Friday, January 29, 2010

Annette Lyon's detailed look at Book Publishing

Don't get excited. Seriously. I don't usually post this much. But I came across something while blog-browsing that I had to share.

CLICK HERE to read author Annette Lyon's detailed answer to a blogger who asked her why it takes so long to get a book published.

Annette is truly a gem and an asset to any aspiring author. My suggestion is to become a follower on her blog. Word Nerd Wednesday is my particular favorite--but I'm kinda word-nerdy myself. :)

My Worlds Collide

I had an opportunity to share a story about my early mommy years HERE at Cedar Fort Publishing's Mommy Blog operated by Gillian Mohlman. I'm inviting all of you to check it out, and if you want to contact her about sharing your own mommy stories--she'd love to hear them. Thanks Gillian!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Can I just say, WOW?

This Tuesday I had the pleasure of sitting down with a dozen other writers to form the Tooele Writers' Chapter of the League of UT Writers. It was one of those moments where you look around and say, "Where have you been all my life?"

Ok, where have you been for the last 4 years? I haven't been in Tooele that long. :)

Seriously though, I'm so excited to start working with these writers. What's great is I don't have to know everything. We all have something worthwhile to bring to the table. I love author networking because it means we can share what we learn during the journey.

Today is a good day to be a writer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And here it is!!

First, I'd like to say hello to my newest followers. I think it's cool I'm writing something you find of worth. Thank you!

Now for the (more) fun stuff. Yesterday the Tooele Transcript Bulletin printed their article on local authors. Featured are yours truly, the talented Karen Hoover and Rachel Bird--all members of the mysteriously delightful Authors Incognito.


Kudos to Emma Penrod for an incredibly well written article and also to Maegan Burr for her great photography.

Happy reading!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm addicted to Book Signings

Even if they aren't mine, which so far none have been. :)

Yesterday my sweet niece-in-law helped me take my daughter to our local bookstore, The Purple Cow, to attend a book signing for the newest graphic novel, Calamity Jack.

Now, don't get your dander up. This is a graphic novel, as in WITH PICTURES, not a graphic novel meaning with intense descriptive scenes of sex and/or violence.

Award winning author Shannon Hale co-wrote this book with her husband, Dean. And just by watching them entertain the crowd you can tell they totally LOVE working together. Even if it's not always smooth and easy, they have a special bond that is just too sweet to watch. In fact, I've observed them twice now and I have to say I keep seeing my dear hubby and I doing the same thing.

Nathan Hale illustrated Calamity Jack. Basically, you see Nate all over the book (as it's a novel with pictures). He does great work. I picked up a copy of his picture book, The Devil You Know, for my little baby nephew.

Poor Nathan, though. Through crossed wires, he showed up at the bookstore on time for the 2pm start. The Hales thought it started at 3pm. So Nathan entertained us by doing some illustrating on demand and telling fun stories.

One story was this: Nathan Hale did not live in Utah. He did not know Shannon Hale or Dean Hale. They met when Shannon's publisher bought Dean's publisher. But, they maintained that they are not related. Yes, same last name, but no relation. As Nathan told it, about 4 months ago they found out that Nathan's grandfather and Dean's grandfather are brothers, making them second cousins and, by default, Nate and Shannon second cousins-in-law. So, they ARE related. Maybe it's just me, but I find that truly hilarious. It really is a small world.

On a personal note, Isa Ventura--the very wonderful and generous owner of The Purple Cow bookstore--singled me out to the gathering crowd as one of Tooele's up and coming authors. She asked me about the status of my book, and I told her we are very hopeful that this time it will take.

Oooh, and she also let me hold in my hot little hands her ARC of Karen Hoover's book, The Sapphire Flute. That was awesome!!

All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Even if the main event was nearly an hour late. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm going to be in the newspaper!

My hubby is SO gloating right now. He's really having a great time with this. After hassling me for months to go to the local paper and let them know I'm here and I write, I got an email through Authors Incognito that a reporter for our paper wants to do an article on local authors. So I followed up on it and Monday had a phone interview with the reporter, Emma Penrod, about my memberships in LUW (League of Utah Writers) and Authors Incognito. She did mention that she had talked to Karen Hoover and I really hope she'll be in the article too so she can get the word out about The Sapphire Flute, due out this March.

