Thursday, June 30

RWA Conference Day 2

Oh my, what a day...

First off, I promised to show you all my 'swag' so here it is...

What we have here is :
Conference Tote Bag
Badge an Badge holder
Conference Planner
Themed Mint Tin
Collapsible Water Bottle
City Map
Flash Drive
and eight (yes eight) Books

These books I got today and one of the book signings. There are to book signings a day, and each signing showcases two publishers. This particular signing was Sorcebooks and St. Martin's Griffin. I didn't go to yesterdays signings because I didn't realize what they were. Basically, you line up, go into the big room where there are dozens of authors from the designated publishers, choose which books you want to read, and get a signed copy--for free. Yes folks, all those books were free, and they don't even represent half of what I could have gotten! The rest however were things that didn't so much interest me so I passed. (Plus, I have to be able to get all these home...) There are two more signings tomorrow and I will be going so my book tally will most likely double.

This is the wall in my hotel room right now. Crazy, right!?

So, as far as what I learned today, I realized it is going to be easier to wait until the end of the conference to talk about that, as there is so much that overlaps, I don't want to be redundant. However, I did get one little piece of info that is a little disheartening--especially if you write YA.

Ever wonder, "Hey, I wonder, if I got a book deal when my book would actually come out."? Well, as of today, I can give you an idea. During the conference, one of the biggest things going on is the pitches, as in you can pitch your book to a pannel of editors and agents with the hopes of being signed. Three of the editors from the panel--one from Sorcebooks, one from Dell, and one from Harliquin--gave us this info: If you write traditional romance, women's fiction, or any other mainstream genre, and you get a publishing contract in the next month or so, you could still possibly land a spot on the 2012 publishing card with a release date in the fall or winter of that year, however, most will see pub. dates of spring/summer 2013, or even into that fall. The ones pitching YA(by 'the ones' she meant the writers who pitched yesterday and today at the conference) unfortunately, are vying for spots on the 2014 and 2015 publishing card. YA is just that full, making it a hard sell.

That's right YA writers, if you were to get a book deal this month, the earliest you book would be on shelves is summer/fall 2014. Now they did say that there are always exceptions to those numbers, but not many. They also said that while they could only technically speak for their own houses, they did say that this scenario is cross the board in the industry.

Yeah, kinda sucks...

Anyway, that's all for today. I go into more detail tomorrow, but for now, going to go eat my dessert from Junior's! Yay!

Oh, and highlight of the day... I actually met Nora Roberts! Like shook her hand and everything! I'm not really what you would call a 'fan' of her's, as I kind of think all her books are the same, but come on, it's Nora freaking Roberts! Fan or no, that was cool! :)

Wednesday, June 29

RWA Conference Day 1

Well I'm here in the Big Apple, and trust me, that was no easy feat...

I missed the only seminar that I wanted to go to today due to an extremely delayed flight, a 2 hour shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel, and the hotel's strict no-check-in-before-3:00 policy. That, plus too much walking in bad shoes, dehydration, and motion sickness all made for a pretty horrible day. The only conference thing I was able to do was register, get my 'swag bag' and check out the 'goodie room' which was basically a long room FILLED with business cards and bookmarks advertising for upcoming books by conference attending authors.

The awesome news is that my conference bag had TONS of free books in it, and a lot of them were things I had actually wanted to read! I post a picture of everything I got tomorrow. I will also post anything I learn at my numerous seminars tomorrow that is of general interest to writers so that all my blogging buddies can get something out of this experience too! Just so you know, I will only post things I hear actually come out of the mouths of editors and agents--not the plethora of rumors and speculation that circulate like crazy at things like this. So anything I tell you, you can take to the bank. :)

As for now however, I am exhausted and going to hit the sack!

Good night all, and I'll talk to you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 22

Publishing Glossary

Two days ago we finally found renters for our townhouse, so we are moving! Yay! However, the bad news is, with the RWA Conference next week, I basically have the rest of this week to pack our entire place. Beh.
Thus, I will not have time for much in the way of blogging this week, but when I read this I had to share...

My agent tweeted a link to this blog post today, , and if you have a free minute and need a laugh, you have to check it out.

