Saturday, February 18, 2012
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I know as writers, we have "thick skin", but sometimes I wonder how thick our skin really is? Can we truly say we don't get a moment of self doubt (if not worse) when we get a rejection slip? A CP is supposed to be the next best thing we have to an editor, so why don't we always take their word as gospel truth?
There are two kinds of relationship you can have with a CP
Uber Professional - Here you are guided by rules, monthly or weekly meetings. The advantage here is you are more productive and structured as a writer.
Uber buddies - Mostly anything goes, but you still get the job done. This is where I fall into. I dont have that 'the sky is falling' attitude in life, so it is very difficult for me to apply rules to something I consider fun and joy.
Somewhere in between - I bet most people fall in this category, it actually makes the most sense to me.
Now here is my argument for why being uber buddies with my CP works for me. It is easier to take criticism from a friend than anybody else. If I do a crit for anyone I find myself apologizing profusedly the first time in case I come across as condescending.
I can actually be snarky in my crit and she would know I am just kidding. She knows my weaknesses, and better yet we chat almost everyday. It's like we were made for each other in literary heaven.
Enough about me tho' what kind of CP works best for you. As usual, I always want to know what it's like on the other side.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Punctuation Update: I am now reading Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss (It's a really fun book, I'll tell you about it later.)
Last year I won 2 Miranda Dickinson Books from Kath Eastman's blog. I also won her a copy of her cd, because yes she is a talented singer as well. The funny thing is I have to play it every day because grabby toddler likes to dance to it. The first time I played it, he was ill but he still got up to dance. Every day he adds a new routine to his dance, so we are pretty much a Miranda Dickinson dancing family now.
Now let's talk about The Proposal. It is not a new movie, but it's one every romantic writer should watch. If nothing else it's got La Reynolds being vulnerable *le sigh*. It is also about an editor (Sandra Bullock), and that is my excuse for having watched it more than 20 times till date. It's got great romance, chemistry and it is about the publishing world (sort of). The chemistry between the two of them is what I look for in my characters. I just can't describe it, but it was strong yet understated, and I always cry at the end.
Now let's move on to Angus, thongs and perfect snogging. If you have not seen this movie, you should, it is so funny and will take you back to those days. Remember when you were fifteen and the most important thing was getting that guy to notice you? Well that is what it's about and it does not hurt that the sex-god (Aaron Johnson) really is a sex god(evil blogger is not letting me do pictures).
Love at that age seemed so all encompassing – we definitely had no check list or sensible signals to watch out for. I'll tell you about my obsession with Gurindher Chadha movies another day.
The best thing is; I tell myself I watch these movies over and over again for book research. I love my job.
Monday, March 28, 2011
So back to my story, my first day back in the saddle I was on her blog and guess what I saw? She is starting a Proof reading/editing business and she is (maybe was) giving out free samples of her work. Since nothing in my life ever happens in small measures I emailed her begging for a freebie. At the same time she saw my help! I suck at punctuation blog post, et voila! I got 20 pages out of my manuscript done for free in one weekend (you should see the red marks. She was thorough but pleasant about it.)
She told me I have a comma splice. Do you know what a comma splice is? Neither did I. So I looked it up and it basically means I put commas in places I should have full stops (periods) or semi colons. For more info on that see her here.
The good thing is I am one step closer to my dream. I am learning from her edits and she even does plot stuff too. So while I go off to get head shots (lame joke) I leave you with Missed Periods, even if all you do is read her blog you would have learnt something new today.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Remember how I said I will be going through my punctuation flubbles with you? Well let me lay one on you.
Has anyone ever seen or heard Miley Cyrus(Hannah Montana)talk? No?
Okay let me describe it for you, she basically talks and talks till she runs out of breath, then she continues again. Now you realize she is a talented* singer, and is trained to hold her breath longer than the average human. So yes she does talk in very long, rambling sentences.
Is today bash an 18yr old Millionaire day? No, it's my first step in becoming a punctuation guru (I can do it).
I write like Miley Cyrus talks. I can write a paragraph or a conversation of ten lines or even more without a comma. When my computer green lines me then I put a comma or a semi colon.
Why do I do this? When I'm writing I get so excited the words rush to my mind and I become a rambling thinker. Periods only show up at the end of my chapters or scene changes. I tell myself I'll fix this during edits.
Then comes the time to edit and I get so excited I have finished a project, I can't wait to send it out. Those are my lame excuses.
The truth is I distinctly remember being bored to tears when someone taught punctuation, so this is really my fault.
