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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cheers to a New Year and New Beginings!


It's the time of year when everyone starts the count down. Christmas is over and New Years Eve is only days away. It's a time when people get together, party the night away, and sleep late the next day. I have to admit to the world that I am not one of these people.

It's not that I don't like New Years. I enjoy getting together with my friends and family. I enjoy the food and the drink, although one drink can last me the entire night, okay two drinks tops, and that's pushing it. The point is, I am not a party person. I never was, never will be.

My favor New Year celebrations have been the quite ones. Small dinner parties, watching a movie, or talking the night away, and if I'm really lucky, I'm awake long enough to watch the ball drop. I know I sound boring, but I'm not good without sleep. For one I get sick to my stomach, cold, and nervous. Trust me it really isn't a good mix for me.



Don't get me wrong, I've suffered through it many times, and it's worth it, some times. Notice I never said drunk, just lack of sleep. In the last few years of my life though my kids have been young, so someone had to function in the morning for them. The older they get though, I'm starting to wonder if my excuse for not partying on New Years Eve will last.

I think it will, even if and when my husband and I do go to the parties. Why? Because we have a rule. If I drive, the driver decides when it's time to go and if the driver is tired, the party is over. Yeah, safety first people.

This year we don't have a babysitter, which is fine by me, New Years has gotten fun staying home with the boys. A night filled with board games, card games, movies, music, and watching the ball drop- if Mommy can stay awake. :-)

What are your plans for New Years? Share with me, I'll be planning a nice home meal, with popcorn, board games, and legos.

Monday, December 26, 2011

On my way Home



It's the day after Christmas and I'm on my way home from NY. We left on Saturday morning and are stopping off in CT to celebrate Christmas with my husbands family today so I won't be blogging today. 

I'll be back on Thursday. I hope everyone has had a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cards vs Digital Cards



These days with so many people out of work, looking for better work, in school, and the economy just in the muck, I've noticed a change this year so far in holiday cards. There are many people in my family who love to send cards for every holiday. Me? I'm not one of them. I usually don't even attached a birthday card to the gift. No, I'm not cheap. I just rather spend the money on the gift then  three dollars and fifty cents on a card the person is going to throw out anyway.

I will recant that thought and feeling when it comes to Christmas, and Hanuka cards though. I am a firm believer in those cards being sent. I find it is the only time you hear from most people these days and it's nice to know that a little effort was put into it. It is December 22, and I haven't even received half of the amount of cards I usually get. Now, are people like me and just late? Or are they going to free E-cards?  I think E-cards, because I am getting more and more of them lately.

I really can't blame people for going that route, especially since cards and stamps are costing so much more today, and I have just found out that starting in January stamps are going up to .45 cents, but it doesn't seem fair. Since I have young kids people have come to expect the picture holiday card. Don't they realize that they are just as expensive for me as it is for them, maybe even more so since I have small kids? Okay they aren't so small anymore, but hey they are still young enough to need a babysitter, so in my eyes they are young in my eyes.

I don't mean this post to sound like I'm complaining, I actually not. I just received another E-card and it got me thinking about what direction holiday cards are going in these days? What do you think? What is your take on this? Do you see yourself going the way of E-cards for your holiday cards? I'd love to know.

Monday, December 19, 2011

That Dreaded Synopsis



It's Monday again and unfortunately I don't have any synopsis or query entries for you to critique. So instead I have searched the web for information and tips I can post here for you to reference. Today I'm concentrating on Synopsis. If you google the word synopsis you'll be amazed at the amount of information out there. Listed are the obvious places and our all time favorites:

Nathan Bransford always has wonderful information
as does Query Shark.
But did you know Readers Digest has tons of articles out there as well?

But did you know that:

Query Tracker is a great site with help on synopsis as well.
And Lisa Gardner has a great article called Conquering That Dreaded Synopsis: A Series of Ten Lectures
which is very helpful.
Gabrielle Luthy has a blog and a website I stumbled upon in my search that has tons of information on it Click over and check her out.

So there you have it, some homework to check out while you are away finishing up those query and synopsis getting them ready me for.  Don't forget to leave a comment letting me know what you think of the sites I have found. I'd love to know if they were useful to you.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tank


No, not that kind of Tank.  The Tank I'm talking about is the new video that is making it's way around Youtube.  I first saw the video at work.  One of the girls checked her Facebook account and noticed someone had posted it on their wall and had to show everyone.

I thought this was the funny video.  If you are a lover of animals you will enjoy this.  If you have animals whom you don't trust to be left alone on their own you will enjoy this even more.

With out further ado, I present you with Tank:  I promise you'll love this:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blog Critque by Laura Barnes

I'm so excited!  Today Laura has agreed to critque my blog.  I have noticed many people in the blog world have decided ask  for help professional in this area, and I have decided I could use the help too. 

Laura is posting her thoughts on her blog so why don't you do see what she has to say? You can swing over by clicking  Here.

I know I'll be there taking notes and putting her advice into action!

What are your thoughts on updating your blog?  How often do you spice things up?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do you Ever Wonder?

I was reading one of my own posts. You know looking it over, making sure I spelled everything correctly, making those needed edits when something hit me.

Do agents ever see our post?  There are so many of us who write and blog in the hopes of one day writing that one novel that will land us an agent.  We query our hearts out and we mention our blogs as our pride and joy.  They say an agent will be more interested if he/she sees you have followers. The more followers the better, it shows them that we have people out there that will buy our books, because they all ready want to know what we have to say. But....

Do you ever wonder how many of those agents click over to see your blog that you mentioned in your query letter?  Seriously I'm curious.  Has an agent ever click over to check you out?  Did they leave a comment and let you know?  I'm in the throws of querying now, and I'd love to know what agents think of our blogs. If anyone has ever heard from an agent saying they have checked out your blog, I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I've Been a Bad Girl......

because I haven't been in the blog world lately. I've been busy, very busy with my current finished manuscript. After sending out a small batch to selective agents I have decided to slow down and take another look at my work again.

I am so glad I did. These past few weeks I have been in contact with my critique partners, found a new one and have been busy as a bee writing, re-writing, and perfecting my query and synopsis. I'm feeling very good about both of them now. I can honestly say I really don't think there is much, if any room for improvement at this point of the game. But before I send my baby out to the wolves again, you can be sure I am reading over my ms again to make sure everything is tightened and polished.

I don't believe in making the same mistake twice, and I don't want to take any chances. So if I've been quite, it's not that I don't love you all, it's that I'm working hard so hopefully I'll have good news, no make that great news to share with you down the road.

Happy Thursday Everyone, and Happy Writing!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stand Out Query MG- Tonja Drecker

I'm happy to introduce another entry for Stand Out Synopsis/Query Monday. Today Tonja Drecker has submitted her query for her MG novel for review. I have posted the query I received as is below for you to read, after the original I have written my red lines and changes.


When thirteen-year-old Daniel sits down for breakfast, an obnoxious alien bounces out of the fridge and whisks him away to a distant planet. Daniel thought he was the most normal boy on Earth. But he was wrong.

 BASIC INTELLIGENCE MODEL is a 51,000-word science fiction manuscript for children ages nine and up. This middle-grade novel is a standalone with series potential.

Although Daniel doesn’t want to believe it, he is an alien. He isn’t green. Antennas are not growing out of his head. He doesn’t even have any amazing super-powers.  But the arrogant, alien Princess Tyra expects him to help her regain her throne from an evil lord. Daniel refuses and returns to his uncle’s farm, but Tyra isn’t about to let him go that easily. She follows him back to Earth, enrolls in his school, and promises not to leave until he has saved her world.

A couple years ago, I had the priviledge of receiving a request from you to review a full on another manuscript. Although you declined, I appreciated not only your valuable insights, but  the fact that you took the time and effort to make them.

Okay now that you have read the original here are my red lines and changes. Once again this is only advice, what the author does with the advice and changes made are entirely up to them.

Red Lines

Although Thirteen-year-old Daniel doesn’t want to believe he is an alien. He isn’t green. Antennas are not growing out of his head. He doesn’t even have any amazing super-powers.  So when he sits down for breakfast and an obnoxious alien bounces out of the fridge and whisks him away to a distant planet, Daniel thinks this just couldn’t happen. he was the most to a normal boy on Earth. He was wrong.

He is taken to a planet where the arrogant alien Princess Tyra expects him to help her regain her throne from an evil lord. Daniel refuses and returns to his uncle’s farm, but Tyra isn’t about to let him go that easily, she follows him back to Earth, enrolls in his school, and promises not to leave until he has saved her world.

