Quote of the Day

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." Stephen King

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Moving up at ABNA! Woot woot!

On February 24, this past Thursday, those of us entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, the yearly chance given by Amazon and Penguin to give authors with unpublished or even self-published books to surpass ALL the other 5,000 and be one of two books chosen (Young Adult Fiction and General Fiction) to get a publishing contract, $15,000, and general envy from all that remotely know you, found out if we made it up. Most of my 'real-life' friends think it's pretty cool I write books, but they wouldn't want to do it themselves. Give them a great Nick Sparks or James Patterson or even Harry Potter and they are set. They've said they love what I've written and can't wait to see it in print. With a cover. On a bookshelf at Barnes and Noble.

But my other friends, the virtual ones, and to whom I feel as close to as anyone I have ever known, they are writers. They entered this contest with me, and a few of us moved up, a few of us didn't. We know at this point, it's mostly a crap shoot. This part is based on the pitch (a few paragraphs describing our book, making it sound like the next best thing coming, in 300 words or less). But still...to get past the pitch part is a good thing. Keeps you in the running.

Out of 5,000 entrants, 1,000 General Fiction, and 1,000 Young Adult are chosen. My book, Paper Tigers, is in the running as 1 out of 1,000 other Young Adult books. I am so excited!! But, now we have to wait...again. It feels sort of like, well...

Haha!! Those are snails, by the way. And it's exactly what it feels like now. This part of the wait is pure agony. They're basing the next choosing on the first 5,000 words of our novel. I'm pretty confident about those chapters, they've been picked over so much by myself and others that if something IS found to be wrong? I'll send THEM a trophy. :) There is so much intense and excellent competition. But that's what makes it so good.

Well, that's all I have to tell you. I'm editing, thinking of new stories, excited about all of it! I feel really good about this year. I'm cleaning house, both literally and figuratively, making room for new changes to come. Sort of like taking everything out of a room, repainting, and waiting for the new furniture, that you let someone you trust pick out, to arrive.

I hope God knows I like browns and blues, sort of a city feel and beachy feel all entertwined. Er...maybe God will put in a call to Nate Berkus?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Closing doors

I took care of some things I needed to do for a long time today. I closed some doors that needed closing completely. I felt God smile. It was a good thing.

Life is just like this. When we're little, we think the world we live in will always be the same. Same window we look out of at night at the moon and stars. Same friends. Same mom and dad to watch over us.

Things change. We grow up, make new friends. Leave our parents and make our own life. Sometimes that life isn't what we thought it would be. We pray for change, and change comes like the Atom Bomb! Way too fast and too deep and scary and wonderful and life-changing and it blasts new roads for us to follow.

Nearly four years ago, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would call myself a writer. Now, I have a manuscript in with an agent, hoping against all odds that something wonderful might happen. A different one out with other agents. I'm in ABNA again, also hoping that my book will go higher than ever. But also? I have TOTAL faith in myself that I have lots of great books inside. Grand ones, even. I know this in my core. I will be published. Others will enjoy my stories, because they're not just mine. Great stories belong to us all.

I'm excited about my future, privately and bookly. :) I stood on the edge of a cliff, so to speak, a few years ago and I dove off, not knowing if anyone would be there to catch me. My life changed forever.

I'm at the cliff again. Some strong arms are waiting to catch me, and this time, I'm not afraid. In my Women's Fiction novel, Miss Rose tells Jade that God goes ahead of us all with his flashlight on, guiding the path. We just have to be brave enough to follow Him. Miss Rose is so right.

Let the old doors close. It's okay. Someone who will give you all that you need for the next part of the journey is standing right behind the new door, waiting for you to be brave enough to push it open.

Monday, February 14, 2011

All we need to know about love, we learn from Pride and Prejudice

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sigh. I watched Pride and Prejudice Saturday night, for the tenth time I'm sure, and I realized how much I truly loved the movie, and why. The novel was published in 1813, and though we think we've come a long way, we haven't. Not about the truths of love. Everything about love then is the same as love now, and Jane Austen got it spot on.

As a girl, I can say that we spend the better part of our lives, from thirteen or so, looking for our Mr. Darcy. We expect him to come out of the blue, and he should have rays of sunlight surrounding him when he walks into our lives so we'll know for sure it's him. The wind should be blowing his hair back a little. HIs shoulders should be leaning forward as he walks, a sure sign that nothing can stop him from getting to us. He is determined. And he doesn't smile. Not at first. He's too brooding. We love brooding.