The Period is your friend. Having periods does not mean the sentences will sound stilted. Independent phrases can have their own periods and next blog post we'll talk about commas or maybe something fun like my recent addiction to Degrassi (someone help me! I can't be addicted to Degrassi).
Xoxo and TGIF
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I finished a baby I worked really hard on (I plotted). After two bouts of critiquing and heavy rehauling, I sent my top aces baby to Embrace Books.
Now here comes the good part I got feedback in an hour, actually it was 52 minutes – it took me 8 minutes to face my fear of rejection and open it.
I wish I could paste the email for you all to see. The editor – Jane Holland read it and liked, she thinks my writing is edgy, ME!
If you really want to know why I am so overwhelmed, go to her website and read her resume, she is all that and then some more.
Anyways she did point out something I knew I sucked at – Punctuation and Sentence Structure. When I saw that, I did a face-palm because I knew that was my weakness and I worked really hard on it.
Now this is how amazing she is, she went ahead to give me examples of what I did wrong and how I could fix them. I was really humbled by her email.
So guess what I am doing now? I have bought three no, four books The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, Eats, Leaves and Shoots by Lynne Truss, Woe is I by Cant remember the author's name and What a Westmoreland wants by Brenda Jackson.
I am hoping to learn from these books; Jane said I could study how other authors did it too so I am just going to be soaking up stuff. My amazing CP is reading Strunk and White with me. She is too amazing for words and is explaining stuff to me. Some awesome people from our blogging community have also offered to do some punctuation and sentence structure crits for me. I am so close to realizing my dream that I am taking all and any help I can get.
I also will share what I learn in my books in my blog posts in case there is someone out there who can learn something through me.
What have I learned from all of this? It is not enough to have talent or book ideas. You also have to work hard to hone your craft if you intend to make a career out of this. Watch out for the part two of my story, I am determined to get "the call" this year.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Joanna: How did you discover Embrace books? and what made you think they would be perfect for you?
Joanna: You are a self acclaimed writing class junkie, what are some of the best ones you've attended?
Joanna: Ibiza, St Tropez or backpacking in Thailand; were would you rather vacation?
Joanna: For your last book promo you gave away Swarovski Crystals, do you have any interesting giveaways coming up on your blog?
Born into a family of voracious readers and consumed by the family affliction, it seemed the natural next step was to write. I started in school, mentally writing poetry while running around the hockey pitch. Nowadays, I keep my running to a minimum, and write instead. I write in two different genres, mystery and romance. The mystery feeds from my love of the unusual facets of life. My romance from my fascination with characters, and how they respond to each other.I live in Ireland, and when I’m not reading or writing, am usually to be found in traffic, driving ‘Mum’s taxi.’
My blog is at www.sallyclements.blogspot.com
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Independent, lustful ladies find pleasure and intrigue with more than one man, from a scandalous vacation in Australia, to a forced seduction at a cabin in the woods. A witch needs to break a shameful spell, and an older woman slakes her sexual needs with two younger men. Cougars purr with unrequited desire and werewolves compete for the love of their mate. Satisfaction is just a sigh away as a surgeon bends the rules for her patient, and an over-stressed boss finds more than a little peace with secret admirers.
Find out what wicked delights await you with Indecent Encounters.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Last year in my blogging heydays the lovely Carolyn Abiad was nice enough to have me as a guest on her blog and the post goes live today. She is having us international folk talk about how our host - land affects our writing, hop on over to read about how Corsica did not disappoint my writerly expectations.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Joanna: Okay you strike me as the shy or withdrawn type so lets start off with a nice secret from you
Sondrae: A secret... Hmmm. I guess I'd go with the fact that I am a total geek. I love Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica, and World of Warcraft. In fact, I love Star Wars so much that when I was in middle school, I had a picture of Mark Hamill in my room right next to my bed. ... I can't believe I just admitted that.
(you framed it? I dont blame you)
Joanna: You have two books coming out this year how surreal does that feel right now?
Sondrae: Very surreal! Every now and then when I'm thinking about my book 'Arctic Winds' that came out January 17th, I break out in giggles.
Joanna: What made you choose Lyrical Press as the right home for your babies?
Sondrae: I researched a lot of different publishing houses before finally submitting to Lyrical. It wasn't the first place I subbed to but I'm actually quite grateful the first one turned me down. Lyrical has been great to work with. I adore the cover they've created for the book, love my editor, and generally feel they've done a fantastic job.
Joanna: Since you write paranormal romance(and i love my paras), I am kinda intrigued what do you do for book research?