BASIC INTELLIGENCE MODEL is a 51,000-word science fiction manuscript novel for children ages nine and up. This middle-grade novel is a standalone with series potential. (I’ve heard different people say different things here on if writers should mention this is series potential. To be honest I’m torn here) anyone have words of advice?

 I had the privilege of receiving a request from you to review a full on another manuscript. Although you declined,

A couple years ago I received word from you to resubmit when I had another novel to submit for query. I appreciated your valuable insights, and the fact that you took the time and effort to make them. I have available a finished copy of my manuscript for your review upon your request. I look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at…….

Okay world you're turn. What changes do you have for Tonja? Please put them in the comments. And remember if you have a synopsis or query spread the word and send them in!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Do You Have ADHD When It Comes To Writing To?

I swear when it comes to writing I have ADHD.  My usual routine starts with an idea, so I start writing. My first idea I loved, so I wrote to the end.  Once I finished I did the usual. I edited, I wrote my synopsis and I queried.  Guess what, it went no where.  Not one agent like it.  Oh well, it was after all my first.

After that heart breaking experience I wrote again.  It didn't feel right, so I put it aside and started again.  That one didn't feel right either, so I put that one aside, and started again.  The third time I started to think something was wrong with me.  The first time around I felt the magic, I fell in love with my characters.  What was wrong with me.  I knew a story was there, but none of the plots were defined enough, and I wasn't sure where I wanted to go. 

Then I started Light Weight, (which I'm sure the title will change in time) and I fell in love.  I loved my idea and my story was defined.  I knew exactly where I wanted to go and how I wanted to get there.  Looking back at my WIP that are sitting waiting for me to open them up again I realize what the problem is.  I love the idea, but the idea isn't finished.  The plot isn't defined and when the plot isn't defined, you don't have a story, you only have part of a story.

I've was deciding to put on hold my WIP again. I hate to say that, but for the good of my WIP and my writing I felt that was the best move.  Until I sat down again and gave it another go.  My plot is more defined. Don't get me wrong it's not totally there but much closer then it was. I really love this story, more then most.  Part of my problem is I see this story as a series and I really don't know how to do that yet which is why the plot is all over the place. I still need to learn to pace myself for that long haul of an idea.

Part of me wants to pick up something I wrote years ago. It would be so much easier.  It's written long hand, filling up a note book or two.  But I still want to work on my current WIP at the same time.  I don't believe in working on two at one time. I want to put all more focus and effort into one at a time.
Tell me how many WIP do you have lying around?  Have you had a hard time feeling the love for your work? Tell me so I know I'm not alone in this ADHD world of writing. How many WIP do you work on at one time?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh the Agony

It's that time again.  No not Christmas time, although it is that time of year as well.  No I'm talking about query time.  That's right, my baby has flown the coup and landed in a few agents inbox.  The suspense on how they are doing in the big world of publishing is trying.

I worry about my baby.  Is it standing out against the others queries in the crowded inbox?  Is it playing nice with the agents, letting them read and enjoy, letting them love the character's like I love them?  Are the agents able to see what my baby is, what my baby can become? And how long do I wait until I give up and call on those other agents? 

I know you have at one time or another felt the same way.  I've tried to spend this time while I wait to see how my baby is doing by researching more agents, and working on my WIP.  I also have been blogging.

What do you do to pass the time while waiting?  Share with me, let me know I'm not alone, because I know you're out there wondering the same. :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's Thanksgiving!

Hey everyone!



Since it's Thanksgiving this will be a very short post.  I just wanted to wish you all a very happy turkey filled Thanksgiving.

And don't forget the cranberry sauce!

I'll be back on Monday

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stand Out Synopsis/Query! YA Thriller by John Sankovich


I'm happy to announce yet another entry for our Stand Out Synopsis/Query.  This is great guys, keep them coming!

Today we have John Sankovich with his YA supernatural Thriller.  I have to say after reading, I think he has something here.  I have posted John's query as I received it, I am putting my red comments below this one so you and John can see the changes I made. 

Please, please add your comments in the comments section of this post.  I know if it were your post, you'd love to see what people have to say.  Okay then, now for John's query:


Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Stevens has come to terms with the fact that people want her dead. That her brother is included in that group is a little harder to swallow.
Using her emerging gift of telekinesis to stop a mini-market robbery, Rebecca unknowingly starts a war between two factions. The Followers are an organization of people who use their varying paranormal powers to oppress anyone not like them. Trinity, a group of citizens, who recruited her brother, formed to combat The Followers, and imprison everyone with supernatural powers including Rebecca. Then her father goes missing, and Rebecca must find him before The Followers do, since they believe he is the only person to know where their long lost leader, The Collector, is. As conflict erupts in her small town, Rebecca needs to find people she can trust when everyone is trying to kill her.
After Rebecca learns about the mystery of The Collector’s disappearance, and her father’s connection to it, Rebecca gathers her own gifted allies, struggles to save her father, reunite with her brother, and stop The Followers. If she fails than everything she holds dear will be destroyed.
THE GIFTED is a 90,000 word young adult supernatural thriller. I have an English degree from San Francisco State University.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
John Sankovich


Now my changes:

Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Stevens has come to terms with the fact that people want her dead, that her brother is included in that group is a little harder to swallow.

Using her emerging gift of telekinesis to stop a mini-market robbery, Rebecca unknowingly starts a war between two factions. The Followers are an organization of people who use their varying paranormal powers to oppress anyone not like them. Trinity, a group of citizens, who recruited her brother, formed to combat The Followers, and imprison everyone with supernatural powers including Rebecca.

When Rebecca learns about the mystery of The Collector’s disappearance, and her father’s connection to it, she must find her father before the Followers do. Rebecca must find people she can trust to gather her own gifted allies, struggles to save her father and reunite with her brother. With the Followers leader, The Collector missing, and Rebecca’s father the only one who knows where he is,  If she fails than everything she holds dear will be destroyed.


Then her father goes missing, and Rebecca must find him before The Followers do, since They believe he is the only person to knows where their long lost leader, The Collector is. As conflict erupts in her small town, when everyone is trying to kill her.
, and stop The Followers.

THE GIFTED is a 90,000 word young adult supernatural thriller. I have an English degree from San Francisco State University.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
John Sankovich

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Picking the Brain of an Author


Have you ever wanted to pick the brain of an author you admire?  I have, but for me it's not a new author, or even a recently dubbed famous author.  I want to pick the brains of authors of the classics.  Many of you know by now that in college I was a English Literature major, so I got a chance to read many of the classics. 

There are two stories that have stayed with me, even all these years later.  The stories are not even novels, but short stories by very well know authors.  Many people don't read short stories today, or study them so I wonder how many people even heard of these stories.  The stories are The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne.





I love these stories.  The Yellow Wallpaper is a story about a young mother and wife who is ill.  Personally I feel the reason for her illness can be interpreted in many ways.  It's a story which makes you think. There is so much between the lines of the written word which only Charlotte knows the real meaning of.  It fascinates me.  Please if you get the chance it is a must read.



As for Young Goodman Brown, oh the layers are endless, and the interpretation is intriguing. The story is about a man who takes a walk into the woods.  I can't give to much more away without giving away the story, so I'll only say this, good vs evil.  Have I peaked your interest?  Go read, you'll be glad you did.

These are the authors and their works I'd love to discuss with them.  What about you?  I'd love to hear which author you would love to pick the brains of and what work you would discuss with them.  Tell me in the comments.  I'd love to make another post with a list of novels/short stories for discussion.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blessing in Disguise

I've been thinking of ways to generate more ways for people to submit their synopsis and queries for review on Stand Out Synopsis.  So far the response has been slow, but dare I say steady?  A few people have offered ideas, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and I've decided the ideas are not bad ones but I'm not so sure I want to get that involved with so many social networks so instead I have decided to created only a Facebook page.  The only reason why I decided to go through Facebook is because I already have a Facebook account so it will be easier for me to check and update. I'm still trying to get the link on my blog, so  bare with me as I get that straightened out.  I want to help out other writers the same as so many have helped me out, but if there still is a slow trickling in of enteries I might have to cancel this segment. 

Part of me says this is a good thing.  It leaves me more time to concentrate on my writing, editing, blogging and family.  I enjoy blogging, and networking but I don't want it to consume all my free time.

