am up to the challenge. I am....

...trying to convince myself of this. The Holidays are upon us, I have the cold from hell, AND I'm thoroughly inspired to write, but don't have time or the health to do it. Why do things always work out that way?

Anyway, I was a guest blogger last month on the Romantically Inclined blog and I left some thoughts on what unpublished writers can do to get noticed, get read, get represented, get published. I won't lie, this isn't a magic formula or anything, just steps I used when I was trying to break in.

Unfortunately for all of us aspiring writers (aspiring to be published, aspiring to be read, aspiring to make it to the next level of our careers), Writers are kind of like starlets in Hollywood. One of us gets hit by a bus, there are 20 more standing right behind waiting to take our place. So why do we continue to do it? Well, quite simply, because there's nothing like the feeling you get when someone says to you, "I read your book and I loved it."

That said, here is my list. Hope at least one thing on it will help you!

  1. If you can't write a synopsis, trying writing a book cover copy. Make it one page, pack it with mysterious teasers. Make it as intriguing as you want and don't worry if you've been told "you have to tell how it ends." You really don't--especially if you have a completed manuscript. Your goal is to intrigue. That's it. Line up all of your favorite books, cover side down, study the cover copy and try to design your in the same format. Note: If you use this method, make it one page and one page only, single spaced. If you go over one page, it loses it's punch.
  2. When you send a query letter to an agent or editor, always include the first two pages of your novel. End the query with, I have enclosed the first two pages of my novel to give you a feel for my voice and style. If they read two and want three, you've accomplished your goal. Only 2 pages though. Any more will make the envelope too fat or the reading a task to be procrastinated.
  3. Always do multiple submissions. Of course they're going to tell you not to, but what is the worst thing that might happen? You have two agents or editors vying to sign you? Trust me, you'll survive that scenario. :-)
  4. If you do--for some unfathomable reason--give an agent exclusive rights, state in the cover letter: As agreed, I am giving you exclusive rights for two weeks. After that I will be submitting to the others who have requested my novel. Then, at least, you are not waiting 2 years to hear back plus you let them know that they are not the only ones who thought your query was interesting.
  5. If an agent/editor is at a conference and you missed the chance to meet them, open your query with that. "I wanted to meet you at the RWA Nationals, but your appointments were booked and when I saw you there was a crowd. I didn't want to be rude and interrupt, but I was disappointed not to have the opportunity to speak with you in person." By doing this you establish that you are savvy enough to attend conferences, you didn't just decide to query this person by covering your eyes and picking their name with your finger. You flatter them by pointing out how popular they are, and you show that you are not one of those rude and pushy writers who would have barged in on any conversation rather than miss a chance to talk to them.
  6. If you can, coin a phrase that goes with your book. (Ex, with Echoes I used, A past she shouldn't remember, a life she shouldn't be living, a man she can't stop loving. With Whispers, A haunted hotel, a century old curse and a love to last forever). These little phrases will help you in marketing and also help your agent/editor when pitching the book. These are also great to use in your one-page synopsis. (Ex: A past she shouldn't remember... Tess Carson isn't the kind of person who sees things, but when....)
  7. Before you start hunting for an agent, make some decisions within yourself about what you want. Do you want someone who is going to be nurturing? Or do you want someone who is known for making the biggest deals? Is it important to hear from your agent about who they are submitting to, who has passed, what the next step will be? Or do you just want them to call you when a check is in the mail? Do you want a partner or a business associate. It would be wonderful to have an agent who could do it all but chances are that you'll have one or another. If you know your priorities going in, you'll have a better chance of making a successful match. The big name agents at the big name agencies have a lot of big name authors and big deals they are working and probably aren't going to be as willing to hold your hand and keep you sane through the agonizing wait. Is it better to be a big fish in a little pond or visa versa? I don't know the answer to this question, but it is one you should consider.
  8. If you are writing a genre that is currently being published in eBook form, consider submitting to an epublisher. Authors that are starting in ebook and building a readership there are doing great things when they hit mass market. To a bookstore, a first traditionally published book is a debut and if you debut with 20k readers in your pocket, you are going to make a great first impression.
  9. I heard Bob Mayer speak at the SDSU conference (pre-Jennifer Cruisie fame) and he said something that has always resonated with me. He said, "People will tell you to write what you know. But really, you should write what you WANT to know because that's what excites you." Amen.
  10. Don't ever, ever, EVER listen to the evil critic who sits on your shoulder. She's a bitch and she only wants to make you feel bad. If she was your neighbor, you'd send your dog over to poop in her yard so don't give her any power just because she's managed to get in your head.

And that concludes my post for the day. :-)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Still alive...

For someone who has a lot to say, I've been very quiet lately. Maybe I'm drainbamaged from my perm. I would report that I no longer look like Shirley Temple on steroids, but then I'd have to add that my resemblance to a mad scientist doesn't make that an improvement.

High points of the week? Still slogging through so much research that I'm starting to feel overwhelmed. But that's not so bad. I've found that I usually have that feeling just before I have a breakthrough.

Really high point? A friend from high school who I've wanted to get in touch with for about 15 years but didn't know how, googled me, found my website and sent me an email. How cool is that? Amy Adrian--have another memory for you--"na, na, na na na, Angel in the Centerfold..." yes, we were eighties be-boppers.

Check out these pictures. Do you think we should have used a little more eyeliner??? OMG, what were we thinking??? The picture with three of us is me, (red dress), Ann Korth (middle) and Amy Adrian in black. Then the one with two is Amy and me. We're all respectable mothers with jobs and less make up now. :-)

Kendall Hall, if you are out there, we're all looking for you.

Boy did we ever have fun, too much makeup and all. :-) Glad to be in touch with you again, Amy and Annie, glad we never lost touch in the first place. :-)