Friday, July 29

5 Things not to do at your court appearance...

1.) Do not leave your flip -flops in the car saying, "Oh, I won't need them, these shoes aren't that bad, I'm sure I'll be fine until I get back to the car," only to leave the courthouse two and a half hours later limping, cursing, and bleeding.

2.) Do not arrive an hour before your scheduled time thinking you will be the first one there and will thereby be one of the first called. You will be the first one there, however you will not be able to check in until ten minutes before your scheduled time, at which point everyone who arrived after you will rush the door forcing you to the back of the line. Then, when you are finally checked in, you discover that it didn't matter an any case, because they are calling cases in alphabetical order!

3.) Do not offer your seat on the only bench in the hall to the pregnant lady who just walked in, because she will graciously decline, and while you are up asking her if she would like the seat, some thirty something year old jerk-wad, who wears ripped jeans and a dirty baseball cap to court, will steal it for himself.

4.) Do not tell the Judge that something is "None of your business," or you will get thrown out of court and fined. (That one wasn't me.)

5.) If you are driving a car and the seat belt is cutting painfully into your neck because the seat isn't adjusted properly, do not loop the belt under your left elbow, or you will get a ticket and have to spend half your day in court. Meh.

And what happened, you ask, when the big moment rolled around and I was finally called up before the Judge? Well I'll tell you. It went like this...

Clerk: Marian Vere
I walk to the podium.
Judge: (to me)Ms. Vere, this is a seat belt charge. (to the prosecutor)Any priors?
Prosecutor: No.
Judge: Wear your seat belt. Charges dismissed.
I leave.


Wednesday, July 27

When you are a best-selling author...

Back online! (again...) After the crazy storms of the past weekend, my entire street has been without internet now for almost three days, but we are back up! Why it always seems they have to create problems to fix problems is beyond me, but that's a whole different matter...

So, nothing major on my mind today, but I do have a question for all my lovely readers. Most of you are as-of-yet unpublished writers, and I know I am not the only on who sits on the couch and dreams of all the great things I am going to do/buy when I become a best-selling author. Come on, we all do it. We all picture ourselves on the best sellers list, seeing a line out the door at our book signings, speaking and sitting on panels at writers conferences, and so on. Don't be ashamed, hell, what else do we have to keep us going if not our dreams--pie in the sky or otherwise. So my question to you is just that--what will you do with all your money? Now, yes, we are all going to pay off debt, send the kids to college, etc, etc, but what I mean is the fun stuff. The sort of stuff you think about at night before you fall asleep? Here, I'll give you mine:

  • I want to build us a big house where I can have an office/library where built-in bookshelves will be a must. Not too big mind you--not a full out mansion--I would have no idea what to do with all that space. Big, but not intimidating. It will also have an awesome kitchen where I can bake and cook without running out of counter space five minutes in. My hubby want's a running track going around the perimeter of the basement, but we'll see.
  • I will finally buy some make-up that isn't super cheap. You know the kind, the stuff that is actually embarrassing to pay for because it's the stuff that middle schoolers wear (I don't buy the middle school colors, mind you, just the brands), but it's cheap and does the job.
  • I will buy my husband a convertible. He had to get rid of the one he had just after we were married for something more practical, and I've always felt bad about that.
  • I will finally buy my underwear from Victoria's Secret, and get rid of the worn out, thread-bare, hope-to-God-I-never-have-an-accident-and-get-caught-dead-or-other-wise-in-these-things undies that currently fill that particular drawer in my dresser. (Side note: the panty thieving goat is more than welcome to visit my house anytime. I'll even leave the window open for him. Fair warning to him, it'll probably scare him straight!)
  • I will throw an awesome Christmas party every year for family and friends. The kind of Christmas party you see on TV and always want to go to, but never do because no one you know ever throws them.
  • Last, Hubby and I will renew our vows at Disney World (which is where we were married the first time), and this time we will fly all out guests down and pay for their rooms so they can enjoy without it costing them anything.
So there it is! Now it's your turn. Castle by the sea? Harley Davidson? House in the Hamptons? Don't be shy, let's hear them!

Friday, July 22

Inspiration Friday!

After a short hiatus (sorry), Inspiration Friday is back...

