Wednesday, February 12, 2014
I am a life-long learner. I quest for new learning opportunities, especially when it comes to writing.
Edits: to some a hellish five letter word, to me, yet another learning opportunity. Another way to improve my craft...but only if the editor is good and knows his/her shit.
Now, I'm not talking about the kind of edits that you might be thinking...grammar, punctuation, repeating words, etc. Don't get me wrong, that kind of stuff is important, every good editor should be able to catch those things. What I'm talking about are the things that we writers miss because we're too busy rolling out the words, making sure the plot arcs in just the right way, helping the hero connect with the heroine with enough angst and turmoil to make it worth it. I'm talking about when we writers get lazy and do things sloppy, take the short cuts. The editors who whip us back to our writing program (word, scrivener, whatever) and tell us to smarten up and FIX it, those are the editors who I learn from. Those are the ones you want to look at your stuff and riddle it with track changes and comments, paint your ms RED with corrections (or whatever color track changes is).
Trust me, I know. I've been lucky enough to have super-fantastic crit partners who are like this, and now I have a super-fantastic editor at Samhain who is like this too. Simultaneous actions? Whaaaaat? I'd never heard of it before...but now I see it everywhere. See? I learned something...that means my craft is going to improve. Win-win.
As writers we must continue to learn, to hone our craft, to practice. Editors, good editors, are the ones who have the whip in hand and make sure we do.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
My friend, author Krista Walsh has a novel coming out on February 10th Evensong - the cover is totally awesome! Can't wait to read this one, folks!
Author Jeff Powell wakes up to find the impossible has happened. He is within his own novel—summoned into the fictional world of Feldall’s Keep by a spell he didn't write. One the House enchantress hasn't figured out how to reverse.
When the villain he's been struggling to write reveals himself, unleashing waves of terror and chaos, Jeff must use more than his imagination to save the characters he created—and the woman he loves.
Trapped within a world of his own creation, he must step outside the bounds of his narrative to help his characters defeat an evil no one anticipated, even if he must sacrifice his greatest gift. In the end, he has to ask: are novels really fiction, or windows into other worlds?
About the Author:
Known for witty, vivid characters, Krista Walsh never has more fun than getting them into trouble and taking her time getting them out. After publishing a few short stories and novellas in various anthologies, she has now released her own anthology, the serial collection Greylands.
When not writing, or working at her day job, she can be found reading, gaming, or watching a film – anything to get lost in a good story.
She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
For first grab at Evensong sale price, other promotions, news and announcements, you can sign up for her Newsletter
You can also connect via:
At the local Second Cup coffee shop … but only if you come bearing a White Mocha
Sunday, January 19, 2014
As some of you may know, I have a day job...meaning, I don't write full-time. My day job is one that requires I keep my writing life somewhat secret. Especially the erotic component of my writing life. Now, for a while this was an easy balance to maintain. At the beginning, I spent way more time on my day job and less on my writing job which meant that I could separate the two worlds with a neat little boundary marker. On one side was the proper, professional, quiet (shocking, I know) Angela and on the other side was the raunchy, gutter brain, who swears a lot Angela. I've noticed, however, that lately I've had a harder time keeping those two worlds separate.
For example, the other day I was in the lunch room eating and a male colleague came in, caught sight of my friend and announced: Hey Steph (not her real name), you're on my to do list! Right away my mind went straight into the gutter and I snickered...which lead to the male colleague then tsking me and saying, "Now, Angela, you have a dirty mind. I'm going to have to keep my eyes on you." O_O Which made me giggle....and then he said, "You're making me get all hot." I'm sure he meant embarrassed but holy crap...that was the end of any control...I started laughing...as did my friend (who also has gutter brain) and the poor man slinked out of the room and has not made eye contact with me since.
My writing world is becoming a more prominent feature in my life and in my thoughts. I'm not entirely sure my day job world is going to be able to handle any more slips like that. But how do I suppress the persona when the persona is really me?
I guess we all have closets of various shapes, sizes, and depths. I wonder what will slip out of mine next?
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.