Friday, 1 March 2013

The Blog Hop Of Joy





Before I write anything I just want to get this out there: Kyra Lennon is going to be famous. Just you watch!

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post...

Kyra and the equally amazing Clair Dugmore came up with this pretty exciting blog hop to kick off March. All you have to do is list five things that bring you joy. I'm sure we all can list more than five but for the sake of this event I'll resist the urge. Just this once.

And we begin with: 

My Family. They drive me crazy sometimes but I don't think I can live without them. We've been through so many downs that our bond is near invincible.

The Internet. This might seem geeky but I absolutely cannot live without the internet. Sure, I survived without it for, um, sixteen years but now that I have it I'll never go black -- I mean back. Yes, I absolutely meant to say back.

Shameless US. I. LOVE. THIS. SHOW. I don't watch TV but I make it my duty to watch Shameless every Sunday without fail! They bring me so much joy because their attitudes and living circumstances remind me so much of where I grew up. It was never pretty -- or easy -- but me and my family made it work as a team. And we made it out.

Go team Gallaghers!

And finally, the thing that brings me the most joy is The Prospect Of A Brighter Tomorrow. Yeah, yeah.. it's gooey and full fo crap but it's true. For me, this means so much more than that -- it's about my ideas, my stories and my art. Every time I write or brainstorm an idea, I imagine what it would be like if it came true; what it would mean for me to be a success. That always, ALWAYS, brings me joy. I guess it's just that people and technology don't always bring you satisfaction but your imagination is infinite -- it will never disappoint.

At this very instant, I'm imagining myself at a book signing with a crowd of five hundred people eagerly waiting to reach my table.

Tell me that isn't joy.      

 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Neither Here Nor There

It's so hard to write when you have nothing to write about. There's nothing spectacular to report about my life right now; no interesting bit of news to examine (none you haven't already read); no new snippets of literary advice to distribute nor do I have any tales of fancy to tickle your toes.

There's just nothing really intersting I'd like to blog about at the moment. Some of you have so much material that can last an entire year but I don't have the luxury to do such a thing. I work hard and I play hard. I use the little time I have to toil endlessly toward  my literary dreams and spend an occasion with friends and family.

When something comes up I'll write about it. When you write about something I'll read it. I do visit your blogs you know. I might not leave a comment but I do drop by... to stare... to admire... to envy. You know, the usual. ^_^

Okay, now I'm going back to my revisions - I gotta get everything ready and query-able by the end of February. Goals, people, you have to stick to those goals.

Aloha! 
   

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!



What a year it's been!

So many amazing things have happened, not just for me but the entire world! Likewise, where there is happiness and joy there's always darkness and despair. Millions of people lost their lives in the most tragic of ways--most recently the Sandy Cook Elementary School shooting. Our hearts and minds go out to all those familes and the countless other victims of tragedies around the world. It is in times like these we need to remind ourselves that evil will always try to ruin us, regardless of who we are, but through the essence of all that is good we have shown that we can band together and fight all odds. It is our love...our happiness...our sheer belief in a brighter tomorrow that makes us strong. So as we move into a new chapter on this the most holy of seasons, I want to wish everyone, near and far, a wonderful Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year.

Thanks for the memories.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

When You're Not In The Mood


Do you ever wake up and know you have things to do but don't feel like it? Sometimes I just want to stay in bed all day and not go to work and other times I simply don't want to go and visit my relatives for thanksgiving. You feel meh?

Most days, however, I DO NOT feel like writing. Sometimes I'm  too tired or I feel like going outdoors and riding my bike or shooting hoops or something active instead of sitting in front a desk for hours. I do that enough during the day, in the afternoons and on the weekends I want a change of pace. But here's the thing: I feel guilty when I don't write when I should be. I'm a firm believer in deadlines, outlines and all things cohesive so when I fail to do what needs to be done, I question my integrity. What kind of writer am I if I don't feel like writing half the time? How can I be a successful writer if I don't write? It's a conundrum, of sorts, because when I put it off for the next day I end up doing so again and it may continue like a cycle for days on end. At the moment, I haven't done any work on my YA or MG for three days. Three whole days! That's forty eight hours, four thousand three hundred and twenty minutes and two hundred and fifty nine thousand two hundred seconds. Is this bad? Am I supposed to write every single day? And if I don't live, breath and eat writing every hour of every minute, am I truly a writer?

Do you sometimes neglect your writing because you don't feel like it? And how do you get in the mood if such a thing occurs?    

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

This Genre Is Oversaturated, Write Something Else

I am sick of hearing this and you know what? Kiss my ass whoever you are.

I spent a very long time dreaming up the idea for my current YA WIP and an even longer time actually writing it. A crit partner the other day told me that the market is oversaturated with the genre of my YA and agents aren't looking for that right now. Um...okay? What am I supposed to do? Stop writing the thing 'cause one agent doesn't like that? Honestly, I thought he had had more faith in my ability to know that this is something I'm aware of, and that it's kind of unnecessary to even bring up. I mean, give me some credit, I do read ya know. Geesh. I don't like it when people think you're a total noob who knows nothing about the industry, but that's possibly another post.