So, this morning Meagan, the photographer, came to my house and took pictures of me. She said the article will hopefully be in next week's Tooele Transcript Bulletin; it kind of depends on the other authors Emma is able to interview and when that gets done. I have to say, for the record, it's the second time a newspaper photographer has come to my house and snapped my picture since we moved to Utah. The first time was in 2002 for The Deseret News. They had asked for contributors for an article on remembering 9/11, and I submitted my memories of that day. I got a call saying they wanted to print it, and that afternoon a guy showed up, snapped two pics, and left. Meagan took a few more. We have lighting issues in my house, plus I really am not fond of having my picture taken so I wasn't the most cooperative subject. I try, but I know I'm making some goofy face, or there's a reflection of my glasses, or my chin is too high, or my shoulders are stiff--and so on.

And, for the record, I live in a family of comedians. I texted my sibs and in-laws to tell them I was going to be in the paper, and my oldest brother asked me "How many people did you shoot/stab/maim and where do I mail the cookies?" When I mentioned that to my brother-in-law, he said, "Those thoughts did cross my mind, but . . . nah!" Sigh.

And my 5 yr old is convinced getting into the newspaper means it's going to make me famous. I love my kids.

Friday, January 8, 2010

And we're off!

Ok, I'm always a little off, but I like to think that's part of my charm. :)

I did it. I really did it. And on time even. I mailed off my trimmed, edited and test-read manuscript off to the editors who requested it this morning. Seriously. At 9:01 AM I walked out of the post office after paying $6.50 to mail the package.

They should get it Monday. And now I have to throw myself into that other project or I will drive myself mad with worry and speculation. After so much effort on this one book, it's finally looking really promising.

My test readers were amazing. Have to give them a shout out. They're great ladies who do these wonderful things for me, and don't even know that test readers get free signed copies when a book is published. ;)

These are the days I like being an author. The world is opened up to me. Anything goes. And no matter what happens, it was a great learning experience. It's all good.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's not that I never blog...

...I've just been busy lately. Beyond the normal sick kids/sick hubby, regular life and holidays stuff--I've actually also been an author. I spent two years rewriting and polishing and making beautiful my masterpiece before sending it off to 4 local publishers. Every one rejected me. It's great, but they don't have room for it. One publisher, however, rejected it because of the length. Ok, 114,000 words is a lot. I didn't mean to create a monster, but it's just so good. The publisher suggested I trim it down to fit their printing size--under 300 pages. At first I was aghast. I mean, really. Never thought I'd actually use that word to describe what I felt, but there you are.

How on earth do I take a 440 page masterpiece and cut it down by over 25%? How do you do that? I don't have that kind of talent. How's this: let's just split it and make 2 books. And I agonized about cutting out crucial plot elements, what I was sacrificing for my art, what of my art I would sacrifice to get published, etc.

Nothing. For weeks. I figured their editor email was a one-way communication. But then, just before Christmas, I hear from them again.

They've read on. They really like it, but they don't feel the plot resolves well enough at the end of chap 22 to make a stand alone book. How am I coming with the trimming? Can I get it in under 300 pages?

So, like any other author would do, I sharpened my scalpel, scissors, razor and wit and got to work. You wouldn't believe this (came as a great shock to me), but in about 4 chapters of my masterpiece ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENS TO FURTHER THE PLOT, SUBPLOT OR CHARACTER DESIGN. I mean, stuff happens, but nothing crucial to the development of the story. I condensed almost 5 chapters into about a page or two.

That felt really, really good. Wait, I can actually cut stuff out and it doesn't hurt the story? I grabbed the weed whacker and got down to it. Repetitive (slice), redundant (hack), boring (chop)--and on it went for almost two weeks. And I watched my word count reduce in wonder. My page numbers went down. It was magical.

The manuscript currently stands at 81,018 words (weird, huh?) and is 295 pages long. Being a practical, logical person I want to trim it down a bit more, maybe another 10-15 pages, for wiggle room during the editing stages.

That's if, after all this, the publisher signs me. :)