As of right now I have no more entries, I'm going to give Stand Out Synopsis a little more time, I know I'm just in the beginning stages, but the purpose of this site is for comments, and no one is commenting and to be honest that is my main concern.  I will still post on Mondays and Thursdays, don't worry I'm not going anywhere.

Just an Update:  The Facebook link is now working so make sure you click and like- follow!  Thanks!- Cynthia

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm So Bummed



I got the call around dinner time on the 1st of November.  A friend of mine called with some very exciting news.  She was going to paste it on Facebook, but there were a chosen few people who she wanted to make sure heard the news straight  from her.

My friend had found out a few weeks ago that she is moving.  (sad sigh).  Her husband decided to take a job based in Virginia.  (another sad sigh).  Since I have moved to Rhode Island I have met some wonderful people.  The friends I have made I have made because of my boys.  I met this friend 10 years ago when I joined a mommies group through my hospital.  My son was six months old at the time.

From the time I joined, four of us from the group have been inseparable.  We had plays dates all week long and it was great.  We went to each others house, the zoo, I swear I lived at Mystic Aquarium.  As time went on and our kids started school we have seen less and less of each other. But we have Girls Night Out regularly, okay so some times we lapse and should have gotten together sooner, but the point is, we still make time for each other.  The last time we went out we went for dinner in Newport and a Comedy Club. So much fun.

 I'm so happy for her exciting new journey in life and I know that we will still talk to each other and hopefully visit each other, but knowing she is no longer right here in Rhode Island sucks. 


So this post is goes out to the ones we love that are far away.  You might be far away, but you are always close to our hearts!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stand Out Synopsis/Query

Morning Everyone!


I'm happy to announce that Stand Out Synopsis has a query to review.  I want to thank Christina Tetreault for letting us review her query.  As always my red lines are included below. 

Please help Christina out and add your advice, tips, and suggestions in the comments section.  Remember we are here to help each other out.  I'll always looking for submissions so if you have anything, send it in.  How to submit can be found on the right hand side bar.


Callie's Reluctant Reunion is a 58,800 word completed manuscript targeted for Harlequin's Special Edition line.  It is to be the first in a four book series. I like how you get straight to the point and let the agent/publisher know this book is the first in a series

Callie Taylor, is an elementary school teacher in Slatersville Massachusetts. (this sounds like the town is recovering not Callie. I’d make a new sentence) She is still recovering from the loss of her mother when a bombshell is dropped at her front door.  All her life she believed that her father was dead, killed in a car accident, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Before dying her mother confessed the truth to her closest friend. (Who’s closet friend? Callie’s or her mother’s)  Callie's father is none other than billionaire and presidential candidate Warren Sherbrooke.  

Callie had always considered her mom one of her best friends and is devastated when she learns her mother kept the truth from her.  Until Callie can come to terms with her mother's betrayal, she doesn't even want to think about her father let alone meet him.  Unfortunately, she is forced to deal with him much sooner than she plans when his stepson, Dylan Talbot shows up at her apartment.  Though she refuses at first, Callie eventually agrees to a meeting with her father at his secure mansion in Newport Rhode Island.

Dylan Talbot is a gorgeous multimillionaire who although is devoted to his family has vowed to never fall in love again.  When his stepfather Warren Sherbrooke receives a letter from a past love telling him they have a daughter together, Dylan is instantly suspicious.  Though Warren insists on going to Callie himself, Dylan convinces Warren to let him handle things.   A shrewd judge of character, it doesn't take Dylan long to determine that Callie is no threat to his stepfather.

However convincing his mother and Warren's campaign manager is another matter. (This sentence should be in the other paragraph)  As a result Dylan agrees to keep a close eye on Callie and make sure she stays away from the media. (I’m not sure you need that part) Quickly their relationship develops into more than friends.  After over hearing a conversation between Dylan and the campaign manager, Callie learns the truth about Dylan's apparent interest in her. 

It is only after Callie and Dylan both come to terms with their fears that find they find their happily ever after.

While I have not yet been published, I have been a member for RWA for seven years.  I am also a member of Rhode Island Romance Writers.

I look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,


Christina Tetreault

Thursday, November 3, 2011

You want to me what?




I strongly doubt if that I am the only one who has been having trouble since school started getting their kids out of bed.  Ever since Halloween when the kids were up late running around with their friends going house to house, and now knowing that Thanksgiving is around the corner, not to mention the anticipation of Christmas. Yes I know it is early, but even some stores are already pushing their advertisements. It is getting harder and harder to get the kids out of bed.

Personally I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that it is darker early in the morning and my kids have th light block curtians in their room.  I've resorted to leaving one or two of the curtains open at night.  They have five windows.  (Old Colonial- makes spring cleaning so much fun-NOT.) 

Anyway, I found this video a while ago and I thought I'd post it here for you enjoyment.







Doesn't it just make you smile to know every mom goes through the same thing?  Yeah, I thought so.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Torn

Okay so Halloween is out of they way and everyone is getting back into the swing of things.  As for myself, I've been very busy.  Along with getting ready for Halloween this past weekend I've gotten a good 2 hours worth of writing on my WIP. Yeah! Yes that is big for me.

I have also been doing a lot of reading, not critiques, or ssynopsis for Stand Out Synopsis, (although I wish I was), no, I've been reading for me.  I'm the type of person who HAS to have a book.  As soon as I get close to the end of one I'm at the book store hunting down another.  Funny thing is I write YA, but I haven't read a lot of YA books.  I know, shame on me. A few weeks ago I decided to change that so the last time I picked a book I decided it had to be YA. Well I've found one and I loved it.  The book is Fallen by Lauren Kate.  I'm almost finished with it so I went to the book store Sunday to pick up the next book Passion in the series only I had to order it (Boohoo).  So instead I pick up Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright (You know the one- It's a major motion picture now), I also picked up The Summer Garden by Paulina Simons.  I have read The Bronze Horseman and Alex & Tatitina and have been waiting almost a year for this last book to hit the US.

So now I'm in a dilemma. While I wait for Passion to come in from the book store, which book do I start?
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright or The Summer Garden by Paulina Simons which is really long?   Help me decide Which book would you pick up to read first?  And have you read Fallen by Lauren Kate?  What did you think?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween is Monday

 Happy Halloween Everyone!     






Happy Halloween Everyone!  I'm trying something new this year.  This year I'm not buying candy, no I'm not a grudge when it comes to Halloween.  It's just that every year I get less and less kids coming to my house to collect it.  My neighborhood has changed over the years; so much so that this year I'm taking my kids to a friends house to trick or trick. 

Last year was a disaster.  You see there are a lot of senior citizens in my neighborhood.  So even though new young family have moved they are out trick or tricking as well so nobody is home to give out candy.  My husband and I took turns every year walking with the kids so their was always someone home to give out candy.  The younger family today (wow that made me sound old and I'm not) don't do that.  They all go out as a family, wich is nice BUT: They leave theirs lights off and no candy on the stoop. Sucks for the neighbors kids!

So this year I'm taking my kids out of the neighborhood to a friends house a few blocks away where there are tons of kids and families.  My kids are really looking forward to it and I am too.  I get to socialize with my friends just like they do.  For me, it's a win win situation.  They get more candy and we both get to hang out with our friends.
 So Have a Happy Halloween!  And make sure to stay safe, travel in groups, and get lots of candy!



Monday, October 24, 2011

Stand Out Synopsis: Just Justice MG


Although he isn’t able to find anything on the internet about the strange website, with Pete’s help he discovers a newspaper article over Jenny’s death four years before. All the other kids pictured on the website come up as reported missing.

When Jenny next appears, she tells Tad about her own tragic death and the role her older sister played in it. She tries to use Tad’s pity to convince him that Dorks was responsible for Dan’s behavior, but Tad knows this is not true. Realizing that Jenny is after Dorks, Tad goes after her and finds her at a party with Dan. As a gigantic bag of firecrackers explodes, Dorks throws herself over Tad to protect him, proving that she still cares.

Tad convinces Dorks to take him home, but knows it won’t do any good. Jenny materializes above them and announces her intentions to destroy Dorks as a final act of friendship. Sisters like Dorks—sister’s like Jenny’s had been—must receive due justice. (Get rid of the line.  I don't think you need sisters like Jenny's, stay with Tad and his story)

As Jenny’s wrath is set in motion, Tad notices Dorks’ laptop in her backpack and tells her to quickly write a complaint to www.JustJustice.mag about Jenny. Just before death rolls over them, the complaint is sent off and Jenny is sucked up into the computer, never to be seen again. (Does this last part happen on their way home from the party?)