Sondrae: The most important research I do is about the animals my characters shift into, especially some of the more unique ones. Samantha, my heroine in 'Arctic Winds', is an arctic fox so I had to know what they ate, how they differed from other foxes and stuff like that. Gwen, the heroine in my second book 'Chasing Paradise', is an otter shifter. There's one scene in particular when Gwen is hunting for fish. I had to research how she would hunt and also what kind of fish she would catch based on where she was. And of course there's the small details that come up while I'm writing that I have to research for accuracy. What the house would look like where they live, weather and those kinds of things.
Joanna: Cookies, wine, books or chocolate?
Sondrae: Ooo, I can't have all four? I guess if I had to order them it would be books then wine. Chocolate and cookies are fighting for third....not sure who would win. I guess it depends on what kind of cookies.
(if u or KarenG baked them they might be #1 on my list)
Joanna: How and where do you get inspiration for your stories?
Sondrae: Everywhere. I'll be walking down the street on my way to work and I'll see something or hear something and BOOM a story idea will pop into my head. Usually I write down a few details and then put it aside to let it simmer so I can come back to it later.
I'm still staring at your pretty picture so i guess you can tell us about your amazing new baby
Nothing will stop a wolf once he's found his mate....
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
On a lighter note tho' I got the inspiration for this blog post yesterday. here we go
I am a control Freak, I have not learnt how to let my muse inspire me, and I definitely don't let my characters lead the way even tho' I am el Pantser Supremo.
In my current WIP my hero is Latino and yes I was inspired by Charlie Sheen and Enrique Iglesias, in a bid to make him into a character I really liked I was going to make him talk like George Lopez and use his popular catch phrases like es ta loca? or que la (pardon my spelling) but my hero staunchly refused to speak a word of spanish, everytime I went down that route, my brain froze up.
I eventually let him be and just wrote whatever et voila my latino hero showed me himself, he was raised in America, in the social security system and adopted by numerous families; the only time he speaks spanish is when he is in bed with his lady love and no he does not say te quiero or te amo he just calls her chica - if he ever has kids with her he would totally call their son mijo.
I like that! am cool with that! I know him inside out and I am pleased to be working with him since he looks like my longterm crush - Enrique Iglesias; but even better he so tattles on the heroine, he told me she is always on the defensive and she is disgusted by abused women- she thinks they are weak (this is a big flaw we might not be able to get over, but he is working on her).
Here is my advice for letting your characters do their own talking and not be influenced by your idea of who you think they are
|oh la la!|
- When the words are not flowing easily to your fingertips that could be an indicator that you need to switch POVs or are not being true to your characters
- It does not hurt to stare at images of Enrique Iglesias or Johnny Depp for a long time
- The minute something unplanned for comes up, go with the flow and then take some time out to see how that could mesh with your preconceived ideas or original storyline.
- Learn to fall in love with your characters, that way you would still be able to write them in a good light when they throw you a curve ball.
- Maybe because my deadlines are self imposed, I don't write like my stories have to be published so if my true to himself hero starts to look highly unpopular I chalk it down as a writing exercise and move on.
- don't forget if all else fails go back and repeat #2 over and over again, it has been tried tested and true.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Some of these questions are from you, while the rest was concocted by my devious mind. Feel free to check the blog and their stunning covers out.
- N.R. Williams - I would like to know from Astraea Press what form of publishing they are considering? Traditional hard/paperback copies, e-books or audio books? One or all three?
- the1940mysterywriter - how do you intend to market your ebooks and your writers? Granted that marketing budgets are endangered species throughout publishing, but do you have a plan for overcoming that ongoing problem and assisting their writers' sales figures?
- Joanna - How many books a month should we expect to come out of Astraea Press?
- Joanna - How do you maintain the balance between professionalism and making the authors feel like part of the Astraea family?
- Joanna - Do you have any cool contests or pitches coming up?
- Joanna - What would you say to people who still do not believe in ePublishing?
- Joanna - Apart for explicit scenes, what else would be a major turn off for editors at Astraea Press?
Thursday, January 13, 2011
That aside let me share my joy with you - its not about publication so you can keep the pompoms away - for now (but still save them specially for me, cos something's gotta give eventually)
I was walking around in Houston and found myself in walmart, i went in for some french toast but came out with 5 books instead - how did that happen? I think I went blank till I got back in the car and hugged my books like a dolt. I have missed walking into a store and just indulging in books, my in laws looked at me with concern but I did not care. These are books, I have not seen books in english just sitting and waiting to be sold in a long time so excuse my indulgence.
