Sunday, November 24, 2013
I saw a tweet somewhere this week where an author was contemplating the need for a beta crit (basically another set of eyes on a manuscript) or pushing through to publication without. It got me thinking about the role of patience in this crazy publishing way of life.
Before I got into seriously pursuing publication I don't think I would describe myself as a very patient person. I was more about instant gratification. If I wanted it I got it, did it, whatever.
Publishing demands a slower approach. It demands that you take the time to write a good book, that you work through plot snags, that you develop your characters and that you edit carefully, multiple times. I was very lucky to be included early on in a writing group with folks who already understood the value of honest critiques and another set of eyes on your work. That didn't stop me from rushing through things at the beginning, from posting work that wasn't in any way ready for another person to see (even for editing) and worse, I sent out work that I felt was "done" to perfection without having taken the time to properly edit and revise with a crit from an UNBIASED reader. (I stress unbiased here because I really don't count mom, dad, cousin, husband, bff or anyone close to me as an unbiased reader.)
I learned through rejection that waiting is vital. Patience really does allow for your best work to be polished and presented. I've been down a long road that beat patience into me in other ways too. It took me a full year of querying to get my first agent. Three years with my second agent to get a ms revised. I've been through a roller coaster of waiting for editors to make decisions, waiting for queries to get read, waiting, waiting, and waiting some more. Some might say that it was time wasted, and depending on the day I might agree with them. Not today though. Today I'm thinking that during all that time waiting, when it felt like I was treading water, I was working on my craft, and I was actually moving forward. I was developing my skill, my VOICE, and my ideas.
Now, there are times when patience is actually an excuse for avoiding the hard decisions. When you give it one more day or one more month because you don't want to send that email or make that call or publish that story. I've been there too...those close to me know what I'm talking about. That's patience motivated by fear. And although I think being humble and understanding your areas of need is vitally important as an author, being scared is very damaging and shouldn't be an excuse for delaying decisions. That's where your gut comes in. Where you need to listen to your gut feeling and do what needs to get done, otherwise you are wasting time.
Patience is a virtue usually, and I've learned that no matter how excited I am to get my work out there, to let everyone see what I've done, it's almost always better to take a step back, breathe deeply and let the steps unfold as they should.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
When my cousin said, "go by a lottery ticket" after two amazingly awesome book related things happened, I was like, no way...I'm not that lucky...and then....
I got another contract from Samhain!!!
This time it's for my very first FULL length novel! That's right, with a release date of January 2015, Wolves' Bane will be my first release that is well over 20K. So exciting and another item ticked off my Writer's Bucket List.
More details will follow, but for now the next year and a bit are looking pretty damn great!
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I have a super secret announcement to make....ready for it???
I have just signed another contract with Samhain for the sequel to Cursed (due for release July 2014)!
At this point in time, the sequel (title has yet to be confirmed) is due for release October 2014!
I now have a series (The Order of the Wolf) with Samhain!!! WooHoo!!!
In case you need a reminder of the eye candy to come, here's the fabulous cover for Cursed :-)
Monday, September 23, 2013
I'd like to welcome author, Steve McHugh to my blog! He's out and about promoting his re-released Hellequin novels...check the links below for further details!
So, you’ve written your first ever book. Go you; you’re now in the minority of people who say they’re actually going to do it. And with the ever-increasing change of the publishing landscape, you’re thinking, “do I just publish this myself? Or do I go the traditional route and try to get an agent and publisher.”
And the answer to that question, my good person, is the latter of those 2 choices.
Now, some of you might know that I’m a self-published author (or indie if you’re so inclined). I love indie writing. Without it, I wouldn’t have published 2 successful books last year, Crimes Against Magic and Born of Hatred. I wouldn’t have gotten a contract with 47North, Amazon’s SF, fantasy and Horror imprint, and those first two books wouldn’t have been re-printed on 17th September. Indie writing has been good to me. As it has to a lot of my friends.
So, yeah, you’re probably thinking I’ve either sold out or gone crazy. But here’s the thing, I tried to get an agent. Now, I didn’t self-publish just because I got a few dozen rejections, I self-published because for me it was the right thing to do. And that might well be the case for you. But if this is your first book, if this is your first time about to step into that rollercoaster world of publishing, I would suggest that you at least give the traditional way a go.
Now, that’s not because I think it’s better, because that’s nonsense. It’s because you need to get rejected. You need to get those rejection letters from agents who either don’t think it’s good enough, or don’t think they can sell it.
Rejection sucks, there’s no easy way to say it. Those form rejections are the worst thing on earth when it comes to trying to get an agent. They tell you nothing of use, except they didn’t like the book. Now, I understand why agents do it, if they didn’t they’d spend all day just typing out, “I didn’t like your book because…” letters, but they still suck.
Occasionally you’ll get something other than a form letter, something telling you about why they didn’t pick your book. And those letters are both incredibly crap and fantastic. You have feedback. And you can either ignore it or you can try to work with it. Your choice. But experiencing it, the highs of getting a reply and lows of it being rejection will prepare you for when you’re published.
When your book is finally out there, people are going to love it and hate it. There will be reviews, maybe even e-mails. You won’t agree with many of them, hell it’s your baby and they’re being mean about it, but you will need to get a thick skin and quickly. Rejections letters help here. Because no matter what the review, you’re published, you got past the guardians of publishing and went your own way.
Besides, if there’s one very good skill all writers hate and all writers need, it’s writing query letters and synopsis. And that’s something you’re going to get a lot of practice at.
