Friday, November 15, 2013

My first full ms request

After about a month of querying, sending out 10 letters each week, I received my first request from a literary agent for the full manuscript of book #3 in the Kody Burkoff Series. My first reaction after opening the email was to step away from the computer and start doing other non-writing things. Weird, huh? I have this horrible fear of being disappointed, and this one email could either end with me popping open a bottle of champagne, or, well, with me being completely and utterly disappointed. I've promised myself not to get excited about the prospect of landing an agent. I am, however, excited that my query letter gained some attention. From what I've read on the millions of websites explaining how to write a successful query letter, there is no right or wrong way to do it. It really all depends on what the agent is looking for on that particular day, and then maybe in which direction they want to grow their careers. Being an agent can't be an easy job. I can't imagine reading hundreds of queries every week from authors like me who are waiting for their one big break, waiting for just one person to validate their work and see that it has commercial value.

I've learned a lot in the last month about my writing and about what agents are looking for. I've also learned a lot about the various genres. Some are new to me. I had no idea there was a genre called "New Adult" for those struggling 20-somethings who have everything, yet still aren't satisfied. Um...I'll keep my comments to myself for fear of sounding like a grouchy old woman.

Who knows where this one request will take me, so I'll keep trudging forward with a positive attitude. I hope you do the same with whatever your dream may be.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 11 and waaaayyyy behind

After signing up for NaNoWriMo several weeks ago, I anxiously awaited the start date. Now though, after 11 days, I'm struggling to hit 5000 words. My head has been all over the place, and I've had a serious case of avoidance - avoiding what I promised myself I would do. The baseball story geared toward 8-12 year old boys has been on my mind for months. I have the characters mapped out, the plot sort of mapped out, and it's now cold and crappy outside so I have no excuses but to sit my butt on the couch in front of the fireplace and write. Just sit down and write, Jen!!!! That's what I've been telling myself.

I have to be honest and admit that the rejections that are slowly popping up in my Inbox are not helping my motivation. At least once a day I ask myself what my purpose is and why I'm wasting my time with the whole writing business. Then, a little later on, I tell myself that if I quit now, all the time I spent over the last year was for nothing. A debilitating battle develops in my head EVERY SINGLE DAY. Oh, don't feel sorry for me. I clearly know the agony I put myself through. You know what the real kicker is? There is still a teeny, tiny part of me that thinks my writing career has a chance. UGH!!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I just signed up for NaNoWriMo (, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. The website's goal is to have authors complete a 50,000-word rough draft during the month of November. Challenging, right? Definitely. This event comes at the perfect time for me because I'm not quite ready to start on another Kody Burkoff mystery. (By the way, in case you're curious, the next Kody book will most likely include her ex-Las Vegas showgirl friend, Nancy, as the main character.) During November, I plan to try something a little different. It's been in my thoughts since last spring when I taught a creative writing class to a small group of middle schoolers. This new book will be about an eleven-year-old boy and the game of baseball. My target audience is boys between the ages of 8 and 11. With two boys of my own and a baseball fanatic for a husband, I feel I am quite qualified for this topic. Not to leave my daughter out, the boy will have a sister who loathes the game.

I jotted down some notes yesterday about the plot and feel pretty good about it. What I'm having a dilemma over now is whether to write the story in first or third person. I feel more comfortable writing in first, but it would give me an extra challenge to write it in third. I'll have to let you know what I decide.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Book #3: First query submitted

After much thought and having scoured every word of my 276-word query letter, I made my first submission yesterday. I spent about a week and a half perfecting it, with the help of my mom, so it feels pretty good to (hopefully) have someone else read it. I'll get busy sending it out to more agents. Word is that I should send out 10 queries a week. So far, I have a list of about 30 agents, which means I'll need to keep researching. I can't imagine my luck turning around in just three weeks. But, hey, you never know!

I never really discussed my plan for book #3 on this blog. Oh, and by the way, I'm using the working title, Crossing Carol. It may not be perfect, but at least it's something. All the other names I came up with were so overdone. Anyway, Crossing Carol is complete at just over 80,000 words (Yay, me!) and I plan to make agent submissions until someone accepts me. Usually at this time, I would get the book ready for self-publishing, but I want to try traditional publishing. The perk being that someone else can help with marketing (Yay, someone else!).

