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Remember that sappy romance novel? Yeah, okay, so, two relevant points first:

  1. Apparently Hallmark makes books.
  2. Apparently for approximately one month only (until September 30) they are accepting unsolicited manuscripts.

You all know where this is going, don’t you? Yup. I found out about it around the end of August, and with the encouragement of my husband and best friend, am pursuing this opportunity. I technically officially finished editing the book on Sunday, and sent it to them for review, however, Hallmark has a minimum word count requirement of 75,000 and mine was at like 71,000. I got inspired last night and at like 5:30 AM this morning and wrote a couple more sections, so now I am at like 73,500, and am hoping my two faithful reviewers can tell me what parts seem to have gaps.

The GOAL is to get their edits next week, take the week to implement them, and then submit! In between this, of course, I have to come up with a synopsis, a query letter, write a paper for school, and keep up with readings and forum posts for school. But it’s possible, right? I’m a bit overwhelmed, but also kind of excited for reaching this new level of being a writer, even if it isn’t accepted.

Of course, in an attempt to write my first ever synopsis, I am following this article from Writer’s Digest that walks you through it, and according to them, the first thing you have to do is come up with one sentence that grabs attention and summarizes your book. I’ve written 23 so far, and have yet to find one I like. This does not bode well for the synopsis.

Also, I seem to be experiencing a level of bipolar. Times like yesterday and this morning, when I’m internally like, “I love this book! This is the best sappy romance ever! Look at this sappy sentence!” and then this afternoon when my heart sinks into my stomach and I’m like, “This is the worst book ever. No one would ever read this. I can’t even write a synopsis for it. Why I am trying.”

What a delightful cycle, and one, I suppose, I must get used to if I am to ever get published? Or really, just being a writer.

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I thought it might be time for a tiny little excerpt from my book. You know, just to change things up. This is while Josie is working from home Christmas week so she can working on a drawing commissioned by you-know-who.

It was a lovely, quiet existence that almost allowed Josie to forget she now lived in the city until a knock at the door that afternoon. Josie wiped her dough-sodden hands on her equally flour-covered apron as she hurried to answer it, casting a doleful look at the lump that was supposed to be cinnamon rolls. Her sorrows over the baking disaster were forgotten instantly as she pulled open the door and stared into the handsome face of Keith Richardson. Her mouth dropped open and she half wondered for a moment if she was hallucinating.

He smiled at her, politely not noticing the dough stuck on her nose. “Hello, Miss Grant.”

Nope, definitely not a mirage. That smile, smooth voice, and the responding thumping in her chest could not be faked. “Mr. – Mr. Richardson.” She stammered, trying in vain to push stray hairs back into her braid. “What are you doing here?”

“I was out this way for a client, passed a sign for Linhollow, and thought I might as well swing by and see how things were going.”

“It’s not ready yet.” Josie blurted, anxiety creasing her face. “But I’m working on it! I only took a break to make something for my mom, and – you know – to work – but I promise –“

“Whoa!” Keith held up a hand, almost laughing, but catching himself as he realized how in earnest her panic was. “I didn’t mean I was checking to see if you were working, Miss Grant. I seriously just wanted to see how it was going.” He dropped his hand to adjust the checkered scarf that the wind had already broken lose from its hold. “And, I confess, I was curious to see the farm the drawing will be based on.” He added as he looked around at the softly falling snow. “Though, now, that I think about it, I’m guessing winter isn’t the best time to see what a farm looks like?”

Josie actually managed a smile. “That depends on your point of view. Personally, I love it in the winter- but for a picture of summertime? No, probably not. You can still see some of the landscape, though.” She added quickly, as if afraid he would de-commission the painting based on her comment, motioning across the yard with just enough of a flourish that a stubborn piece of dough flew from her hand onto his Dolce and Gabbana coat. Her hand flew to her mouth and Keith looked down, ostensibly to wipe the dough off, but truthfully to school his features before he gave away the fact that her mouth was now also covered in flour.

 

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It has been  long couple months of travel. From May 25 to date, I have traveled to Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas, New York, Minnesota, and Cleveland and have another trip to Orlando scheduled in 12 days. Needless to say, I am beginning to feel a little exhausted. Today, especially, having worked 23 hours in the last two days, I am feeling just plain weary as I try to work through 12 pages of meeting minutes, reports, documentation that has fallen behind due to my trips, and prepare for the next trip. Energy seeps out of me at every additional outing, however small. But, life goes on and I would rather try to enjoy it than live for a time when I can just sleep and not move for a week. Thank God for the staycation earlier this year, though. 🙂

I have not touched my writing since sending that simpering, weak romance out for people to review – and no one has said anything about it yet. Thankfully I’ve been too busy to dwell on that too much and when I do think about it, I rather easily convince myself that they are simply too busy to read it yet. I’ll give it another couple weeks and then send out follow-ups asking for feedback, dreading the response. But it is time to get back to it. I am sure some of my weariness is due to not having put a pen to paper and letting out some of my emotions in my stories. And my mind wanders back more and more to Picture of the Past. I am ready to be done with it – eager to be done with it – and more than that, almost looking forward to the rest of the process of tearing it apart to make it better.