So, give yourself 6 months, 12 months, whatever feels right, and try to get an agent. Hell, you could do manage to get an agent in that time and then you’ve got a whole new set of circumstances in front of you to deal with. But if you don’t try, you’ll always wonder ‘what if’ and you’ll never know that sting of a form rejection and the elation of picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and doing it all again.
Steve McHugh lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
No, I don't drink milk out of a bowl or barf (sporadically and for no reason) on everything remotely important or of value. I don't pee in kitty litter or shed...oh wait, I do shed a bit. When I say I'm like a cat it's more referring to the fact that I am a Leo...at least half of me is. Born on a cusp (we're talking sun signs here) I share some pretty confusing and conflicting traits between two signs that are quite different. I'm a wicked little bundle of battling character traits...if you know anything about astrology, finding out that I'm on the Cancer/Leo cusp should tell you about the hell that is me and the war that thrives in my head on a daily basis.
I was reading an article the other day about Leos and how we like to chase. The metaphor that was used likened Leos to playful kittens (with a ferocious bite at times) who will go for that dangling string over and over and over, without taking into consideration who or what is holding that string. It means that Leos can be teased by the right kind of person. A master manipulator who knows just what kind of string to dangle.
I have a degree in psychology and I know how astrology, in many ways, conflicts with the scientific approach contained there. In many ways they're compatible though. I have totally fallen for the string chase throughout my life. Temptation, competition, whatever you want to call it, if the string suits me and it's dangling with the smallest chance that it's in my ability to catch, I'll go for it. And go for it. And go for it. To the point of madness I think. I've been badly hurt because of this. I've cried. I've gotten depressed and yet I keep on chasing.
When I read that article it was a good reminder that if I'm after that string, it means that I'm not in control and that's okay as long as I'm enjoying the chase. As long as it's not bringing me down. As long as it's not boring me either. (There needs to be some element of success to keep the chase going...but that's a whole other blog post.)
This applies to many aspects of my life but in particular writing and publishing. I see a lot of my writer friends getting down lately over various aspects of pursuing publication. Whether it be rejection or writer's block or a bad review, they're beating themselves up and letting it get to them. Don't get me wrong, none of those things is really great to deal with. I guess I just wanted to remind those folks that you can treat it like a game in some ways. The thrill of the chase, that's what it should be all about. You work hard, you hone your skill, you send out those queries and you keep chasing, but you've got to be enjoying it or there's no point. It's something I forget sometimes. We do this because we love writing. The publishing side of things should not define us, it should inspire us and keep us chasing.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Here it is!!!! My totally amazing, sexy, gorgeous cover for Cursed, Book One in my new series, The Order of the Wolf. (Release tentatively scheduled for June 2014 at Samhain Publishing)
I have been pretty lucky with all of my covers but this is probably my favorite. I'm sure you can see why...can you say yum? I'll have the official blurb soon, but for now meet Raven, sexy bassist for the metal band Riot (who also happens to be a werewolf) and Darcy, a vengeance dealing witch who picks the wrong guy to curse.
Feast your eyes, folks...it's okay to indulge, this bad boy was made to be eaten up ;-)
Friday, July 19, 2013
Okay, so nothing that dramatic happened at my first ever gunfight…those zombie targets didn’t know what hit ‘em! A couple of weeks ago, hubs and I went to a local shooting range that allowed public access. It was a very enlightening experience and I thought I’d pass along some little pieces of gold that every writer should know (especially if you’re writing shooting scenes).
1) It’s louder than you think: Seriously, I jumped a few times when the guns around me started going off. Even with earphones on, it was pretty loud. I've written gun fights where no one even flinched at the sound of a gun going off...there would be flinching at the very least!
2) Loading a 9mm clip isn’t as easy as it looks (it’s actually quite tedious and not really glamorous at all). I was supposed to be loading ten bullets into the clip and got to nine before I couldn’t force another one in. Apparently there are devices that can make loading easier and faster, but I wanted to see what it felt like to do it by hand. Definitely not something you could do if your hands were shaking and your eyes scanning for approaching targets.
3) If you really think you’d be able to hit a moving target your first time ever shooting a gun (with zombies or crazed axe murders coming at you fast) then you’re delusional and so is your main character. With the noise, adrenaline, fear all pumping through you, there is just no way you’d be able to pick up a gun for the first time, aim and hit your target…a moving one especially. And that’s not even talking about distance!
I took my time shooting. Lined up each shot, made sure the gun was steady and did pretty good overall. If I had to shoot quickly, like my life depended on it? Yeah, I’d be zombie meat in no time.
4) Guns smell bad when fired, some worse than others. They give off this acrid sulfuric kinda smell that sticks in your nose. I’m sure you’d get used to it, and outdoors it wouldn’t be so bad, but at the shooting range it was pretty awful. Something to keep in mind when you’re writing shooting scenes that take place in doors.
5) Recoil really fucks with your aim. Seriously. I’d heard it would but there’s nothing like feeling it in your hand, snapping your wrist, or into your shoulder (depending on the gun.) If you’re not prepared, or not strong enough, it can hurt and it can majorly mess with where that bullet is going. Also, if you’re not in shape or used to it, your arm gets tired after a while. My arm was actually numb after two hours of shooting.
6) It’s a hell of a lot of fun! I tried four different guns but I liked the shotgun and revolver the best. I’d love to go back and try some different ones. Entertainment wrapped up in a scary, death in your hands kinda way.