Okay I think Tonja has done a great job on this.  I didn't find to much to work on and what I did find I think are fairly easy fixes.  Those are my red lines now it's your turn to give Tonja your red lines.  Please put them in the comments!



I told you if I recieved an entry you would be the first to know.  Well I am happy to report that I have received an entry for Stand Out Synopsis.  I want to thank Tonja Drecker for submitting her synopsis for review.  A side note:  You will notice the synopsis is posted as a whole.  The last 3 or 4 paragraphs are what I want to consentrate on though. Those are the paragraphs Tonja has asked for help on.  I did this because the paragraphs are short and it gives us a better feel for the entire work.

If your synposis is on the shorter side, please (1 to 2 pages tops)  I will post the entire sysnopsis.  Please use reason when submitting.

I have read the synopsis and have entered my notes in red for you to see. Remember, please add you recommendations and advice for Tonja in the comments section of the post.  And be nice, we are all here to help each other out.  :-)


Title: Just Justice
Author: Tonja Drecker
Genre: Middle-Grade
Fifth-grade Tad Bradford’s older sister, Dorothy (a.k.a. Dorks), has turned into the world’s largest jerk. Thanks to her, and a knack for finding trouble, Tad is facing detention and hence being grounded from Saturday’s baseball game. When his attempts to fix the situation fail he looks for help from a website promising to solve all problems, www.JustJustice.mag.  However, he is careful not to mention the ongoing war with Dorks—he wants to deal with her personally. ( I have no problem here. It sounds good to me)

Almost miraculously, a bee-sting sends his teacher to the hospital before she can make his detention official, saving his chance to go to the baseball game. It does not take long before new troubles pile up and are promptly referred to www.JustJustice.mag ( I must admit this sentence bothers me. How are they referred to the web site?) Freak accidents causing broken arms and legs follow, insuring that all  problems vanish – but only for Tad.

Jenny, a girl pictured on the website, appears one night in his bedroom, claiming to be the reason behind his good fortune. (That would freak me out) All she wants in return is his friendship. Tad believes she is a figment of his imagination, his sub-conscious releasing feelings of guilt. Still, (Not sure you need Still) after his next visit to www.JustJustice.mag solves his problems by breaking his teacher’s legs, Tad decides not to use the website again.

In Dorks’ diary Tad discovers the reason behind her strange behavior; her boy-friend is the neighborhood bully, Dan Natters. (Can you tell us why she is acting strange? I'd put the boyfriend part in a separate sentence.  I keep wanting to read it as one and it's confusing that way.) Dorks threatens to send Dan after Tad if he divulges her secret to anyone. Jenny is furious that Tad isn’t seeking her assistance anymore and reminds him that as his friend, she will always be there to help him - especially to resolve his dispute with Dorks. But Tad is too creeped-out to want anything from Jenny, he just wants but Jenny to leave him alone.

Tad’s best friend, Pete, grows jealous of his seemingly good luck and decides to use www.JustJustice.mag himself. When Pete’s problem is solved with his father almost dying in a car accident, Tad decides that its finally time to find out more about the mysterious website. Before he gets a chance, Dan and his friends give him the painful reminder to leave Dorks alone. But Tad has no intention on obeying (Why?).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Use or Lose It!



It amazes me how true that one simple statement is.  It can be targeted at so many things in life.  Some things are like riding a bike. Some things well, they just don't come back, or at least not that easily. 

For me it's math.  I'm not talking adding and subtracting, it's that damn multiplition table that gets me every time. You see my son is working on this in school and most nights I'm the one who helps him with his homework.  He does it, I correct it.  Hello, not a good combination!  It's the blind leading the blind here.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I know the table, but my 9's table? Yeah, don't ask me for answers above six.  I have printed out the table for reference, for both of us, and only use it in dire straights.  My husband printed out another one for my younger son to learn, so in my house all three of us are learning our mulitplication table.

I can't remember the last time I actually needed it, so I haven't used it, and with calcultor's these days technically you don't need it.  But you do, you really do! 

School was hard me back then.  I graduated, I suffered but prevailed.  I even made it to college when so many people thought I might not.  I graduated with an English Literature Degree.  I prevailed, Damn it.  I have my war scars- I won.

Now I have to fight all over again. Damn. On to round two!  Why?  For my boys,  it's work that is worth the effort. It's worth it to me that they know, it might not be easy, but it feels pretty darn good when you get it.

I'm hoping when I get an agent the same will happen, they see me at night working on my books, they see the hours that go into it.  Deep down I know they know nothing happens over night, and the reward is so much sweeter when you worked for it.

Tell me what you lost and had to learn all over again, I'll be hitting the flash cards.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's the season for Reunions!



 I know I was going to leave Monday's open, but I felt like I haven't posted in a awhile and to be honest, I missed you guys!  I have been extremely  busy lately and I haven't gotten to many blogs, but I'm hoping to change that.  If I haven't gotten to you I will.  Now off to our normally scheduled post:

Yes, dare I say it. Not only is the holiday season fast approaching, but so are reunions.  In fact we are actually in the thick of it right now.  Most people have their high school reunions just before Halloween or right after Thanksgiving.  My husband's was this past Saturday.  Most spouses I'm told usually aren't very excited about reunions, and why should they?  After all it's not there reunion.  I was looking forward to it a little though.  You see I met my husband in college, but since we have been together for over 15 years I have already meet many of this high school friends.  My husband doesn't talk to many of them, but there are still many we do see, and coming from a small town, people are all ways connected.

It was fun to see people I haven't seen in years. It was fun hearing the old stories resurface, although most of the talk was about more current events. We dropped the kids off at my husbands parent's house then headed about twenty minutes away to the reunion.  It poured.  Funny because it was beautiful all day long.  Anyway, it's got me to thinking about reunions you always see in the movies.  Why is it that in the movies the renunion is always at the high school, and in real life it is always at some hotel, or bar, or restuarant?  I'd love for my next reunion to be at my high school.  With my luck it will be in Manhattan again at some bar/restuarant and I won't be able to hear any one again.  Hello i haven't sseen you in twenty years, I'd like to talk to you not scream at you!

Anyway, we had tons of fun.  It will be interesting how things turn out in the next ten years, or when ever who ever is in charged decides to hold it.  But then again I know who is in charge, she was at our wedding, do maybe next time I just call her.  Funny how things turn out.

What about you?  Have you gone to your high school reunion yet?  What are you looking forward too?  tell me, I'll be looking at old photos!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thank You, Thank You!

I received an award last week, sorry it took me so long to post about my good news.  Things have been crazy in my little world lately.  I have been trying to do edits on my ms and I have a new critique partner so I've been busy there as well.  I' have been swamped with blog posting.  I have so many people I follow it is getting really hard to get to everyone- if I haven't gotten to you it's not that I don't care, I'll get to your blog I promise.  There are just so many hours in a day/week.

Now according to the rules of the 7 x 7 link award I have to post 7 posts in each category- Can I break the rules?  This is making me do homework I really don't have time for, So instead I have decided to pick 7 blogs to post a link too which I believe are worthy of suck an award.  Who am I kidding we are all worthy, we work hard at our blogs, or writing, our jobs, our lives, BUT I can only pick 7- sorry.  :-(

So here are my seven

Sean at flish blog wash because I love the quirkiness of his posts.  He always buts a smile on my face.

Susana Hill because she is a fabulous children's book author and has great helpful fun ways to help those of us still trying to make our way into the publishing world.

My friends at Pinch of Romance for my romantic side!

Rachel at blackbird in my window because she has such a cool site!

Creative Chatter because I love her honesty and dedication. Go girl!

Abby over at abbyfowler, just because I think she's great

Matthew  over at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment

So there are my seven, make sure you go visit there sites because if they weren't great they wouldn't be here!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You know you are busy when.....

