Sunday, December 30, 2012

Writing for the reader AND me

I like suspense. I like approachable, compassionate characters. I like relationships that are believable and ones that I want to continue to learn about even after I finish reading a book. I know I've read a great book when I'm yearning for what happens next. Having said all that, I need to keep myself on track with what I enjoy, with what appeals to me as a reader. For example, when I kept hearing friends and acquaintances talk about the "Fifty Shades Trilogy" I got it in my head that all readers wanted to read about sex. This led Kody to climb into bed with a character and I did my best to describe the scene. That is soooooo not me. I get embarrassed even saying the word sex, and then I think about my mom and grandma reading the book and it makes me feel sick inside. I don't know why I am the way I am, but that's just me. As I start back to work on book #3, I'll be sure to reread the explicit scene. Work is still delayed though. My kids need to show me something every other minute...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Beginning again

The holidays are almost over and life will soon get back to normal. I'm pretty relieved I have to say. I've hardly written a word for about two weeks because of my preoccupation with shopping, baking, and spending time with the family. It'll take a bit to get back in the groove, but I'm hoping to cruise right along to the end. Book #3 is at the turning point, the point where questions will begin to be resolved. Plus, with two more favorable reviews of "Missing Maggie" I have more incentive to keep going. Yes, sales are slow, but when I hear or read about someone enjoying my stories, I can't help but smile. I love to entertain. I love that others find what I do enjoyable. Now all I have to do is get my butt out of bed tomorrow morning and get things started!

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 Davidson Christmas Letter

After I wrote yesterday's blog post, I got right to work on our family Christmas letter. It's a bit cheesy, but I couldn't get myself to write the token form letter. The photo cards printed last night so envelopes will be in the mail this afternoon to all our friends and family. Whether or not they arrive in time for Christmas is sketchy, but at least the task is off my conscience. Enjoy!

            “I didn’t eat them, Mom. Why do you always blame me?” asked Jax, a 12-year-old who loved eating sweets, especially his mom’s chocolate chip cookies.
            “Koy, did you eat them?” Mom asked. “Koy? Will you stop moving for a second and answer me?”
            “I didn’t eat them either, Mom,” Koy answered while stacking the couch cushions to jump on them for the hundredth time that night.
            “Well, I’d ask Ilsa if it were a bag of chips. She would never eat a plate full of cookies.”
            Mom was perplexed. She had helped her kids set out the plate of cookies for Santa and they mysteriously disappeared while she was in the basement for a brief moment with her sports-fanatic husband watching yet another college football game. He didn’t eat the cookies.
            “That dog must have done it,” Mom said, searching for the family’s adorable, yet constantly hungry black lab named Jem. “Jem, did you eat Santa’s cookies?” Jem wagged her tail, but was too lazy to lift her head.
            Mom walked back downstairs to ask the kids one more time where they thought the cookies might have gone.
            “Maybe I farted on them and they turned into the air,” Koy said with a devilish grin.
            “Maybe Jax and Koy ate them all and just aren’t telling you the truth. You should ground them,” Ilsa said, smiling. She made it her goal in life to get her brothers in trouble.
            “Mom, I didn’t eat the cookies and I have no idea what might have happened to them,” Jax said, irritated by Mom’s incessant questioning.  
            Completely annoyed with her family, Mom went to her room and turned on the Food Network channel. She muttered to herself, “Well, I didn’t eat the stinkin’ cookies.”
             Later that night when the kids were all snug in their beds with visions of iPods, iPads, and other electronic devices dancing in their heads, Mom and Dad heard noises coming from downstairs.
            Dad said, “It’s probably Ilsa trying to peek at her presents.”
            “I don’t think so. Let’s go check it out,” Mom urged.
            Mom and Dad wrapped up in their bathrobes and walked downstairs, passing Jem who figured they had everything under control. The noise had stopped before they hit the second set of stairs. The lights on the Christmas tree were shining bright.
            “I know I unplugged those lights,” Mom said.
            Dad stepped farther into the room and lifted the empty cookie plate from the coffee table.
            “The kids refilled that plate. How could they disappear again?” Mom wondered.
            Dad shrugged his shoulders and set the plate down. Mom gazed at the Christmas tree and noticed a small, handwritten note under it. The note read:

You bake such delicious cookies that I had to stop by twice. Thank you. Please hug and kiss your children every day and tell them that you love them more times than they think is necessary.
Peace on Earth and Merry Christmas, Santa
            Mom and Dad looked at each other in disbelief. Neither was sure how the note got under the tree, but both knew that the message sent was one they could live by. They hugged, said “I love you” and hustled back to bed, promising to hug and kiss their children first thing in the morning. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Christmas Letter

Since the birth of my oldest son, who is now 12, I have written a Christmas letter. It's usually the type of letter that tells friends and family we don't see all that often what our family has been up to. The past few years I've gone outside the box a bit. I wrote a poem, quoted the kids, and then made the kids create original artwork. The artwork isn't going to happen this year -- they've all ready nixed that idea. The letter is on the verge of not happening either. I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know why I can't write the letter. Well, part of the reason is because now I feel like I have to top the creativity of the last two years. Everyone was so impressed and since I'm claiming to be a writer, I have to make it good. Just like everything  else in the writing world, I have to make it unique. I have to make it stand out.