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Final edit compete, at least for now

Just past the deadline, I finished editing my manuscript. I'm happy, yet not ecstatic, probably because I know that if I was to start the editing process all over again, I'd make just as many changes. But...I must move on. The next step in the process is to write the dreaded query letter, luring a prospective agent to read a few pages and snag them with my excellence. I'm hoping for better luck this time. My past attempts have been futile and short-lived. I have vowed to put in more of an effort this time. I will query until I can query no more!

The synopsis is also on my to-do list. That's another daunting task. I spent almost a year writing an 80,000-word novel and am now supposed to write a three-page summary of it, double-spaced. Who came up with that idea? I bet it wasn't a writer.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Final edit of book #3 (still untitled!)

My goal was to have book #3 completely edited by the end of today. With 35 pages to go, I'm not sure if that's going to happen. UGH! My other goal was to send out my first query letter next Monday, and I'm not sure if that will happen either. UGH! But...I'm trying not to rush it, not to push something out there that I'm not entirely happy with. Deadlines or not, I'm looking at book #3 as my golden ticket. My husband hates when I refer to it like that.

Editing my own work is not my favorite thing to do because I know that no matter how hard I study each and every word, I'll miss something. Oftentimes, I'll catch myself reading the text for meaning, which isn't good. Reading for meaning won't catch grammar mistakes.

Are you wondering why I can't choose a title for book #3? Yeah, me too. It's driving me nuts, actually. Like I said though, this book is my golden ticket, and I want it to be perfect. I've been looking online for a pattern to the titles of the best sellers and have noticed that for the most part, the titles are a single word. I'm also considering moving away from the pattern I've created for myself with using the character's name in the title. Okay, so I'm leaning toward Buried Secrets. It's not a single word, but it fits the contents and has some mystery to it. I'm not sure if it will stick since plenty of other books have the same title. UGH!

Off to editing I go!

Friday, September 13, 2013

My first author presentation

I was invited to speak at the Kasson Public Library on Monday night as part of their Books and Beyond series, and I'm rather pleased with how it went. I'm also very glad that it's over and so is my dog. She had to listen to me speak out loud for hours on end as I practiced the presentation. Never having done one before, I was incredibly nervous. Public speaking isn't something I look forward too, but I'm getting better at it and feeling more comfortable. The small audience filled with friendly faces helped immensely.

My theme, or message, for the presentation was, "Everyone has a story to tell." It goes along with my books and the main character Kody Burkoff being a ghostwriter. As I told the audience, on any given day Kody hears interesting stories from the people living in her community. Her clients share with her their wonderful, disgusting, sad, depressing, and sometimes boring events from their life. These are the same stories we might hear from the people in our own communities, if only we were a little more open. For most of us, it's human nature to hide our true selves from everyone. I mean, think about it. What do you really know about your mother, father, grandmother, etc.? Probably not as much as you'd like. An example I shared the other night is when I went to the funerals of my great-grandfather and my godfather. After reading the programs, I was embarrassed to learn who those men really were. I had no idea what they did before retirement, and I had never thought to ask. If only they had left behind a memoir for me to read. I could go on and on about my dream that everyone kept a journal to share with their families, but I can't keep going on and on because this chick needs to finish editing another book. UGH!!!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Side project: Conversation Starters

My parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this weekend and I've taken it upon myself to plan a dinner date for them. They have a reservation for two at one of my favorite restaurants, The Hubble House, and I called the manager yesterday to see if it was okay that I personalize their experience a bit. She said that sounded lovely. Here's my plan: a personalized wine label is on its way, my daughter made up a few wine charms with her earring making supplies (she is a crafty one!), and I wrote a small conversation starter booklet filled with questions pertaining to marriage. Wine glasses and roses are on my list to buy today, and then I'll drop it all off on Friday afternoon so the supplies will be at the restaurant ready for the big night.