You miss your own birthday!  I have been reading tons of blogs lately about how people have reached mile stones on their blog. Who have reached 300 followers, and who has had an anniversary.  I like to call it birthday- it's easier to spell. LOL

Any way, I have been so busy lately I had no idea my birthday has passed. With everything on my palate right now, I had no idea it passed.  Oh, well.  I'm still one, and is the important part.  I still here, still writing, making friends, and being busy in this crazy world and connecting to so many fabulous people is how I got to be one years old in the first place. So I want to say thank you, and have a piece of cake on me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stand Out Synopsis - Some Sad News



Still no posts today for synopsis.  Sorry guys.  We were on a great roll there for two straight weeks, and I really enjoyed the ride. Problem is, the ride stops when the writers stop submitting, so due to time constraints I am leaving Mondays open.  When I get a request for a critque I will post it, until then

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Planning and Outlining



I am not an out liner.  The two novels I have written I wrote in the fly by night style.  That is I started with sentence one and keep going from there.  I would tweak, edit, reword, reorganize as I went along on my first.  On my second I wrote the first sentence and go from there.  Unlike the first though, I had more of an idea of where I wanted to go.  When ever I stop writing for the night I would make notes at the end of the scene on what I wanted to happen next.  I found it is so much easier to leave myself little cliff notes at the end.  It helps to keep writers block at bay.

This time I have decided to write a whole outline for my book first.  The reason why I actually did this was because I had an idea for another novel, but I wasn't finished with my WIP.  I loved the idea and I didn't want to forget it.  So I wrote down a quick three for four scene outline to get myself started and closed the file on the computer and let it sit.  I haven't looked at it in months.  I wanted to concentrate on LightWeight.  I wanted all my energy focused on one project.  I'm a big believer in finishing what I have started.

Now though, I can happily say I have finished LightWeight and have started the editing process.  I'm going through all the red lines my critique partner had given me and I am enjoying reading my WIP and fine tuning it for agents.  Since I need a break from editing I have decided to take out my outline and finish work on that a little.  I figure by the time I have finished round one of edits on LightWeight, I'll be in a good place to start writing my WIP.  Only I won't. I'll probably let it sit again, until I finish round two of edits, and word on another project I have started, a romantic comtemporary for a little while.  THen I might go back to LightWeight for another go around. Then I'll glance at my outline again.  The idea is to never get to a point where the story line gets old to me, I want to keep things fresh  I'm trying this out, we will see how it goes.

I have no idea how long this new process will take, it doesn't matter, the fun is writing it.  The fun is finding the idea and creating.  Although I have to admit. I love to seeing the finished product. Even more I'd love to see my books sits in the hands of the reader. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What I'm Up to these days

 Hey blogger world!  I hope everyone has had a great weekend.  I know today is Stand Out Synposis day, but I haven't gotten any entries this week so instead I thought I'd let you in on what I have been up too. (As soon as I get some more in, you'll be the first to know! So hurry up and get those synopsis in!):-)

The weather has been horrible here in Rhode Island.  For September it has been hot and humid and gross.  I don't even have an air conditioner anymore because we took them out thanks to Irene, and we figured what was the use of putting them back in when the summer was basically over.  Stupid, Stupid.

Anyway, I know many of you have been wondering how I am doing with sewing my son's costume, so I thought I'd post a picture for you to see.  Not a bad looking guy huh?  He looks like he belongs on a cover of a book.




  It's a renaissance shirt, anyway, notice the sword he is holding, that is why my son picked it; he wants the sword the model has in the picture.  I didn't argue, because the shirt looked fairly easy to make, minus me remembering how to sew again.  Besides, the model is pretty easy on the eyes.  Hey, you have to refer to the picture once in a while to make sure your sewing looks right.  Might as well have a nice picture to look at. 



 (And yes the cushion you see in the back round I sewed as well)

And here is my version, not exactly the same but, I'm not done yet.  I have to finish the cuffs on the arms so it has the same banding as the the collar and hem the bottom.  I think it will take me a total of 3 weekend days to finish.  Not bad for someone who hasn't sewn in years.

As for writing I decided to put the editing on my WIP aside. I figured after all the great feed back I got on it this week, I need walk away for a while.  Instead, I have opened up an older WIP and started editing and finishing that.  (I squeezed that in, in the early morning hours this weekend). It's not YA, it's a romantic contemporary and I hope to finish it before spring at the rate I'm going.

So tell me, what have you been up to this weekend?  Have you gotten any writing in like I have?  Anything fun go on?  Tell me curious minds want to know!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Only a Fraction

Who am I you ask?





Ah, some times I wonder. I, like many women in today's society wear many different hats. So I've decided I'm Wonder Woman, actually no I'm only kidding. 

But seriously, we do; men and women alike wear many hats these days.  For example most of us are parents, teachers, musicians, taxi drivers, maids, chefs, bakers, gardeners, the list goes on and on. How many different things do you do in a day?  I bet it's more than that, don't worry, me too. Those things don't make us who we are though.  There is so much more to us then that.  So I have decided to finally share my ten things about me.


1) I'm a wife and a mother of  two very active lovable boys.

2) I'm a dog lover. ( I kept my Buster even after I found out I was allergic and started allergy shots just so I could keep him. We miss you Buster!)   Now I have another dog Rascal, because I'm a glutton for punishment.

3)  I teach religious education class.

4) I love to sew, although I never have time anymore.

5)  I love to cook, when I have the time.

6)  I hate doing laundry.

7)  I hate knives, I have a deep fear of them.  They are dangerous, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

8)  I was on the PTA Board.  I had to quit and miss it,  but hey there are only so many hours in a day.

9) I hate swimming in ponds.  Slimy Yuk!

10) I love fresh cut flowers.

But even this is only a fraction of who I am.



Your turn, tell me about you?  What things do you love? Hate?  What are your ten things?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can You Hook a Teen?

That's what we are striving for isn't it?  Well, maybe not all of you guys, but a good handful anyway.  Well this week we get the chance to find out if our writing can hook a teen's interest enough to want to read our masterpieces.  Brenda Drake is hosting a contest.  click over to see the rules and play along.

Rules:  Post 250 words of your manuscript and on September 21st and 22nd.  Then Post it in the comments on the 23rd of you blog.  Doesn't sound hard and the prizes are pretty darn good.  So, here is my first 250 words.

Lightweight (working title)

I never saw it coming. The impact sent lighting bolts of pain through my jaw. I saw stars as the tunnel vision blocked my sight. Then I felt my body smashed against the brick wall behind me. I needed to defend myself. I lifted my arms to block my face. I knew I couldn't stand much more. I thought about how I got here. It was stupid really, if you thought about it. All I did was try to do something right for once.


Flash back#
Jose was bothering this girl, Michelle who was sitting with Mary outside by the steps at lunch reading a book. I told him to leave her alone, she was minding her own business. I saw no need to cause trouble that day. I wasn't in the mood.
You're not needed here Tony, get out of here. Can't you see I'm busy talking to Michelle?”
I saw Michelle hunch her shoulders trying to ignore Jose and go back to her book.
She doesn't look like she wants to talk to you.” I got up and stood between them.
Come on Michelle, put the book down and let's go for a walk.” Jose said reaching past me. Jose tried to take the book out of Michelle's hand.
I'd rather not.” Michelle bravely looking up at Jose.
That's enough Jose.” I was getting upset.
Come on Michelle, let's go to the parking lot.” Jose pushed me out of the way, grabbed Michelle's arm and pulled her along.
Get off of me.” Michelle stood up to him. I had never seen a girl stand up to Jose before. 

Your turn to join in on the fun.  Let me know what you think and post your 250 words! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Worst Movie Ever Blog Fest

   


Okay so I'm a day late, but at least I got the post up, right?  And everyone got a chance to critique Christie's synopsis right- so we are all good.  Okay on to my Worst Movies Ever:
  

Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting a Worst Movie Ever Blog Fest and I have signed up to join in the fun.  At first I really thought this was going to be hard.  I try very hard not to see bad movies, I mean movies cost a lot of money these days.  It's a small fortune to pay for a night or afternoon out with my husband and boys, especially when they want to watch it in 3D.  I mean two dollars extra for kids and four dollars extra for adults, and there are less then a hand full of scenes in the movie with 3d parts in it?  I mean really? Nobody is that rich.

Anyway back to my point, after thinking about it and researching movies that I have forgotten about I realized that I have seen a lot a crappy movies.  So with out further ado, here is my worst movie list.

1- Gnome and Juliet
2- The matrix Reloaded
3- Se7en
4- The Princess Bride
5- Police Academy - all of them it doesn't matter
6- Weekend at Bernie's
7- Stop or My Mom will Shoot
8- Speed II
9- Robo Cop
10- Dumb and Dumber

I can't wait to see what you have as your worst 10 movies ever!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stand Out Synopsis: Contemporary MG

 
 
 
Today's synopsis comes from Christie Wright Wild. Her story is a middle grade contemporary, and after reading the 3 paragraphs she sent in, I think it's going to be a winner.  Now you know the rules, read the entry and post your comments to help Christie out in the comments section.  You know where mine will be. 
 