Talk to you soon!

Monday, June 20

Be a Quitter

A few days ago, I wrote a post about giving up on books you don't like, and something about that post has been humming in the back of my mind ever since. I don't usually mull over my own rambling, but this time I might have hit on a deeper subject without realizing it. The subject being: quitting.

Now, before it get into anything here, let me preface by saying that you should always give everything you try a chance. You should not give up right away because it isn't fun, or is too hard, etc. If you don't give things a chance, you will miss out on a lot of great opportunities to expand as a person and enjoy life.

However, that being said, sometimes quitting can be good. This country has an obsession with never quitting anything, and I don't believe it's healthy. And I'm not just talking about the things you hate, I'm also talking about the things you love, but may never be successful at. For me, it was music.

Now, don't get me wrong, I haven't lost music from my life entirely, but I no-longer consider myself a musician. I had a very short lived attempt at a life as a singer, and it just didn't pan out. I was talented, but just not talented enough. I was trained too, so don't think I was one of those American Idol wannabes, I actually have a music degree in vocal performance. I did--and do--know what I am doing, but sadly, singing is just like writing; of the thousands out there trying to 'make it', only a teeny tiny percentage actually will. Sure, when you come out of a failed audition all you fellows say things like, "Don't worry, this just wasn't the job for you!" and "You'll get'um next time!" and "Someone will just love your voice!", the same way that writers say that sort of thing to each other when queries and submissions get rejected. It's she same for actors, dancers, musicians; all of us. We all have more rejection than acceptance, and we all have cheer leaders in each other. Are the cheerleaders right? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But in the end they don't really matter--what matters is you. Do you see yourself making it? Honestly now, don't give yourself any of that, "Rah! Rah! Never say die" crap and soul search for a minute. Is this what you were really meant to do? That's what I did with regards to my music career... and the answer was no. I realized that if I was going to 'make it' that I would have. I will always sing and play my instruments, and I will die if at least one of my kids doesn't want to join the band in school, but as far as who I truly am, the answer isn't meant to be 'singer'.

But this is all fine, because if I hadn't quit the music industry, I may never have found the calling to write, and I can truly tell you that I am a writer. I see myself writing for the rest of my life. I loved--and still love-- music, but the way I feel about my writing is just... well, different. I can't describe it, but I know that it's right. That is what I believe happens when you find what you are meant for. But I never would have gotten here without quitting first.

Please don't take this all the wrong way. I am not telling you to quit writing if you haven't yet succeeded, or to quit the job you hate (unless you can afford to do so, in which case more power to you), nor am I saying 'it will never happen for you, so just give up'--not at all. What I am saying, is don't get so stuck on one thing, that you miss out on all the other things that may be better suited for you. Being focused and driven is great, as long as you don't have blinders on. This idea of learning to quit can encompass anything, from (just an example here) quitting writing all together, to simply quitting on a book, only to move on to your next one. Quitting something that you have tried your best at is not failure; it's growth. A person who has failed more than you is a person who has tried more things than you. Don't be the person who misses out on hundreds of wonderful experiences in pursuit of one. When I was researching this idea I came across a quote from author Julianna Baggott who words it perfectly:

"Sometimes you shouldn’t stick it out. You should give up. You should say die – so some other part of you can come alive."

Things writers say that I just don't understand...

I'll be back later with a normal, less-ranty post, but I had to get this one off my chest...

I am getting so tired of the over-dramatic, hyper-romanticized 'If I couldn't write I would die', 'Writing is like breathing for me', 'I don't write because I want to, I write because I have to', and the like. They are all over the online writing community, and I mean, come on... melodramatic much?

Don't get me wrong, I am very passionate about my writing. You have to be, or odds are, what you write won't be any good. I love what I do, and am truly blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love.

But come on... you'd die


Sunday, June 19

We Love You Guys!

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads who write, and all the Dads who make writing possible for Mom!

Love you guys!

Friday, June 17

Inspiration Friday!