Conversation starters:

I've been married for 15 years and needless to say, when we're out by ourselves, which is a rare occasion, we oftentimes don't know what to talk about. The day-to-day drama is something we try to avoid, therefore, the silence. I can only assume that after 40 years, it gets even harder to come up with fresh ideas. The questions in my booklet are ones that ask my parents to share their favorite things about marriage, their favorite qualities in each other, advice they might want to give their kids, and others along those same lines. If only I could be a fly on the wall to hear some of their answers! Regardless, whether they laugh through them or take them seriously, I'll be one happy daughter.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Giving up on a read

I hate to do it. I hate to quit a book, especially when it's by an author that I have previously enjoyed. BUT...there are so many other books on my to-read list that I can't validate continuing to read it when I'm not completely excited about getting to the end. The book is "Flight Behavior" by Barbara Kingsolver. She is a wonderful author that uses such beautiful wording and I truly appreciate that. The plot though, is boggling. (I've been using the word "boggling" a lot lately so maybe being boggled is simply a phase I'm in.) The book is about the flight of butterflies and also the flight of life. When I say that, I mean how we sometimes all want to fly away to an unknown destination because it might be a little easier, simpler, or more fun there. We don't know that of course, and as I grow older the less I believe in that theory. Life is as simple and as fun as you make it, regardless of where you reside. BUT...I'm not gonna lie...there will always be a small part of me that wants to take off for a week or a year to test it out.

I'm moving on to another book by an author I admire. She is a master at maintaining suspense. The beginning and end of each chapter is exciting and I can't wait to pick up the book at night. The author is Lisa Gardner and the book is "The Neighbor." I'll post my rating on Goodreads. Check out her work if you haven't before.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Building characters through living life

Relationships aren't always easy. Feelings get hurt, harsh words are spoken, and emotional wounds are opened and then closed again as time passes. With this in mind, how else does an author learn to build believable characters that readers can relate to? She must live through heartache, stick her foot in her mouth a few hundred times, and admit when she is wrong. She must bask in her accomplishments, smile at simple pleasures, and genuinely be happy with those individuals that she has deemed important. All of those emotions are then relayed into her writing. A great author gives it all she has even if it pains her to do so. In the end, a reader will hear the author's life experiences through her character's words and actions, and they will both call it a success.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's my turn...

My last few posts have pretty much been morale boosters to get me back in the habit of writing. Well, today, folks, I'm going to make that happen. Two of my three kids are back in school, which means I'll have hours to myself. Hours! I'm so excited to have time to do what I want. The past six weeks my time has been theirs. We've had fun, don't get me wrong, but I'm certainly looking forward to having more control over my daily activities. For starters, I need to get organized. I need to decide what it is I want to complete first. Finish book #3 comes immediately to mind. Giving book #3 a title is second. I guess my list is done. Now for the hard part: actually doing the work. Maybe I want my kids home after all :-)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I'm up...let's do this!

It's early. I'm out of bed. The only sound I hear is the coffee percolating. Perfect conditions for writing. But where do I start? Do I continue to plan how to fix book #3 using my little black book? Do I fix the grammar and editing mistakes my reviewers pointed out? Do I start on page one of the manuscript and just jump right in? Ah, the dilemma! Okay, I think the best approach is to continue with my little black book so that I have a big picture of what needs to happen. Here are some of the requests I've received:

  • More Kody
  • More Minnesota
  • More about the creepy guy
  • Less visual imagery from Kody's brother
  • Bigger surprise at the end
The above items are all doable, but the ending is a tad bit more difficult. I have a good idea of how to ramp it up, but I must be very careful not to change too much so that the entire story isn't altered. There's no need to rewrite the entire thing! I'll report back my progress...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Getting back into the groove

I'm find my mojo. With the kids home for the summer and not much time to think about my writing, I'm finding it harder and harder to get back into the swing of things. We're staying up too late, which makes me not want to drag my butt out of bed for the best part of the day. I love the mornings when everyone is still sleeping and I can think clearly and creatively. It just isn't happening lately. My husband went back to work this morning so that should help out somewhat. I'm also meeting with my last reviewer on Thursday morning to discuss her thoughts on book #3. I'll have no other excuses to keep me from continuing my rewrites. Okay, just writing this brings me a slight glimmer of hope that I'll pick up where I left off before summer began. Please glimmer, shine brighter!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vacation was all play and no work

My family and I recently returned from a trip to Florida. Yes, we drove. Yes, it was barely tolerable by the end. We played in the sand, ocean, and pool, and spent one glorious day at Disney World. I can't dismiss our half day at Gatorland where my youngest son "wrestled" an alligator. I had coffee in my bathing suit and watched the lizards climb on the cement pavers. We scoured the roadside for a dead armadillo so my kids could actually see that incredibly odd creature. I received pictures from my husband and sons of the shark they caught on their fishing excursion. I wandered through gift shop after gift shop while my daughter searched for the perfect souvenir. We did everything we couldn't do here in good ol' Minnesota. It was delightful. I didn't even feel guilty for not opening the bag of edited manuscripts from my beloved readers. Nope, I didn't do a bit of writing. It doesn't look like I'll get much done this week either being that July 4th is just days away and the weather is actually decent. I'll get back to work soon. I promise!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Celebration of Rochester-Area Authors