My YA, in it's truest form, is a Superhero (slash) Fantasy (slash) Romance. However, I can't call it that 'cause there is no "Superhero" genre. At least I don't think there is. My MC is a kickass Superheroine Mage who happens to draw her power from a five thousand year old angelic warrior--who happens to be a spirit, who happens to fall in love with her. Unfortunately, simply because there is a ghost involved (which doesn't encompass the whole story) I have to lable it a Paranormal and, unfortunetely for me, this is the genre everyone is scorning right now like someone with an STD.


Readers can't help fall in love with what they like; writers can't help love what they pen. If it happens to be Paranormal, then so be it. I understand why agents and editors might not want to see Paranormal right now (most will be clones or some silly idea) but I believe there are still a lot of really cool concepts in this genre that haven't been explored. And dare I be so bold to say that I have some really cool concepts in this genre that I have explored, and would like to share. Are you saying I should give up now because so and so very established so and so with this many clients and this many accolades said so? I don't think so baby.

I brought this up because I was really discouraged when my crit partner said what he said and then I got a second blow to the heart when I saw the same thing echoed on an industry blog. I actually did ponder giving up the book and writing something else. But you know what I realized? They don't get to decide what I write. There are hundreds of agents out there--maybe thousands?--, loads of editors and gazillions of readers who WILL like what I write. One or two prejudiced folks should not sway your writerly path. So for all you Paranormal writers out there, and those other authors who write in genres that people treat like a disease, let's all join hands and collectively say, FUCK YOU biased people!

The end. ^_^      

Monday, 12 November 2012

There Is No Need To Be A Bee

Boy do I have a story to tell you guys today. Get your popcorn and some Skinny Girl wine 'cause this is gonna be good.

I went to an event hosted by an agent last week and we were asked to bring some sample pages and a query. This agent was going to read the pages aloud and tell us right there and then if he or she will pass. Excited and overdressed for the occasion, I arrived early and took a seat in the third row ('cause I like to be close to the action but not too close). There was a chubby middle aged woman next to me--frizzy brown hair, oversized glasses, black watery eyes and an obvious hew of red fluster painted on her face. She was clutching three sheets of paper in her hand when she turned to me and said, "Hi." I returned the favor and shook her hand.

"It's nice to see someone young  pursue writing--good for you."

"Me? Nah, I'm old. I'll be twenty-three next month, so before you know it I'll be on crotches."  

With her head thrown back she cackles, and in three seconds flat simmers into silence as she reads her pages. By now the seats were beginning to fill up all around me; people were jostling chairs, chatting about the election and plain old having a jolly good time.

And then...

"Hello, Hello everyone," someone said importantly. A rather curvy woman in a black power suit sits beside the woman next to me, so that we're both on opposite sides of her. This lady opens her bedazzled clutch, tosses her silky black hair to the side and pulls out a single sheet of paper. It looked as though she had forgotten her query or sample pages and I peered around at the other people and saw that they were all reading/holding/fanning with or waving two or three sheets of paper. My spidey sense began to tingle.

Out of nowhere the woman next to me, Cheryl, said, "I always get nervous at things like this." At first I didn't know if she was addressing me or anyone who cared to listen, and after three seconds of silence I told her I do, too.

"It never gets easy, does it?"

"No," I said, "especially in a setting like this. Hearing the honest truth about your work--your baby--is never mild."

"I've been working on this (she waves her sheets) young adult for two years and I recently started querying but no bites yet."

"That's nothing, I've been working on a Middle Grade for seven years. It got rejected, accepted, chewd out, peed on, sexed on--you name it!" 

She laughed. "You're funny. You're very funny."

Ever the modest guy I said, "I'm not. What you call funny my girlfriend calls annoying."

Another moment of no talking ensued followed by a question from Cheryl, but this time it was directed to her pages. She was mumbling about the font and questioning if the agent would notice a spelling error in the first paragraph. Now, as nice as Mrs. Cheryl was, she seemed like a very introverted, nervous sort of person--always nitpicking and second guessing herself. Her chat with the paper ended when she asked me if I thought the agent would stop reading if he/she saw a spelling error. Well, some agents do, some agents don't but I didn't want to cause her any more unrest so I told her agents focus on the story and don't pay much attention to grammar 'cause it's easily fixed. This brought her little comfort because she turned to the woman next to her (the one with the bedazzled clutch) and asked if she could look it over, and in return she'd offer the same. Why she didn't ask me I'd never know, but back to the story: as it turned out the woman didn't swap and graciously agreed to read Cheryl's pages. At this time, I thought it wise to double check my own and I was later disrupted by a bunch of huffs, like someone eating a prime rib and critquing the taste as they chewed.

"Is it bad?" Cheryl asked.

After a few more huffs the woman (who shall be named Sasha) sighed, like literally sighed, and handed Cheryl the pages. "Did you revise this?"

"Yes."

"Are you sure?"

By now poor Cheryl was shrinking into a watery mess of self loath. "Oh my god, it's that bad?"