Of course, there is always an antagonist. Someone or something, a situation perhaps, that has to come between the couple to test its mettle. It usually rises up just as things are looking good for the couple. It's necessary, it totally is. Not just for plot in a novel. It has to happen in life so we can make sure it's what we really want, this thing we think is our Darcy. We want to make sure it's real. Because, the true Mr. Darcy of our lives is our rescue, no matter how things might be pretty okay and how much we will never admit it. Nothing is truly okay, and fully complete, until he appears. We're running around living our lives, but inside, we're waiting, just like the Bennett girls, for Him. Him who has the courage to pick us out from a sea of other beauties and who puts us high in his sky as his Northern Light. Nothing on earth is sweeter.

It comes in all forms, but usually jealousy is the core. Jealousy of the happiness. The only ones that can understand and be happy about your finding love are the ones that truly love you, or the ones that have love themselves.

In the end, love always wins. It's the most powerful force in existence. Nothing can stop true love. It comsumes us. It is the driving force of the whole world. We want to be rescued. We want to be loved. We want to find, as the Europeans say, the 'other half of our apple'. And it's out there. All the good novels tell us so.

Happy Valentine's Day! Go on, go find your Mr. Darcy or your Elizabeth Bennett and tell them how much you simply adore them. It's the day for it. <3 :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Ugh. The word writers LOATHE. Despise. Anguish over. It's a part of the business. The biggest part, actually.

As writers, we write a great story. Most of the time, we LOVE this story. It's got pieces of us in it. Snapshots and videos that run in our mind and get entangled with new characters and they become us. They handle the situation much better than we did, most of the time. They make sense of the whole thing for us. Yeah, that's what they do.

So, after our heart is poured out into our stories, we edit. And edit. Then, we edit.

If we're lucky? We have a few good friends that we trust enough to look it over and give us an honest opinion. Sometimes, we luck up and get the friend of a friend who loves books, will be totally objective, and give us some of the best line edit suggestions we will ever get. And if we're more than lucky, let's say, probably FAVORED by God himself, lol, they LOVE the story, too. KaCHING! :D It does not get better. Trust me.

So, we then query this novel. For the readers only, this means summing up our 100,000 word novel in about 300 or less words and sending it to a literary agent, who gets about a bazillion of these per year, and hoping ours stands out enough to make them ask for more.

Usually, you get a form rejection. "Dear Author...". Wait, they don't capital author. "Dear author...". Yeah, that's it. And you're mighty lucky to even get that.

But sometimes, the rejections have your name in them. "Dear Tracy...".
AHHH. And sometimes, the rejections talk about your character and how that character sounds interesting, but that it's not quite what they're looking for. And they wish you great success in finding the right agent.

This is the next best thing to hearing that an agent loves your voice, is very interested in the story, and would like to sign you on as his or her client. THIS is what I'm praying for. I want to be an Apocalyptie. An author whose book comes out in 2012. It can happen. I'm putting all my chips on the table, working my buns off, and praying alot.

Pray with me, Forrest. Pray.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't make me hurt you. Just type.

I'm here with my musings. Okay, I'm a day late. :) I'm getting better.

I've been reading Bird by Bird. GREAT book. They say that when you ask someone if they've read it, they answer you with a smile. I GET that now. It's really a must for writers. It's a little bit akin to Stephen King's 'On Writing' only in the sense that it is bare-bones, no mucking around. She tells you the truth as she sees it based on her experiences. She's real, doesn't care if you like what she has to say, she's saying it. We all love that, admit it or not. That's why people are entranced by Snookie. :D NOTHING replaces honesty, no matter how it comes to you. Not in love, not in friendship, and not in a book.

I've got another young adult novel SCREAMING at me to be written. I've put it off for days, telling it that really...I need to edit the young adult that's in ABNA first, and I need to work on the women's fiction novel I posted the excerpt of in my last post. I HATE giving people a taste then not hurriedly following through. BUT...as writers, there is one thing we know: When a new novel starts speaking, no matter the timing, you best start writing. This one is REALLY pushy. Almost fighting me, and mad each day I put her off. Yep, she's a her and I know her name and what she looks like and her attitude (oy vey, her attitude!) So...

Wish me luck. I'm diving into the ya today. I have no fear at this point, which is rare. Usually I get so nervous that I'm going to screw it up, I feel frozen. This time, the story...more like the loud voice...is pushing against me, looking at me hard and pointing to the screen to get going.

I'm going to get going.

I'll post excerpts of this new one from time to time. :) And I'll be working on the other one that you read from below. I've got people that already love it and want to read it!

Can I put that in my query letter to agents? ;)