I am honored to be included in the 2nd Annual Celebration of Rochester-Area Authors sponsored by the Friends of the Rochester Public Library. On July 18th from 5 to 8, I will be surrounded by individuals that share my passion for writing. It's not every day that you meet others in this profession. Most days, it is a very lonely existence, besides hanging out with the characters in your book. Fortunately, authors tend to like their fictional friends so spending time with them is hardly punishment.

As part of this glorious event, I have been asked to answer some interview questions for various publications. The answers to the questions should just roll right off my tongue, but I'm kind of struggling with what to write as part of the preliminary conversation. What is my background? How and why did I decide to start writing? Do I consider myself an area author? This last question is the toughest. When someone asks me what I "do," I still immediately say I stay home with the kids even though the kids are all school-age now. When the kids are in school, my job is to write. I want to entertain people with my stories. I want to earn a living doing what I love. To keep that dream alive, I best get busy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rewriting - wait and ponder

While the rest of my reviewers for book #3 are finishing up their comments, I wait and ponder. I do this because I need to compare their comments to the rest so that I get a clear picture of what I really want to do in the end. When I first receive feedback, I oftentimes want to immediately start making changes. That's bad. What one person doesn't like might possibly be another person's favorite part. Most of the time, however, the review comments are aligned. They are asking similar questions. They all want to know more about a specific character. So here's what I'm forcing myself to do: wait and ponder. I won't make any changes until all voices are heard. The ideas are floating around in my head or written down on paper, but they must stay there--at least for now. Patience is a virtue. I have no reason to hurry, no reason to rush this out to readers. This book just might be the best one yet!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Notification of change

I created a whole page of items to change to notify readers that Sincerely, sad dad is now Justice for Julia. Like everything else in life, it will take time. I'm quickly realizing that I need the print version of the book to show up on Amazon before making most of my changes - it makes the most sense to go to each site only once. As for really promoting the title, I can't think of how I'll do that before the Celebration of Rochester-Area Authors on July 18th. That event is the perfect occasion to display the updated copy, and to promote the upcoming third book in the series. In order to promote the new book though, I'll have to select a cover and a title. That is sooooo hard! I'll need to really put some thought into this next one. Third time's a charm, right?!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Retiring a title: "Sincerely, sad dad"

It's a done deal. Sincerely, sad dad is no more. Well, not exactly. It will still be out there in the world of the forgotten. Which brings me to a very good question. Who cleans up all that old stuff that nobody goes looking for anymore? Is there like an Internet maid service that shoves everything into boxes and puts them into storage? Anyway, I'll be proudly displaying the new cover and title for my second book within the next week. I'm waiting to receive a proof copy of the paperback from Amazon to make sure it looks perfect. Once I okay the proof, the paperback and Kindle will go live, and then I'll work on getting it onto and other sites. Not to be misunderstood, the content, the actual story, is the same. My hope is that the new cover and title will entice more readers. I'll be the first to admit that I pick up a book based on the cover, unless it is by a favorite author. How can I expect anything different from other readers?

Justice for Julia will be available very soon!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

KDP is not for me

For the last 90 days, Sincerely, sad dad has been enrolled in the exclusive KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program from Amazon. This means that only readers with a Kindle or a Kindle app can download this book. Well, they can still order a paper copy I guess, which is also an Amazon program. The KDP program allows you to promote your book for five days whenever you want. I chose five random days to offer it for free. The first weekend, I had over 200 downloads. The last single day I used, I had under 50 downloads. Sales did not improve at all during these 90 days. I gave away a lot of free books, but I'm not sure I gained any loyal readers.

Here's my thinking. The people who want free books will download everything that they find remotely interesting, knowing that they can delete it from their device after reading the first five pages if it isn't a complete masterpiece. They have nothing invested in the book so they aren't going to push themselves too hard to get through it, even if page six is a real gem. I don't like this way of thinking. I need readers to give me more of a chance. I need readers to push themselves to page seven.