I do have one idea...a short story with my family as the characters. My only worry is that our recipients will be overwhelmed at receiving a 1-2 page letter filled with words and not pictures. It might get lost in the shuffle. Either way, this letter (if it even gets done) isn't going out before Christmas. Fa la la la la!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Synopsis complete

I wrote a 744-word synopsis for an approximately 72,000-word novel. Not an easy task, but it wasn't as hard as I envisioned. I wrote it in about an hour and then I have been revisiting it over the last several days. Yesterday, I sent out a few emails only to be halted by one company's request for a 500-word synopsis. I would have to take out two entire paragraphs. It doesn't seem right.

I've all ready received four or five rejections. I'm not too fazed by them, although I have to admit that every time I check my email I'm hoping to find that one agent asking for more information. It could happen. Until I get this agent search out of my system, I've stopped writing my next book. I'm too distracted. Christmas doesn't help matters any either. I'll update you on the status of book #3 very soon.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Writing a synopsis

As if writing a query letter isn't bad enough, I need to write a 1-2 page synopsis detailing the beginning, middle, and end of Sincerely, sad dad. I'm referring to the Writer's Market and Writer's Digest for help. They have articles outlining the basic approach to writing the synopsis, along with tips on what not to do. I think writing the plot will be semi-easy, but I'm concerned with not being able to get my voice or writing style into it. Kody can't have a sassy conversation with her best friend, Kendall, in the synopsis. My sad dad can't relay how disturbed he feels over losing his beautiful, young daughter. Mrs. Lopez and Kody's other clients can't shine through for a little comic relief. I'll have to keep reminding myself, "Just the basics, Jen, but make it sparkle."

My plan is to outline the book's main events and then add the personality later. I won't get off my butt until it's done! That's a lie. It's Christmas time and I'm not ready! I'll sit until the urge to knock items off my to-do list becomes too much, which hopefully isn't before noon.

One last thing, I lowered the price of the paperback for Sincerely, sad dad to $8.99. It is available at that price at this site: In 3-5 business days, Amazon will show that price as well. Hopefully it's in time for you to save a few bucks if you're interested in giving a new book for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My search for an agent

I decided over the weekend to try my hand at seeking the representation of a literary agent for Sincerely, sad dad. Sales are not what they were for Missing Maggie so I'm thinking I need to change things up a bit. The task is daunting to say the least. There are about a gazillion agents out there ready to send me that auto-reply e-mail saying, "Thanks, but no thanks." My first rejection came today only 25 minutes after I clicked Send. Impressive. She knew right away my work wasn't for her. Ugh.

I seriously need to change my attitude. 'Tis the season, for crying out loud! Okay, so here's what's really going to happen. I'm going to get an e-mail tomorrow (it's my birthday so it's the perfect day for great news) from an agent who can't wait to send me a three-book deal, and wants to give me a $10,000 advance. I'm not greedy. Ten thousand sounds delightful. I'll call my husband at work and he'll shout for joy. We'll go out for dinner at a pizza place because I LOVE pizza. To top it off, my kids will go the entire night without picking a fight with each other. Oh, yeah. I am totally buying a lottery ticket too. 12/12/12. Book deal or not, I'm bound to be a winner!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Giving to those that have it all

We all have those people in our lives, the ones that can buy whatever it is they want. These individuals are extremely difficult to buy Christmas gifts for. My husband and I usually settle on buying something edible. It might be wine, a box of chocolates, or that big, fat cheesecake we sometimes get a craving for. I'm hoping others in my same predicament think to buy books for their loved ones. I'll sometimes buy books or other conversation starter items. One year I even bought a box of cards essentially called conversation starters. They were intended to strike up a discussion between the young and old, drawing the perspective of both. I've thought about buying them for our family, but then dashed the idea because when else during the day would I get the chance to be completely frustrated when no one liked or ate a meal I prepared. I prefer to be angry at most meals. It's been so long I don't know any different actually. Um...I'm not sure where this is going....fa la la la la!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Even the big authors make mistakes

I've read and heard several complaints about how self-published books are filled with grammar mistakes and more. Having just finished reading Stephen King's Mile 81, it seems that even the big authors make  mistakes. This boggles me actually. Where was his editor on this one? How could someone of his caliber put something out to the public with such glaring mistakes? I counted at least seven and the book, according to my Nook, is only 52 pages long. Now, just because he made those errors, it doesn't make it okay. I still strive to do the very best I can every day. It's a battle, I tell you. BUT, it does make me feel a tad bit better knowing that the best have flaws too. After all, he is human. His stories freak me out, but he is still human.