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed. 
~ Ray Bradbury

I don't think it is possible to give tips for finding one's voice; it's one of those things for which there aren't really any tricks or shortcuts, or even any advice that necessarily translates from writer to writer. All I can tell you is to write as much as possible. 
~ Poppy Z. Brite

I got to thinking about the point in every freelancer's life where he has to decide whether he wants to A, have a social life, and do art in his spare time, or B, do art, and have a social life in his spare time. It has always seemed to me that if you have any hope of making a living as an artist  writer, musician, whatever  you absolutely must learn to tell people to leave you alone, and to mean it, and to eject them from your life if they don't respect that. This is necessary not because your job is more important than anyone else's  it isn't  but because a great many people will think of you as not having a job. 'Oh, how wonderful  you can work whenever you want to!' Well, yes, to a point, but generally 'whenever you want to' had better be most of the time, or else you won't have a roof over your head. 
~ Poppy Z. Brite

I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this.
~ Cormac McCarthy

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. 
~ Jules Renard

Writers seldom write the things they think. They simply write the things they think other folks think they think. 
~ Elbert Hubbard

There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth publishing, to find honest men to publish it - and to get sensible men to read it.
~ Charles Caleb Cotton

One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.
~ Stephen King

There is probably no hell for authors in the next world - they suffer so much from critics and publishers in this.
~ C. N. Bovee

Wednesday, July 20

Stand up and celebrate!

Self doubt, rejection, dejection, depression, repeat...

They happen to us all, and it's so easy to get lost in the negative when there seems to be so much of it; naysayers everywhere you turn, and rejection by the truckload. Worst of all, is there is no end in sight. The majority of the queries you send out get rejected, of the few that didn't, the majority of those submissions get rejected. Then you finally get an agent and the start to submit your work to publishers and the publishers reject you. Then you finally get a publisher and your book comes out only to be met by bad reviews and harsh critics... and it goes on and on. Unfortunately, that's the name of the game.

We spend so much time focusing on the goal that is still out of reach, that we forget about all the goals and milestones we have already reached. So my goal for this week--as I have fallen into the confidence crushing loop lately--is to celebrate everything I have already accomplished, and I encourage you to join me. No matter what stage of the game you are in, I promise you have loads to celebrate. For instance(not necessarily in this order):

  • Getting that great idea.
  • Having your first planning, outlining, researching, or just thinking session.
  • Picking up the pen(or laptop) and actually starting your first chapter.
  • Finishing your first chapter.
  • Overcoming that plot hurdle that for a while you couldn't see around.
  • Finishing your first draft.
  • Finishing your first round of edits.
  • Getting your first critiques back.
  • Finishing your second, third, fourth, etc. round of edits.
  • The day your ms is finally ready for submission.
  • Finishing your query letter.
  • Finishing your synopsis.
  • Your first partial request.
  • Your first full request.
  • Your first rejection with notes.
  • Your first revise and resubmit.
  • Landing an agent.
  • Your first round of editing with your agent.
  • The day your ms goes on submission.
  • The day an editor makes an offer.
  • The start of your second, third, fourth, etc. book.
  • Your first negotiation.
  • Your first auction.
  • Your first sale.
  • The day you sign your contract.
  • The day you actually see money.
  • (The list goes on, but I'll stop here for now.)
Some of you may be only part of the way up that list others of you may be past it all, and some of you will skip some of those steps altogether. However, I can promise you this, no matter where you are on the list, there are loads of people behind you, and it's only a matter of time until you work your way up.

Some of you may be saying, "Some of those are to minor, I'm not going to celebrate something that small," to which I say, "Why not?" With all the rejection we face in the business, why not take as much pleasure and celebration as we can? Think about it, if we are going to get upset after every singe little rejection of every query letter we send out,(and we all do, at least to some degree) then why not celebrate every little step that got us to that point? I say, party on brothers and sisters!

So, that is why I want you all to post your own lists here for us and join the party! Celebrate what you have accomplished and be proud! Use things from the list I have given, or add your own. Don't worry if your list is small, and don't intimidated by those with longer lists--that's not what this is about. It's about being proud of yourself, and spreading the idea of self-love to all of our writing friends out there. Also, to all my readers with blogs of their own, I am tagging all of you to make this an un-official meme. Post your lists on your own blogs and invite all your readers to do the same. Writers are notorious for celebrating each other, but when it comes to celebrating ourselves, we tend to slink in to the corner. Well not today. We are all amazing, and it's time we got the credit we deserve--yes, from the world of rejection we face head on every day--but more importantly, from ourselves!