I was looking through some writing quotes the other day, and got a fun idea. There are so many great quotes about writing, from everyone from Stephen King, to T.S. Elliott, to Albert Einstein. Some are funny, some are serious, but all are totally appropriate in one way or another. Combine that with the fact that--statistically speaking--Friday is the day in which the largest number of query letters/submissions get rejected by agents(stat from Writer's Digest online), and you have the perfect recipe for my all new Inspiration Friday! Every Friday morning from now on, I will post a few writing quotes to help inspire you to get through the rejection fest that may be coming, and into the weekend with a smile!

So, without further ado, here are our quotes for the week!

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.
~ Peter de Vries

Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.
~ Richard Curtis

Imagination is more important than knowledge. 
~ Albert Einstein

Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book. 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats. 
~ Howard Aiken

I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk
~ Stephen King

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. 
~ Jack London

Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.
~ Anonymous

Thursday, June 16

New Digs!

Did some re-decorating today, what do you think? Cute, right?

The font and colors are great, and I have to say, I am in love with cartoon me! :-)

Be back tomorrow with the start of a fun, all new, posting tradition... Inspiration Friday! (Writing inspiration, not religious.) I'll explain tomorrow, see you then!

Wednesday, June 15

Sitting on Vampires

I've decided to share a secret with all of you. A secret of fame, fortune, and success as a YA Paranormal author(if in fact that is what you are aspiring to be). Since I am not now, not do I ever plan to be a paranormal writer, I feel it is my duty to share my insight with those who can make the most of it.

Allow me to give you a little bit of back story first. There have been a lot of people in the querying community who are getting really upset lately because their manuscripts are being turned down by agent's and editors, solely because one of the main characters is a vampire. These writers go on and on about how unfair that is, and how it shouldn't matter, etc, etc. Frustrating as it might be, the sad fact is, it does matter. Readers are tired of vampires, so editors aren't buying vampires, so agents aren't signing vampires.(Books about vampires that is.)  As writers, we are all subject to the market, and right now, the vampire market is all dried up.

There you have it, that's my secret revelation. Use it well.

What? You didn't catch it?

You missed the two key words?

...right now...

*ahem* Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if it pleases your Honor, I would bring up the case of L. J. Smith. In 1991, J. L. Smith releases the first book in The Vampire Diaries series and it is an instant hit. Vampire books start popping up all over the place and that, plus the success of her other vampire series, Night World, 
ushers in a wave of vampire/paranormal/Gothic popularity in the teen book market. This wave in the 90's  leaned more towards the creepy-horror feel, helping already well known authors to really shine, R. L. Stine(Fear Street series and Goosebumps series, among others), Christopher Pike, and Mary Downing Hahn to name a few. (I was only in grade school at this point and reading The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and the Box Car Children. No scary stuff for me, though I did read the occasional Goosebumps book.) The wave takes the teen literary world through the early and mid nineties, beginning to taper off until about1998 when Harry Potter begins to take over.

Years go by, and we reach 2003. During this year, Stephanie Meyer queries a book called Twilight to 15 agents, to be rejected by 14 of them. (I'd hate to be those folks right now...) The one agent who believed in the book enough to sign it, sold it at an 8 house auction in November 2003. Two years later, Twilight hits shelves on October 5th, 2005 and the wave begins anew, peaking in 2008-2009. The only real difference is that is time, the wave takes us less down the path of scary-gothic, and more towards angsty teen romance.

Moral of the story, if you have a great YA vampire novel... sit on it.

The wave will be ripe for rebirth in about 10-15 years, and that's when we'll say; In 2025, (insert your name here) published his/her vampire YA novel, (insert you title here), which started an international craze!

It will happen again folks, I promise. And yes, it will start with vampires; always has, always will. You just have to wait for it.

Sunday, June 12

Life is short, stop reading!

I have been super busy the past few days and haven't had much time to post, but I had to throw out this little tidbit I have been thinking about since my book club meeting last Thursday...

So often I hear:
"I hated the book, but I had to finish it because I can never leave a book unfinished."


Of all the things that drive me nuts when I read a book review, or ask someone about a book they didn't like, that has to be one of the worst. And it happens all the time! Why do people have this obsession with finishing books? If you like it--great. Even if it's just okay, but you care enough to see what happens--fine. But to force yourself to read the entirety of a book that you hate from beginning to end, makes no sense to me. Furthermore, the people who do this, do it all the time! 