Title: GLEEK
Genre: Contemporary MG

Fifth grader, Art Schaeffer, nicknamed Gleek because he can "snake-spit" further than anyone in the school, loves to eat, but nobody can tell by looking at him because he's as picky and as skinny as his pet snakes. Although Gleek is the treasurer of the Math and Science Club, he cringes at the prospect of having to enter the upcoming Science Fair because he doesn't like to read, hates writing, and abhors spelling, all of which are necessary to create a winning entry.

Meet Cody Boggs aka Matso, the smartest math whiz in the school and a bit of a bully. He loves to eat and everybody can tell by looking at him because he'll eat anything. When Matso enters the fair with a strange food experiment, Gleek becomes suspicious and discovers Matso breaking lots of rules. 

Gleek wants to report Matso anonymously, but doesn't know how to submit an article to the school paper, much less how to write one. The closer Gleek gets to finding out Matso's secrets causes him to fear for his safety. Will Gleek find out a way to expose Matso before the judges of the Science Fair award the prizes? And will he do so with his limbs still intact?
See below my red lines.
Title: GLEEK
Genre: Contemporary MG

Fifth grader, Art Schaeffer, nicknamed Gleek because he can "snake-spit" further than anyone in the school.  He loves to eat, but nobody can tell by looking at him because he's as picky and as skinny as his pet snakes.  Although Gleek is the treasurer of the Math and Science Club, he cringes at the prospect of having to enter the upcoming Science Fair because he doesn't like to read, hates writing, and abhors spelling, all of which are necessary to create a winning entry.  
(what is snake spit, and what does it have to do with the word Gleek?  I also changed sentence 2 and 3, but that is only my opinion.)

Meet Cody Boggs aka Matso, the smartest math whiz in the school and a bit of a bully. He loves to eat and everybody can tell by looking at him because he'll eat anything. When Matso enters the fair with a strange food experiment, Gleek becomes suspicious and discovers Matso breaking lots of rules. 
(Why is he suspicious?  How does he find out he is breaking rules?) These are good questions, it means you've intrigued me. 

Gleek wants to report Matso anonymously, but doesn't know how to submit an article to the school paper, much less how to write one.(Who does he report it too?) The closer Gleek gets to finding out Matso's secrets causes him to fear for his safety. Will Gleek find out a way to expose Matso before the judges (can you tell us who the judges are?)of the Science Fair award the prizes? And will he do so with his limbs still intact?

Christie Wright Wild
WEBSITE:  http://www.christiewrightwild.com
BLOG:  http://www.christiewrightwild.blogspot.com
 
 
Okay Christie, I have to say not much room for improvement here, other than try to give a little more information, you have got my attention, but I'd like to know a little more. I guess I'll have to read the book to find out. I liked it. You have all the vital information, and I found myself asking questions which only reading the book will answer. How about you guys? Did you pick up something I didn't? Any kind words of advice?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's old is new again!




I have been busy lately.  School has finally started, CCD has started this week, and I've been working hard with edits on my manuscript.  I'm hoping to finish round one of edits by Halloween, but I doubt it because I promised my son that I would make his Halloween costume this year, so I need to set time aside for that.  I have all the pieces cut out, now all I have to do is sew it together. 

I haven't sewed in a few years so the excitement and the novelty is still new in me.  I've sewn many things over the years, a costume for my oldest when he was a baby, pillows, purse, pocket book, a large window cushion, a dress and the usual hemmed clothes.  Over the years I have lost time though.  This year thanks to a friend of mine my interested has been found again. 

You see I let a very good friend of mine borrow my machine, and by accident it has been destroyed.  She thought it would be safe leaving it outside my cabin in a cooler, and it would have been if I had known she put it there so I could pick it up, but I didn't.  It rained hard for two days.  A few days later I found my sewing machine in six inches of water.  I saw a few shades of red. 

Have I forgiven my friend?  Oh course, stuff happens, no one got hurt, we are still very close, and I still love her.  It's an object, not a human, and yes she took me shopping and replaced my machine. Now I have a new sewing machine and I'm all excited to sew something, anything. 

I sat down with my son and cut the pattern out with him for his costume then sat down and read all the sewing instructions again.  Understanding what needed to be done and why came back to me like riding a bike.  I can't wait to get started on the sewing now that everything is prepped.  

It's a little like writing; when you walk away from a material you have worked so hard on you become numb to it, it isn't fresh and new anymore, but when you walk away and leave it for a while then come back  the excitement is back, the novelty is new again and you can't wait to dig in and tackle the project. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stand Out Synopsis/Query: A Russian Historial Saga

 
 
 
I have received the first entry for "Stand Out Synopsis", and I want to thank  Carrie-Anne Brownian for allowing us to help her out. Carrie's work is a period novel, set in Russian and extends to America. Take a peek and add your thoughts in the comments.  My comments will be posted below.
 
These are the synopsis paragraphs of my Russian historical saga set from 1917 to 1924.


Seventeen-year-old Lyuba Zhukova is left behind in Russia when her mother and aunt immigrate to America, forcing her to go into hiding from the Bolsheviks and sometimes flee at a moment’s notice.  By the time the Civil War has turned in favor of the Reds, Lyuba has also become an unwed mother.  But she still has her best friend and soulmate Ivan Konev, a cousin, and a band of friends, and together they’re determined to survive the Bolsheviks and escape to America.

As Lyuba runs for her life from during the terror and uncertainty of the Civil War, she’s committed to protecting her daughter and staying together with Ivan, her on-again, off-again boyfriend in addition to her best friend and the man who’s raised her child as his own since the night she was born.  The race to get out of Russia, into Estonia, and over to America intensifies after Ivan commits a murder to protect her and becomes a wanted criminal. 

Once in America, Lyuba discovers the streets aren’t lined with gold and that she’s just another Lower East Side tenement-dweller.  Ivan brings in dirt wages from an iron factory, forcing them to largely live off the savings they brought from Russia and to indefinitely defer their dream of having their own farm in the Midwest.  And though the Red Terror is just a nightmarish memory, Lyuba is still scarred in ways that have long prevented her and Ivan from becoming husband and wife and living happily ever after.
 
In the lines below I have added my comments as promised.  Please notice the red lines, and comments.  
 
 
 Seventeen-year-old Lyuba Zhukova is left behind in Russia when her mother and aunt immigrate to America, forcing her to go into hiding from the Bolsheviks and sometimes flee at a moment’s notice.  By the time the Civil War has turned in favor of the Reds, Lyuba has also become an unwed mother.  But she still has her best friend and soulmate Ivan Konev, a cousin, and a band of friends, and together they’re determined to survive the Bolsheviks and escape to America.
(I'm dying to know why she was left behind)

As Lyuba runs for her life from during the terror and uncertainty of the Civil War, she’s committed to protecting her daughter and staying together with Ivan, her on-again, off-again boyfriend(the man who stole her heart) in addition to her best friend and the man who’s raised her child as his own since the night she was born.  The race to get out of Russia, into Estonia, and over to America intensifies after Ivan commits a murder to protect her and becomes a wanted criminal. 


Once in America, Lyuba discovers the streets aren’t lined with gold and that she’s just another Lower East Side(lower case) tenement-dweller.  Ivan brings in dirt wages from an iron factory, forcing them to largely live off the savings they brought from Russia and to indefinitely defer their dream of having their own farm in the Midwest.  And though the Red Terror is just a nightmarish memory, Lyuba is still scarred in ways that have long prevented her and Ivan from becoming husband and wife and living happily ever after.
 
As you can see I didn't have to much to add or change.  Carrie I think you did a great job, and I'd love to see the final work.  Yes, that means I'd love to read this book.  It's the type of book that is right up my ally. 
 
Okay world, your turn to add your comments.  Let Carrie know how she did.  And don't forget to submit you synopsis or query for review.
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Annette Blair, National Bestselling Author Shares Her Writing Journey To Publication

  I'm very excited about this blog today.  Today I get to introduce to you a National Bestselling Author, Annette Blair.  I got a chance to meet Annette through my writing group RIRW.  A wonder group of  writers who are very supportive of each other and very giving of their time to help each other reach their goals, personally and professionally.  At one of our meetings Annette was asked to share with the group her experience with rejection letters.  I myself was very interested because I am still experimenting with my writing and honing my skills; to be able to see and hear what a best selling author went through, to me was and is priceless.  I asked Annette if she would share with us on my blog what she has experienced in her journey.   (Note:  all of this information can be found on Annette's website: http://www.annetteblair.com/index.html) as she has given me permission to use it.  But I must add. If you have any question for Annette please post them here in the comments section and Annette will answer as many questions as she can.  