My List:
  • Actually sitting down to write my first book.
  • Finishing the first draft of first book.
  • Starting my second book.
  • Finishing the first draft of second book.
  • Revising second book.
  • Sending second book to betas.
  • Getting my first feedback.
  • Writing my query.
  • Sending my first query.
  • Finishing the book.-- Yes, I was one of those bad writers who queried before the book was totally ready. Shame on me. Do as I say, not as I do... :)
  • Getting my first partial request.
  • Getting my first full request.
  • Getting my first offer of representation. (I actually accepted the second)
  • Starting edits with my agent.
  • Finishing edits with my agent.

Sunday, July 17

What I learned at RWA

I've been thinking about this post for a while, and I've decided that the best way to do it is simply to post all the major points that I learned while at the RWA Conference in list form. That will be the easiest way for me to write everything up without leaving anything out, and it will be much easier for you all to read without going cross eyed. :)

So, without further ado, what I learned at RWA:

You do not have to have writing anything to attend the conference. - Now yes, that should have been obvious, as many people come to learn, however I didn't realize how many beginners there would be. I mean beginner beginners. People who didn't know what Point of View was, people who didn't know what a Query Letter was, people who didn't know what the term 'genre' means, and so on. Made me feel a little better about myself.

Most people who write YA shouldn't. - YA is more than just making your characters a certain age, it is about voice. You have to have that very specific young adult voice to be successful in the genre, and most writers don't have it. A panel of 4 agents and 2 editors all agreed that 9 out of 10 YA queries/submissions they receive are from writes who should not be writing YA. They may be excellent writes, but they don't have the voice. They also said that many of those stories could very easily be changed from YA to Adult Fiction with only a few minor alterations, so really examine your work to make sure it's the best fit for you.

You can't change your voice. - Voice is a very complicated idea and a very simple idea at the same time. Here is the best way I can describe it: Imagine sitting in a room with 49 other people. A man walks in, stands in front of the group, says "Hello.", then walks out. If you were all then asked to write on sentence describing what you just saw, the outcome would be 50 different sentences even though you all saw the same thing. That's your voice. It is how you talk--how you use the English language. The words you choose and the order you put them in. You acquired your voice when you learned to speak as a toddler, and you can not change it. That's not to say you can't give each character you create a voice and personality all their own, because you can--should even--but the way you write will not change. It also has nothing to do with craft. You can always make yourself a better writer with practice and training, but learning about grammar and punctuation and formatting, and drafting, and research, and everything else you can learn about the craft of writing will not change your voice. That is why some people can write historical fiction and others can't. That is why many people can't write YA and others can write nothing but that. Some voices lend themselves to multiple genres, others don't. That is why it is important to find your voice and let it direct you--as in write what your write best--not necessarily what you want to write or wish you could write. Me for instance, I love Regency romance and would love to be able to write Regencies, but it will never happen. I don't have the voice for that, and it's not something you can fake. You can spot a face voice in a heartbeat. Make sense?

Authors don't change their website photos. - Apparently this is a dirty little industry secret, but I didn't know about it, so I'll share. Apparently, authors pick a head shot or two that they like, and stick with them... like forever. I was lucky enough to meet several authors who's work I am familiar with--and more to the point, who's websites I am familiar with. Now, I'm not going to mention anyone by name, but let's just say... I didn't see what I expected. Some were older, some *ahem* larger, and so on. One I had thought would be in her 40's and she was 83! Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with all this. If they want to keep up older pictures, so be it and more power to them, I just had no idea how common it was.

There is no such thing as the 'maybe pile'. - A lot for us like to think that when it takes a long time to hear back from an agent, that means we have been put into that agent's 'maybe' pile, as in , they are considering asking for more material. Sorry to say, there is no such thing--at least for most agents. Most agents know whether they want more from you from about the third line in a query. They do this for a living, they don't have to think about it. The only thinking they may do is at the last stage when they are deciding to represent you or not, but even then, it's not something they have to think about long. If you haven't heard back, it's because they just haven't read your query yet, or they are a no response agent. By no means is this to say that all agents work this way, but the six on the panel said that they all do and all the agent's they they know do as well.