To make things even better I won 2 Miranda Dickinson Books from Kath at the Nut Press, and a you can have whatever book you like from Raquel Henry and an ebook from lily Harlem - all of these people shall be properly thanked next week.
let me get back to loving my books and squeeze a little writing time somewhere in between too.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
By the way, lest i forget yesterday's story was pretty much Fact I left out most of the details tho'.
I am a natural rebel, i think I have been singing Bob Marley songs since I was born and now I like Muse (see the connection?) I won't tell you about how i flunked a grade in high school just to rebel or how I dropped all languages from my curriculum or switched majors after getting the best grade in my class just to irk my poor dad.
What I would like to tell you is that I am a rebel and I know there are a lot of you like me out there (if you are still in denial its okay too). I understand that rules, guidelines and all those do's and don'ts are really helpful but I still cannot help kicking against them when I see them. (I shall leave people like Jennifer Lane to analyze this behaviour)
I really appreciate someone telling me the do's and don'ts of twitter or blogging or anything else but at the same time the rebel in me says "so what? if I don't follow your do's and don'ts will I be kicked out of your exclusive club?"
Some days i feel like yelling this is my blog - it says my name on it and I will pretty much do what i want - rules spoil all the fun right? dont tell me to put an excerpt of my work up; I don't want to be laughed into oblivion and don't tell me I have to post my blog schedule because I don't have one and I am not convinced it makes a difference.
And just to contradict myself in the folly of today's post you tell me your fave rule that is a no bender or breaker for you - here is mine. Learn the rules then break them
and I swear this is not a rant
Anytime I tell you all a personal story - feel free to use it in a book or at least get wacky ideas for your books from it; here is my story.
So yesterday I was feeling way ahead of myself and even scheduled my blog post (for a pantser that is big right?), when I woke up in the morning I chatted with the hubs online and then at 8.30ish I heard grabby toddler make some noise in his room, so I got up and went in for our usual
"say good morning to mummy"
me with a very sad face "say good morning to mummy"
"a' morning ... drink?"
I pasted my usual mummy is trying to be a morning person smile on my face and turned the door knob - nothing! hmmnn no panic but it does not take a genius to realize grabby toddler has locked himself in the room.
I walk downstairs and ask the mother in law "Mom - do you have the keys to grabby toddlers room?"
and then of course she panics but keeps it downstairs - but what I get from her rapid phone calls is she does not have the keys, so I move on to plan B (sometimes table knives make the best keys)
But yesterday the table knife failed me and grabby toddler started to get hungry, I slipped him some biscuits but he pushed them back out "DRINK!"
We soon progress down to a stage where my 2 year old is begging me to open the door, he tells me he is sorry and i should open the door - I try to explain that I am trying my best but he is in tears and cant really listen or hear me but at least i am still able to slip him a half drunk capri sun under the door.
The door knob has no screws or anything really and I have torn the fancy golden part apart but the obstinate door is still locked, I ask my son to go stay on his bed so I can break the door open with my shoulders, then the handy man arrives.
The handy man is able to cut the door down in a midst of sparks and a lot of noise (grabby toddler is deathly terrified of loud noises) when we eventually found him a lil over 2 hours later he was hiding under his duvet but you could tell he had been under the bed too - his head was covered with dust mites and lint.
He recovered fast enough to say thank you to the handy man - a man nice enough who refused to get paid because he says my mother in law reminds him of his mother and he could never make his mother pay him, my mother in law says this happens every time he comes to do some work for her.
So what do you think peeps fact or fiction and who do you identify with the most in the story?
Monday, January 10, 2011
I am hanging out at the inlaws till the hubs gets back from this new round of travelling, problem is there are so many kids running up and down i cannot even hear myself think on the plus side tho' grabby toddler gets to hang out with his cousins and i can take him to childrens shows, the library and watch yo gabba gabba.
Okay so back to my post of the day Chances are .....
as helpful as the blogging community might be there might still be scammers amongst us (did I just hear you say duh? u are such a smart cookie)
There are loads of services being offered to help us writers online, and I won't really go into great detail about those services, but please please look before you leap.
Do your research! talk to your bloggy friends about their experiences, find out about their qualifications, ask them a billion questions and best of all follow your instinct.
Good Luck me hearties and if all else fails ask Writers Beware.
am off to send out a million batches of questions to some amazing folks, tomorrow I'll talk about google alert - it has me intrigued.