There are so many stereotypes and lessons learned and suggestions and best practices for writers that, when one does enough research and reading on it, it is enough to make even a hardcore writer give up with hands in the air. I try to follow them – sometimes. I have yet to be able to complete a profile on a character – because I feel like I am still getting to know them myself while I write it. And, as you all know, I keep starting, stopping, and re-starting an alternate blog dedicated to writing, since that is what all the experts say to do to “make your social media footprint”. Have a blog dedicated to one subject. Keep your readers coming back. Keep a schedule. Make it something that benefits them. And on and on. Ugh. No wonder I can’t keep it up. It drains me just thinking about it. So, after talking it over with my friends, I have decided to give it up. I am going to throw caution and best practices to the wind and do what I want to do. I am going to just keep this blog, because this is the one I like. I like the server, I like the audience, I like being able to write about whatever I please in any format I please without worrying about making it beneficial for the reader.

So, instead of continuing my blog in blogger (Ha! Continuing – I don’t think I’ve touched it in months), I am going to break down some more of my shell – and post this link in my social media profiles for people to find if they so desire. Someday I may even advertise it. Maybe. But above all, I am going to enjoy myself. Because that is why I write in the first place. I love writing. And I write for myself and my God, not for my readers. Why should I keep a blog for my readers?

Although that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment I feel when my posts get “likes”. So don’t stop. 😛

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There hasn’t been a lot to update lately.

I just got back from a short trip to Kansas where I finished most of my book. I am literally on the last couple paragraphs and am having a bit of a difficult time getting the words out – not so much because I don’t know what to say but because I’m not sure I am ready for it to end. This may have ended up being the most fun/easy book I’ve ever written. Which is ironic since it encompasses everything I try to avoid (thanks, Abby, for daring me to write a modern, sappy, cliché romance). Then again, it is also possibly my shortest book at just about 55,000 words. Ethrill and Picture of the Past are both at about 100,000 words.

I think once I pen that last paragraph, though, I will be happy that I have actually completed a book in a reasonable amount of time and my mind has been floating back to Picture of the Past more and more lately so I think I am ready to get back to editing it. I’ve taken a pretty long break.

I’ve also been thinking it is time to get serious about churning out some short stories. I get so caught up writing books I rarely make time for them, but sometimes I feel like they are my most powerful works – though I may be biased. 😛 Either way, I know it is good practice and helps build my repertoire, which may be useful in the future.

I’ve also been getting more comfortable talking about writing – the more I write and read about writing the more I want to talk about it. The coworker who joined me on this trip finally found out that I write, after we’ve been working together for 3 1/2 years. Of course, she gave the typical response that she has started several books but not finished them. And that her mom is writing a book. But then she was kind enough to follow it up with stating admiration for people who do actually finish them, because she knows it must be difficult.

So progress is being made! I’ve also reconnected with someone from college (author of The River Rebellion) who is also a writer and have been crashing at her house on a semi-regular basis while our husbands play games. It has been really nice to visit and write with another writer, especially one who shares her work on a regular basis! I think that has helped me break out of my writing shell and opened me up to sharing more.

So that’s my current writing life! And, in general, life. 🙂

 

 

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I’ve been working hard on my book and am up to 46,000 words. It is amazing to me how much easier it is to write when you don’t care about being cheesy and you don’t have to do research for historical bits. The miracle of a sappy romance set in modern America. But really, I am having fun with it and am always a little sad to stop writing to do something useful, like going to bed.

So, I learned from my journal today that a year ago today we set out for a cruise. Sigh. How I would rather be doing that than sneaking a post in between work in a cold office, and knowing I will be walking out to an even colder outside in a few hours. But, I have to remind myself that, unlike a majority of people, I do pretty much like my job and my coworkers and that this job funds the ability to go on a cruise, so I can only complain so much. Next year. We’ll go on a cruise next year and it will be ten times more rewarding because we will be debt free. Did I mention that? We are doing a staycation this year (end of April) to save money because, if we work and save hard, and God deems it the right time, we will be able to pay off the rest of my student loans by the end of the year – maybe even earlier! Totally worth suffering through the cold instead of going to the Bahamas.

I’ve finally been going to a chiropractor on a regular basis and, for once, he has actually helped me. I have not had great experiences in the past. But, my fingers have stopped going numb and the debilitating pain in my elbow has gone to a reasonable amount that I can live with. Which makes me happy. Changing my sleeping position has been more difficult – since apparently the nerve damage is due to my sleeping with my arm crooked and my head on top of it. But I changed pillows and have been slowly changing my habits and am finally beginning to sleep well again despite not being in my accustomed position.

And that is basically life right now. God is good.

God is good

 

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Dear Readers,

For those of you wondering why the previous posts suddenly became private, here is the explanation:

My husband and friend have been desperately trying to convince me to finish the story I am writing and then submit it for publication to a publisher like Love Inspired. After much entreating, I have agreed to give it a go, though it is certainly not my normal style and I am not at all sure it is what I would like to be known for, assuming I could even get it accepted. Nonetheless, everyone starts somewhere, so it is worth a try, right?

With that in mind, I started googling stuff and discovered that many publishers consider publishing something on a blog the same as being previously published, so that would actually make my book ineligible to be submitted for publication. Therefore, I have (at least for now) made the previous entries private and am not planning to publish any more installments, until the book has been finished and rejected.

That being said, if any of you actually WERE keeping up with it, and would like to be proofreaders/reviewers once it is finished, let me know, since I assume I will need opinions on it to make it the best it can be before submitting.

Thanks!

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