Well, that's all the major stuff, but there were of course a ton a little things along the way too, like authors can be published by more than one house, and that most publishers these days actually prefer to sign multiple book deals, and what a Victorian woman looked like without her clothes on. (Yes, there was an entire seminar about the undergarments of a Victorian woman. It was a hoot!)

All in all, even with the drama I had in arriving and the move before and after, I can say it was a great time, and I will definitely be going back. Next year is in Anaheim and the husband is already planning his Disneyland trip. Oyi.

Wednesday, July 13


Praise and thanks be to the man named Dave from AT&T who has restored me to the land of cable and internet! :D

So we have LOADS to celebrate today--hence the name of the post. First and foremost, I want to give a super huge shout out to Bethany C, one of my faithful followers, and one of the winners of my 'First Line Contest', because last week she scored herself an agent! WOO-WHO! She is now represented by Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary Services, and I know we are all super psyched for her! Congratulations Bethany! YAY!

Next, we have my being back on line which has already been mentioned, but I am so happy that it deserves another. I have tons of TV to catch up on (is it sad that it's all Food Network?), and so many blog posts to read that there is no way I will get to them all, but that's okay. I'll do my best.

Next up is a new blog that you all should check out. My agent Carly Watters of PS Literary has started her own blog that is full of all sorts of useful stuff like what agents are looking for--and the stuff they don't really care about, how to know if you manuscript is ready for submission, publishing trends, and so on. She is at Definitely check it out!

Last but not least the giveaway! I gave you the subject and stipulations in the last post, and I will also post them on the 'Contests and Fun Stuff' page, but now lets talk about the prize. The books included int he giveaway are as follows:

The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons - Women's Fiction

Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney - YA Fantasy

Shameless by Karen Robards - Historical Romance

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah - Women's Fiction

Isolde by Rosalind Miles - Historical Romance

No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon - Paranormal Romance

Heartache Falls by Emily March - Contemporary Romance

The Werewolf Upstrairs by Ashlyn Chase - Paranormal Romance

I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell - Romantic Fantasy

Virgin by Cheryl Brooks - Erotic Science Fiction

The Heir by Grace Burrowes - Historical Romance

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook - Steam-Punk Romance

The First Love Cookie Club by Lori Wilde - Contemporary Romance

So, submit your entry in the comment section below, and include which of the books you would like if you were to bee chosen as a winner. You may select up to five. If you are a winner, I will contact you for a mailing address, so you don't need to include that. Good luck and have fun!

PS - I will still do my final RWA post, I promise I haven't forgotten. I will have that up for you by tomorrow! :)

Saturday, July 9

Checking In...

So, this is not a real post yet as I STILL don't have internet. We are however officially in our new house and if all goes well, I will be back on line this coming Tuesday.

However, right now I am in a hotel in Wisconsin because I am doing a triathlon tomorrow morning, and yay--hotel has free internet! So I basically wanted to say hi, thank you all for your well wishes, and let you know I haven't fallen off the earth.

Also, as I have a slew of new books sitting on my shelf--some that I will not read, others that I already own--from RWA, I decided to do a giveaway! After all, what's better than new books? Many are even signed by the author! I will post a list of the titles in a few days, but for now I wanted to get you thinking...

When to you get your inspiration?

Now how mind you, but when.

For instance, I come up with some of my best ideas while I am doing the dishes, driving with the music on, and running(hence the me thinking of this very idea during a triathlon weekend).

What I want is a good inspiration story. It can be anything from, "My car broke down and while I was sitting in the waiting room at the auto store I came up with a story a bout a mechanic," to "I was changing my daughter's diaper and an alien story just hit me." Anything goes!

Start thinking about you story, and I will post the list of books in a day or two, and that is where you will post all your great stories. And don't be shy, as I will be picking more than one winner!

Talk to you all soon!

Monday, July 4

Just a quickie...

Hello everyone. No I haven't forgotten about you, and I will do the larger post on the RWA Conference soon, but for now I am stuck. The day my husband and I got home form New York we had to start moving to our new house, and I have been painting, packing, and cleaning, pretty much nonstop. Also, as of yesterday, our cable service has been switched to the new place, so I have no internet.  We all went to Panera for breakfast this morning and I am squeezing this post in thanks to the free wifi at Panera.

Thanks for your understanding, and I'll be back soon!