About Annette


Former prep-school administrator and award-winning author Annette Blair owes her comprehensive theme of "Magic with Heart," to Salem, Massachusetts. The national bestseller writes single titles for Berkley Sensations and Vintage Magic Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. Her historical backlist can soon be found on an e-reader near you. 

In her thirty plus books, she’s explored nineteenth-century Amish Country; Regency and Victorian Britain; and madcap, modern Salem Mass, where bold women follow the Celtic faith with heart. There, she fought dragons, and fell in love with an angel. More recently, she’s solved mysteries beside Connecticut’s Mystic River. Wherever Annette’s landed, she's thrived. An adventurer and storyteller at heart, she’s proud to be a second generation American with French Canadian roots. Her Paranormals include her Accidental Witch Trilogy, her Psychic Triplet Witches, and her Works like Magick Novels, and the Vintage Magic Mysteries. 

Annette's work has garnered multiple Romantic Times TOP PICKS, Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and HOLT Medallion nominations.  A triple Golden Heart Finalist, she's also finaled in the Golden Leaf, the Lauries, the Golden Quill, and the National Readers' Choice Awards.  She’s won multiple Booksellers Best Awards, LORIES Awards, Laurel Wreath, Blue Boa, Aspen Gold, RIO, Southern Magic, More than Magic, Orange Rose, Winter Rose, PRISM, Beacon, Colorado Awards of Excellence, Write Touch Readers' Choice Awards and an Orange County Book Buyer's Best Award. With SEX AND THE PSYCHIC WITCH, Annette took home three Anne-Bonney Readers’ Choice Awards out of four.  VAMPIRE DRAGON, her third Works Like Magick Novel, a "B&N Jules's Pick Must Read" and a "Night Owl 5 star plus TOP PICK"  hit stores in April 2011. SKIRTING THE GRAVE, her fourth Vintage Magic Mystery, hit stores in July 2011.

Recent re-prints include: Jacob's Return, an Amish Historical, a Kindle US & UK TOP 100 Bestseller (formerly titled Thee, I Love) also contracted as an audio book; The Butterfly Garden, another Amish Historical, and Scoundrel in Disguise a Victorian Historical, both due before the end of 2011.

MY JOURNEY TO OVERNIGHT SUCCESS

YEAH RIGHT!