They say - "But I have to know what happenes..."

I say - "Read the last chapter."

They say - "But I spent money on this book, and should at least finish it..."

I say - "So, let me get this right, not only have you already wasted money on a book you hate, but now you also want to waste your time in finishing said book?..."

They say - "It will drive me crazy not to finish..."

I say - "This will be a useful lesson for you. Quitting can be a good thing. Go find yourself a good book to get lost in and I promise, you will forget all about it."

I mean seriously people, how much of your lives have you wasted reading material you can't stand, just for the sake of saying you've done it?! How many hours of time will you never see and again and have only horrible characters and boring plot lines to show for it?

Life is short, stop reading!

Sunday, June 5

Real writers take a stand!

This may end up being more of a rant than a post, but I just can't take any more crap about what a 'real writer' should and shouldn't do!

A real writer writes.

That's it.

They arrange words for others to read.


I am constantly hearing people talk about what you should do if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, like have a designated writing space in your house for writing, or joining all the websites and forums for writers, or keeping a journal or notebook with you at all times, or writing at least something everyday, etc, etc. What's worse, is when I hear aspiring authors talk about feeling bad or unworthy of the title 'writer' when they can meet the criteria set by these so called experts(most of whom are unpublished by the way, so it's really like the blind leading the blind...) And worse, is when people call themselves writers when all they do is conform to all the criteria--ie. they have a great writing desk set up with how to books, and read pens and journals, and belong to all the forums and comment regularly offering advice that hey don't really have to give--but haven't written anything!

So, I say to hell with the expectations and the stereotypes. I am taking a stand.

Hello, my name is Marian Lee Vere, and I am a writer.

I have written two books, one that will more than likely never see the light of day, and the other is currently under representation.

I do not write every day, sometimes I don't even write every week, but I do think about my stories all the time.

This is my spot on the couch. It is where every word, every edit, every query, and every book has been written--other than two trips to Panera when I had a deadline to meet.

This is my oldest daughter Brianna, and this is what she did through almost the entirety of my last book; stood at my leg and tried to add her own dialog. I was forever moving her away, locking her in the dinning room, and deleting 'mmmmkkkkkkkkkkklkkkkkkkkkkl's, 'zzzzzzzzzxxxxxZZZZZZZZZZAzzzzzzzzzz's, and the like, from my chapters.

I do not follow eight thousand writer blogs, I follow the ones I like, and a lot of them aren't about writing at all. Nor do I fill the writing forums with advice, or commentary. I'll of course help where I can, but I don't yet have a ton to offer. Besides, if I have time to stalk forums, then I have time to work on my next project or at the very least to do some dishes.

Yes, I have an agent, but I was a writer before that. Being signed does not define me as a writer, nor did being unsigned.

My book may not get picked up. I will be sad, and I may not be an author, but I will still be a writer.

Writing doesn't define me, rather I define writing--or at least what writing is for me--which is what I believe a 'real writer' should do.

Things writers say that I just don't understand...

(This is actually a re-post from two days ago. Some of you saw it before it magically disappeared for some reason. There was only one comment, and I will copy it from my email and repost - sorry about that AliceELoste)

My hubby's friend is a runner and on his blog he does something every once in a while called 'Things runners say that I just don't understand.' I love it and decided to do my own version here. I chose this first one after being at the library yesterday and sitting in on one of their writing classes. Basically, it ended up being 45 minutes of aspiring authors going on and on about why their main characters were so awesome, and why they wish they were real people, etc, etc. It was about as bad as listening to a bunch of people fight over whose grandma makes the best apple pie--everyone thinks their grandmas is best, and nothing anyone can say will change that, so why bother trying?

So, my first installment of 'Things writers say that I just don't understand' is...

Writer: "I absolutely love my main character!"

My reply: Well... I should hope so. Not only is this a person completely of your own imagination thus can be anything you want them to be, but he/she is also the person you have chosen to tell the story you are working so hard to write. Show me a writer who doesn't like their main character, and I'll show you a writer who is writing a story they shouldn't be writing.