"Can I be honest?" Sahsa said, facing Cheryl directly. "I think you should write something else. The pacing is too slow, you start with a dream, there are eight spelling errors in the first two sentences and the dialogue of the MC sounds like a fifty year old woman. I'm a reader for the [redacted] agency here in [redacted] and I would never let something this horrible touch the agent's desk."

OUCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! 

If I could describe Cheryl's face it would be a cross between this:



And this:




 As much as I wanted to speak up, I thought it best to keep my mouth shut because Cheryl did ask this woman for her opinion. And she got it... Tenfold! However, what came next stunned the shit out of me.

"I take this business very seriously," Sasha said to a bewildered Cheryl who just nodded automatically. "Every idiot off the street thinks they can write a book and I'm of the opinion that some people should never do that! I don't know if you're taking writing seriously--and if you are I think you should take a writing class, if not I think you should maybe dabble in something else."


I kid you the fuck not that's what she said. Not too long ago I wrote a blog post about something like this where an aspiring author told another to stop writing, and now this? What is it with people? Don't they know that some things are better left unsaid? Well, this time I wasn't gonna keep quiet. IT WAS ON BITCH! LIKE DONKEY KONG!

"Excuse me," I said as politely as I could. "You don't have the right to tell this woman--or anyone--they shouldn't be writing. That is out of line!"

She tilted her head from behind Cheryl's and said, curling her lip, "Excuse me?"

"You heard what I said, don't pretend you didn't hear me."

"I don't know who you think you are but I don't like your tone."

"I don't like your face, how 'bout that?"

 By now Cheryl was trying to keep the peace, insisting she asked for Sasha's opinion and got what she deserved, but I was hearing none of it!

"She asked for my opinion, okay. I didn't approach her or beg her--she asked! So take that attitude to the playground little boy and mind your business!"


When someone disses me like this I begin to laugh, but in reality it's a defense mechanism I employ when I'm about to go ghetto on a bitch. However, people was beginning to stare and I was at an agent's event, afterall, so this was not the time or place to do that. To show her I had more class than she had in her whole face full of python poison, I said, quite affectionately, "You know, I pitty you. No joy can ever be found in belittling another person's dreams. It speaks volumes of what little esteem you have in your own aspirations that you have to fell someone in order to prop your self worth. Shame. On. You."

I was expecting a stinging retort, but she just gathered herself and took a seat in the back.

In closing, I want to say this: We all share the same dream. We all have the same goal. We might write certain genres and seek different paths but we're all aiming for that same star. When you tell another dreamer they shouldn't dream, you're telling that star it shouldn't shine. It needs us to dazzle ever so brightly and without us dreamers...without it's light...there can be no dreams now can there?

Friday, 2 November 2012

How Do You Decide Which Novel Will Be Your Debut?

This is something not many writers talk about but it's a very hard decision for some. By the end of the year I will have completed 2 novels, the first is a MG and the other is a YA. I had always wanted my MG to be my debut but my YA is really breathtaking and I have a strong feeling it will strike a chord with readers. On the otherhand, my MG has that "it" factor boy readers love (magic, cool pets, intense battles, a fun card game, world tournaments...) and the fact that the MC is a mobster who becomes a powerful superhero isn't too shabby either. However, my YA is a Romantic Fantasy that features an MC who rises from poverty and despair to become an immensley powerful hero. I haven't seen this type of hero in YA as of late; most of the heroines deal with conflicts centered around their own little universe, as opposed to defeating an immense evil and saving the world--like male MCs usually do. Double standard, anyone? Or perhaps the female writers of these books have a different perspective on what a female heroine is and should do? Ack, I dunno... The point is, I have two great novels and no idea which I should query first.

Some of you might say query them both and see which sticks, but what if I get representation by two seperate agents for two seperate projects? What if they both sell to two different houses? Then what? I don't think that's right, or doable. Besides, I'm pretty sure the houses will not let that happen, 'cause they like to brand authors under their imprint, so that's out of the question. I know some people look at the financial aspect of a debut: in some cases you get a bigger advance for YA, it's easier to catch on, no need for school visits, little to no marketing on your behalf, magazine coverage, blah blah blah... but I really don't care about that. I'm willing to put in the hard work it'll take to "push" my MG if it so happens it's my debut. For me, it's more about which one is going to give me the best shot at capturing an audience and building that fan base. It's a business--a very tough, dig out your eyes, business--and as much as my heart wants to say "be happy that you got published and just keep writing," eh... it doesn't work that way in the real world. If your debut flops you'll be blacklisted and probably won't sell anything else in this climate. You have to be smart, you have to be knowledgable, you must have timing and you simply must know the market and it's flow.

I had always thought the very first novel I wrote would be "the one", and I had an argument with a writer on a message board over this fact some years ago. He said the first novel you write isn't your first, I said it is. Boy was I ever wrong. Writers write so many books in so many different genres it can be hard to pick which one best represents you. I have a tough decision to make, so I need some advice on this.

How did/do you decide which novel will be your debut?
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