Friday, January 7, 2011
So instead I have decided to tell you a few interesting things and then let you all grill me instead.
NancyN.R Williams book is out "The treasures of Carmelidrium" I've got a feeling about this book and cant wait to bring her to the interrogation room.
- I think Nicole MacDonald's book "The Arrival" is out too (someone correct me if I'm wrong)
- I also did some pretty bold things in 2010 regarding the interrogation room that still has me grinning (one of them involves Elana Johnson)
- Lastly I got the owner of a new small press to come into the interrogation room; its called Astraea Press and they put a new spin on their books - no erotica! you'll have to visit their website to find out more. Do you have any questions you would like me to ask? you know, the kind that is never on the FAQ page?
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Just in case you have been wondering what this blogger has been up to - I have been remembering what it feels like to have family around, having a 16 hour road trip with a toddler and a bad internet connection.
To start off my new year I am guest blogging today at Melinda Pierce Blog she has a new series called Warrior Wednesdays - Tales from the unpubbed, I seriously hope by the end of this year i will not be eligible for this series anymore. So please check out my battle scars here or here either ways check me out and I shall be all over your blogs in a minute too.
It feels good to be back.
Friday, December 17, 2010
The most magical part of Christmas is when I have fed my family into a food coma - the kid is passed out in bed too pooped to play night games, the hubs is slumped in front of a journal or the TV and I *grins* have my cuppa hot chocolate laced with cinnamon and caramel, I curl up in my fave chair by the fireplace and have a good romance at Christmastime story to read under the afghan.
No other genre would work,it has to be romance, because if you have ever been in love you will know catching a killer or an alien does not produce the same mushy feeling you get from falling in love - so romance it is
I have compiled a list of Christmas stories out this year designed to cater to as wide a taste as possible. Happy Reading and have a very Merry Christmas
Call Me Mrs. Miracle - Debbie Macomber
Mistletoe and the Lost Stiletto - Liz Fielding
First Impressions - Nora Roberts (2008 release, but its my list harrumph)
The MacGregor Brides - Nora Roberts
A Fairytale Christmas - Barbra Wallace and Susan Meier
Naughty can be Nice - Cynthia Selwyn
Claiming Christmas - Naima Simone
All She Wants for Christmas - Jaci Burton
Holiday Sparks - Shannon Stacey
His for the Holidays - Josh Lanyon
A Cinderella Christmas - Stacy Dawn
A Gift Beyond All Measure - Anna Kathryn Lanier
Tales From Christmas Town - Wild Rose Press Authors
Mistletoe Rules - Stacy Joy Netzel
Melting Frost - Kelly Daniels
And of Course our Five Oaks Girls
Snowy Encounters - Clarissa Yip
Smitten - Silke Juppenlatz
Midwinter Magic- Nina Croft
Holiday Headlines - RM Gilbert
I am still a newbie to the world of self publishing so I honestly did not know where to go to look for Xmas stories from my self pubbed authors. Lastly all my lovely authors if you do have a Christmas story out or a fave story you like to read at Xmas time leave it in the comments and I will update this list.
I shan't be blogging much all of next week, so this list will be up for most of next week and the next time you hear from me I might be in Houston with the in-laws.
Do have a wonderful Christmas
with lots of love
Joanna St James
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Can you tell am awfully chirpy this morning?
I have had a week or more of bad news rolling in, you know how everything just seems to pile up on top of you when you are down? Well am over it now and the writer in me survived too, I am ready to start blog stalking too.
I could not take myself to a Spa or even a Cafe for some solitude, because lets face it when you have a child or even a pet they hardly understand the words "Mummy needs to take a time out now". So what I did was just give in and let my brain take a vacation (Sad I know), every night I made sure I wrote 50 words - 50 words that were sometimes spread over 2 WIPs, 50 words my mind told me was the worst thing ever written - a monkey with a typewriter could do a better job, but I still wrote something every night.
I had a rewrite for a chapter that I desperately wanted to send to the Harlequin fast track thingie but I just could not bring myself to do it. Now you know that thing inside every writer that just does not make you give up? it yelled at me yesterday. So after getting the toddler fed, cleaned and watered I cranked out 17 new pages in addition to my original one page, cranked out another 2 paged synopsis and sent it off to Harlequin with just 4 minutes to spare.
For once I did not feel like it was crap (it could still be to the editors) but the fact is - I DID IT! and I feel proud of myself, I got my mojo back and if you are in the dumps (blame the weather) you can get out of it too okay? just grab yourself a cup of coffee and tell yourself it will work out in the end - No Worries!