DON'T FALL OFF MY ROLLER COASTER
by Annette Blair

My purpose in writing this is to tell those of you who are at the beginning, in the middle, or toward that illusive “First Sale” point in your roller-coaster writing career, that persistence pays off, even if that first sale doesn't happen fast.  If you write daily, submit your work, continue to learn and grow in your craft, you WILL make that first sale.  I'm living proof.Count each baby step--an honorable mention, a good rejection letter, an agent who thinks your writing has promise:  They’re important
Before I sold, when published authors announced new sales, I’d think, big deal, so what?  Of course you sold.  Because back then I had no idea that the struggle continued beyond the first sale, but now I know better, and so should you . . . if only to soften the sharp blow of reality.  Yes, it’s a never-ending roller coaster, and the lows are low, but oh man, the highs are incredible.
Step onto my personal coaster and join me for some ups and downs that will help you appreciate the upward movement of your career. 
 1987/88—Christmas Break from school.  My daughter challenged me to take my plot ideas from my nightstand drawer and write a book. 
  • That day, I began writing AWAKE TO A NEW DAWN—which sold as LADY FAITH eleven years later.
 1988—Daughter said send my book to a publisher, and I said, “No way.” 
  • I got 26 rejections that year, from publishers and agents, though one of the publishers didn't publish romance.  He liked the book, though.
  • I started MORE THAN A PROMISE, which will never see the light of day. Hubby had said I should start with an outline, so I did.  The rejection said:  “It reads like an outline.”  It should have said:  “It has no plot.”  Moral of the story:  "Don't let your husband help you write a romance." 
1989—I got an agent—bad move agent-wise, and the first of several. 
  • Got five rejections through that agent. 
  • I saw an ad for a Spring into Romance conference in NY.  I sent my registration, took a train to NY, got a hotel.  At the conference Roberta Gellis told me about Rhode Island Romance Writers and RWA (Romance Writers of America), including the New England Chapter.   Who knew?  
  • Entered my first contest.  My combined score: 26 out of a possible hundred.  I knew squat.  Several other contests were not much better.  Yes, I was a contest slut from the very beginning, and oh man did I get horrible scores.
  • I joined RWA, went to their conference in Boston, and learned I knew nothing about writing.  I met people from my local chapters.  What a helpful group of women and so advanced in their careers.  I had a lot to learn.
  • Got an Honorable Mention for MORE THAN A PROMISE.  Go figure.  This is the single early book that was never published.
  • Entered a few more contests and saw the scores go up as far as maybe 56 out of a possible hundred.  I had a POV problem.  What the hell was POV?
  • Kept going to NEC & RIRW meetings and revising my first two manuscripts according to what I’d learn at each—did that a trillion times.
  • I received a second Honorable Mention
1990—Six rejections that year.
  • More lousy contest scores.
  • One more Honorable Mention
1991—Four rejections that year.
  • Started writing PATIENCE OF A SAINT, which sold eight years later as LADY PATIENCE.
  • Took two years to write that book.  I stopped being obsessive and went for as long as a month or two without writing.  Bad habit, induced by discouragement.
  • Got two honorable mentions for LADY PATIENCE.  Maybe the re-writes were helping.  I found that encouraging.
  • Kate Duffy requested LADY PATIENCE for Meteor’s new Historical Line.
 1992—Sixteen rejections that year, including one from Nancy Yost, who thought I had potential.  Nancy is my current agent and my smartest choice ever.
  • The Meteor Line folded.  In six years, Kate Duffy would actually buy LADY PATIENCE and two other books which would make my first sale.  I wonder if she would have bought LADY PATIENCE in 1992, if the line hadn’t gone under?  Story of the business.
  • I began writing ACT OF CHARITY which would sell ten years later as AN UNMISTAKABLE ROGUE.
 1993—Seven rejections that year.
  • Continued working on ACT OF CHARITY.  I did not write, daily, weekly or even monthly in the mid 90’s.  Try not to get into that slump.  It slows you down in more than words on the page.
 1994—Four rejections that year.
  • LADY PATIENCE got a Top Ten Award in a contest.
  • I began writing THEE, I LOVE, which would sell in five years as part of my first sale.
  • I became obsessed with writing as I had two more hours in the day to write now that I'd moved closer to my day job and wasn’t commuting.  I began writing daily again.
 1995—Got my second agent--another bad move.
  • Six rejections that year.
  • Continued working on THEE, I LOVE
  • Started entering more contests
 1996—Three rejections that year. 
  • A second place win for ACT OF CHARITY.
  • A third place win for THEE, I LOVE
  • A fifth place win for THEE, I LOVE
  • A Golden Heart Finalist for ACT OF CHARITY, published six years later as AN UNMISTAKABLE ROGUE—I thought I’d sell instantly as a Golden Heart Finalist—Wrong.
1997—Eighteen rejections that year.
  • A First place win for AWAKE TO A NEW DAWN, which had become KEEPING FAITH, which would sell as LADY FAITH in one very, very long year.
  • A Golden Heart Finalist for LADY PATIENCE—I thought surely now, with two Golden Heart Finals, I’d make that first sale—Wrong.
1998—Eight rejections that year.
  • March—A Golden Heart Finalist for THEE, I LOVE—third GH final—But I was totally jaded and knew I’d never sell. 
  • April—New England Chapter Conference.  Awesome conference, by the way.  I pitched to Kate Duffy.  She asked to see everything I’d written.
  • June 23rd at 1:10 pm—THE CALL. Kate Duffy bought LADY PATIENCE, LADY FAITH and THEE, I LOVE.  I have never seen my hands shake as much as when I realized I’d made my first sale.  I called everyone from the New England Chapter and Rhode Island Romance Writers.  They cried with me.
1999—My first three books were released.
  • I started writing THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN which would not sell for five years.
  • I started writing A RAKE UNDENIABLE which would sell as AN UNDENIABLE ROGUE in three years.
  • I got the last of my counted rejections.  Now they’re just passes and have become part of the journey
  • No new sales.
 2000—I got my third agent.  When she quit the business, she relinquished all rights to the books we sold together. I will always be grateful for that.
  • I wrote one and a half Victorian Historicals, A PERFECT SCANDAL and its untitled sequel.
  • No new sales.
2001—A big year.  I sold AN UNDENIABLE ROGUE, AN UNFORGETTABLE ROGUE and AN UNMISTAKABLE ROGUE.
  • I went to Salem Massachusetts for a weekend with friends, saw a shop called The Kitchen Witch, and thought, WHAT IF...that was the name of a Salem TV cooking show and the woman who got the job couldn’t cook?  Hmm.  The idea for THE KITCHEN WITCH was born.
  • My first Victorian Historical, A PERFECT SCANDAL, won the PASIC (Published Authors Special Interest Chapter) contest.  It would be released as SCOUNDREL IN DISGUISE five years later.
2002—Two Rogues were released and they were award-winning hits, which I believe was my first BIG break.
2003—Nancy Yost became my agent, my second BIG break. She’s awesome.
  • Nancy sold THE KITCHEN WITCH, my first single title contemporary, a bewitching romantic comedy, to Berkley, my third BIG break.  
  • We sold A CHRISTMAS BABY to Kensington, the last of the rogues . . . so far.
  • AN UNMISTAKABLE ROGUE came out with a larger print run than the first two, already out of print.
2004—THE KITCHEN WITCH became a runaway “smash hit” and later reaped a host of awards. (As of 2011, it's in its 10th printing.)
  • We sold MY FAVORITE WITCH to Berkley.
  • We sold a novella in an anthology called HOT TICKET with Deirdre Martin & Julia London.
  • THE KITCHEN WITCH & A CHRISTMAS BABY came out in October.
2005—THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN was released in hardbound
  • THE KITCHEN WITCH & A CHRISTMAS BABY began winning awards & contests.
2006—MY FAVORITE WITCH came out in January and became a National Bestseller.
  • HOT TICKET, with my first ever novella, came out in trade paperback in May, another bestseller
  • SCOUNDREL IN DISGUISE came out in hardbound in May
  • The trade paperback version of THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN came out in June
  • THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN started winning awards.
  • April 13th, I retired from my day job to become . . . A FULL-TIME WRITER!
  • Nancy sold a trilogy of psychic triplet witches to Berkley in what I like to call my first “big girl” deal:
    • SEX AND THE PSYCHIC WITCH
    • GONE WITH THE WITCH
    • NEVER BEEN WITCHED
  • Luncheon speaker  2007 New England Chapter Conference in April 2007. 
  • THE SCOT, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE second National Bestseller.
    • A Doubleday Book Club Selection
    • A Rhapsody Book Club Hot off the Press Selection
      • Rhapsody Book Club Famous First Line
      • Topped the Charts at Rhapsody Book Club for four months
2007—SEX AND THE PSYCHIC WITCH, August 2007, Another National Bestseller
  • New England Conference Luncheon Speaker in May
  • Sold my first mystery series to Berkley Prime Crime in May
  • THE SCOT, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE published in large print in July
  • Five contract deadlines to meet in the next year and a half
2008—GONE WITH THE WITCH, May 2008
  • Sold THE SUPERNATURAL EMPLOYMENT AGENCY series to Berkley.
  • Learned that my books have been modeled at Barnes & Noble--automatic reorder as sold and no more running out or stripping covers--a major career milestone.
  • Learned that ON WRITING ROMANCE by Leigh Michaels cites THE KITCHEN WITCH in several places in her book.  I find it uber cool to be indexed in a HOW TO WRITE book.
  • Sold the Accidental Witch Trilogy to Germany.
2009—FOUR BOOKS BEING RELEASED IN 2009
  • First Vintage Magic Mystery, A VEILED DECEPTION, Jan 2009
  • Third Triplet, NEVER BEEN WITCHED, February 2009
  • Second Vintage Magic Mystery, LARCENY AND LACE, August 2009
  • Mass Market Paperback release, HOT TICKET Anthology, September 2009
  • Sold three more books in the Vintage Magic Mystery series to make six mysteries.
    • My total books sold is twenty-five.
2010—THREE BOOKS BEING RELEASED IN 2010
  • THE NAKED DRAGON, A Works Like Magick Novel, January 2010
  • DEATH BY DIAMONDS, Third Vintage Magic Mystery, April 2010
  • BEDEVILED ANGEL, A Works Like Magick Novel, August 2010
    • A VEILED DECEPTION, my first Vintage Magick Mystery, was an RT Book Club Reviewers' Choice Award Nominee
    • LARCENY AND LACE, Second Vintage Magic Mystery, went into a second printing.
    • I contracted novellas for two anthologies for Constable & Robinson Publishing in the UK and Running Press Publishing in the US:
      • THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF SCOTTISH ROMANCE
      • THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE.
    • I contracted a novella for an anthology with HCI Books, the Chicken Soup for the Soul Publisher for:
      • FIND LOVE LIKE A ROMANCE WRITER
    • Total books sold is twenty-eight.
2011—NINE BOOKS SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE IN 2011
  • MAMMOTH BOOK OF SCOTTISH ROMANCE, January 5
  • FALL IN LOVE LIKE A ROMANCE WRITER Anthology, February 1
  • JACOB'S RETURN (formerly THEE, I LOVE) Amish Historical, Re-issue, May
    • #1 Kindle Bestseller, Amish Historical Romance
    • #1 Lachesis Bestseller, Fictionwise
    • Top 100 Kindle Bestsellers, US UK
      • Sold as an Audiobook
  • VAMPIRE DRAGON, third Works Like Magick Novel, April 5
  • SKIRTING THE GRAVE, Fourth Vintage Magic Mystery, July 5
  • MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE, Sept 5
  • THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN, Amish Historical, Re-issue, TBA
  • SCOUNDREL IN DISGUISE, Amish Historical, Re-issue, TBA

  • 2011 SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS: 
    • Uxbridge Free Library, Presenter, March 26th
    • Some Enchanted Evening, Presenter, March 27th
    • Miami Dade College Arts & Letters Day, Presenter, April 6th
    • Keynote & Presenter, The New England Chapter
      • Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference, April 30th
    • Connecticut Fiction Fest, May 14, Presenter
    • Cape Cod Writers Conference, August 15 to 19
    • New Jersey Romance Writers
      • Put your Heart in a Book Conference, Oct 21 & 22, Presenter
    • New Hampshire Writers Conference, September
  • 2011 News:
    • Sold SCOUNDREL IN DISGUISE, A Victorian, to Debut a new line for Lachesis Publishing.
    • Sold JACOB'S RETURN as an audiobook
    • Sold THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN as an audiobook
    • Sold SISTERS OF SPIRIT Anthology
2012—BOOKS SCHEDULED FOR 2012
  • CLOAKED IN MALICE, Fifth Vintage Magic Mystery, April 2012
  • OPERATION PETTICOAT, Sixth Vintage Magic Mystery, TBA 2012
  • SCOUNDREL IN DISGUISE, a Victorian, set to Debut TWO O'CLOCK PRESS, a new Classics Line by Lachesis Publishing.
2013--BOOKS SCHEDULED FOR  2013
  • SISTERS OF SPIRIT Anthology, PICTURE IT by Annette Blair, debuting three new writers: Jeanine Spikes, Lynn Jenssen, and Christine Mazurk.
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  • That's the story of my roller coaster . . . so far . . . .
  • An overnight success . . . as you see.  
No more 'rejections,' because I hate the 'R' word.  I block any "passes" from my mind and move on.
I sincerely believe that if you write daily, submit your work, continue to learn and grow in your craft, that you WILL make that first sale.  Then it’ll be like going from high school to college, or college to the workplace, a different kind of challenge, but a challenge nonetheless.  An invigorating challenge.  Writing always is, but it's not for the faint of heart.
Grow a thick skin; you’ll need it.
Nevertheless, I wish YOU instant success, a ride straight to the stars, which many have achieved—I was not one of them.  If your roller coaster does not fly straight up, then I wish you tenacity, all our support, hours of writing pleasure, and a career that is worthy of your struggle.  Never give up ... and pay attention to the signs.
Hugs, and Happy Writing.
 
Any questions? Comments?  Leave them in the comments section so Annette can read and answer any question or comment you have.