Wednesday, June 1

Writing is like...

Yay! This is fun! Angela V. Cook of The Starving Novelist tagged me into this meme called 'Writing is like...' Basically you create a metaphor for writing, then tag three others to join in via their blogs. Yay!

This one is actually easy for me as I immediately thought of the other thing that is occupying my time lately: running. Now let me start out by saying I am not a runner. I do not run for fun, I basically run so I can eat more. I am also not fast, nor can I go far. The one thing that is fun about running however, and I think any runner can agree to this, are the races. I have done two races so far - well really one race that I have done twice - The Disney Princess Half Marathon. Now, those of you who don't run, or maybe even some of you who do, might be saying, "Wow, half marathon?!" Yeah, considering I didn't train either time, and finished just at the required pace of 16 minutes per mile, walked the majority of it, and spent the next few days practically couch ridden, it's really not that impressive. However, I think that races are the perfect metaphor for writing a novel.

Allow me to explain...

Writing is like... running a marathon.(or the Disney Princess Half Marathon as the case may be)

You start out at the Race Expo, where there are hundreds of people, all excited for what's to come. You pick up your bib and goody bag, check out the booths, and buy t-shirts and memorabilia. You walk around with the race-bug and think, "This is so great, why didn't I do this years ago?" As writers this is the beginning of a new story. You just got the inspiration, and you have more excitement and energy than you know what to do with, but instead of t-shirts and goodies, you buy note books, pens, and other writing supplies. Cuz, you know, what else is going to make us feel ligit?

The next day, it's the morning of the race. You get up at four to be at the start line by 5:30, but the time doesn't matter as you are ready to get started. As you get to the race site, you see everyone else there having a great time, laughing, excited, and ready to go. There are people everywhere, some look like they are in great shape and can run circles around you, others are maybe not so in shape, and mean as it is you actually are happy to see them, as it make you feel just a little better about yourself. (Come on we all do it.) This is the writer in the planning phase: you have tons of ideas flying at you from every direction, some good, some not so good, but in the end you just can't wait to get started on that first chapter.

You get to your start corral near the start line, practically jumping up and down waiting for the gun to go off. Finally, the count down begins(you've put the kids to bed), the gun sounds(bust out all your notes), the fireworks go off(you fire up the computer), and you are off and running(writing).

You pass over the start line barely seeing it, adrenaline pumping and heart pounding. You look to the sides and see all the fans yelling and cheering you on and you think, "This isn't bad at all, I'll be done in no time!" You are pounding on, feet flying, never breaking stride(ideas flowing and dialog pouring like water). But then after a while, you start to look around and realize that the fans are gone, and won't be back until you hit the Magic Kindom spectator area later on, and it's kind of dark, and there is really nothing to look at, and you starting to get winded(plot holes, awkward or missing dialog that you're not sure how to fix, and characters that aren't quite panning out the way you thought they would).

More time passes and you are really getting tired. Your feet are starting to blister, your legs are getting tight, and you realize you should have eaten more this morning(Major plot hole that you can't seem to patch up, writer's block, and issues arising from insufficient planning). People start to pass you and you want to trip them out of frustration(not that I would ever do that, but come on you've thought about it). Your exhausted, your feet(fingers) are screaming at you to stop, but you can't stop because you are almost there. Then finally, you look up and see that blessed sign glowing in the distance like a beacon. You have made it. You pick up the pace and hold your head high as you finally pass the sign marking the end of mile(chapter)...


SOMEHOW you carry on though the next 12.1 miles.

SOMEHOW you manage to push through the headaches, backaches, blisters, pulled muscles, sunburn, dehydration, and fatigue.

SOMEHOW you make it to the finish line and get your medal, and for a moment you are happy. Happy you finished. Happy to know you really can do it. But more than anything swearing up and down that you will never do it again.

Yet oddly enough, less than an hour later on the drive home, you hear a voice that sounds suspiciously like your own saying, "Next year will be better..."

Ashley Nixon
Ashley Graham
Brandy Shockley

You're up!