Tomorrow is the last day Sincerely, sad dad is enrolled in the KDP program, and it is probably the last day to purchase a copy of Sincerely, sad dad altogether. Instead, my new and improved title, Justice for Julia, will be available in about a week. Look for a bright, beautiful cover that tells the story of a father loving his daughter and then struggling to cope with her unexpected death. Julia didn't do anything wrong, but will her father?

Changing the title and cover might be a long shot, but here goes nothing!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A facelift for "Sincerely, sad dad"

I've been debating the issue for months. Do I let "Sincerely, sad dad" continue in its downward spiral to nonexistence, or do I make some drastic changes (physically) to reel in some new readers? I'm on the path to choosing the second option. With a new photo from one of my favorite photographers, a new title, and a new pitch on the back cover, the book is all but ready to order. This morning I plan to complete the process by ordering a proof copy of the paperback so that I can verify my changes are accurate. With book in hand, I'll be able to see if the font is correct and make the final decision that this is truly the way I want to go. I feel pretty confident with my choice, but there is something tugging at me questioning whether or not this will actually "fix" the problem. I only want to do this once. Since book #3 (I just thought of a title option for it this morning!) will be coming out some time this fall, I want to be sure the other books are aligned too, which means they'll be part of my subtitle, "A Kody Burkoff Mystery."

When I first started writing, I had no idea where it would go. I didn't plan to write a series. I didn't even plan to write a second book, much less a third. Now though, it just makes sense. Kody is a fun character who has the potential to meet some very interesting people. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Young Authors, Young Artists Conference

I had the pleasure of spending my Tuesday with a few hundred aspiring authors and artists, one of which was my lovely ten-year-old daughter. I've been interested in going to the conference for a few years now so I jumped at the opportunity to chaperone. Who cares about the kids! I wanted to learn a few things.

The keynote speaker, Katie McKy, was eccentric and inspiring. She has led an incredibly adventurous life and I look forward to checking out her work. Her message to observe and listen to all that happens around you was well received. I mean, what better way to get great writing material? The environment and people nearest us are a story waiting to happen.

The first session I attended with my daughter was quite a disappointment though. The author spent most of the hour telling the students about his books and the family members that he used to create his characters. He distributed a handout that he didn't explain how to use and told the kids to start crafting a story. They were boggled, and so was I. To top it off, at the end of the class he asked the kids to help him finalize the plot of his latest book. Um, I don't think so.

Session two and three were MUCH better. The authors engaged the students and made being creative fun. Every idea was a good one and nothing was too crazy to be included in the discussion. That's the way to keep a child excited about writing!

I didn't leave empty handed either. If and when I teach another creative writing class, I have some new ideas to try. I'm already looking forward to going again next year.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Brainstorming. That's what I'm doing these days. With book #3 out for review and not much time to write because of all the end-of-the-year school activities I've signed myself up for, I spend whatever time I can thinking of different story ideas. One idea is a baseball-themed, coming-of-age story for boys between the ages of nine and twelve. I think it might be fun to switch things up a bit before I take Kody on another adventure. I'm also hoping to get an idea for a YA book since that genre is all the rage now. I'll be sitting at a middle school book fair for a few days this week and I can't think of a better place to get inspired. The library certainly isn't where all the action is so I'll have to eavesdrop as much as possible. Hee hee!

I'm also brainstorming ways to get Sincerely, sad dad more attention. My latest idea is to re-release the book under a different title and with a different cover. The story isn't as sad and dark as I currently make it out to be. I'm not sure what this change entails exactly, but I figure whatever I come up with is worth a shot. I only want to do this once though, so I can't  screw it up!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Newest book's pitch

Here's the back cover pitch I've been working on the past few days. It takes me a while because it works best if I write some and then set it aside. I just repeat that until I feel good about it. Right now, I feel good about this:

Kody Burkoff, a small-town ghostwriter specializing in the memoirs of everyday people, has a new client with a secret to hide, and it has something to do with a missing person from the early 1970’s. With her interviewing skills in top working order, Kody vows to help Evelyn Smith create a memoir of her life before marriage and children, while listening for clues to this mystery that her client says will never pass through her lips. Kody’s curiosity and Evelyn’s refusal to back down to her past and relinquish control of her future combine to reveal more than the person's ultimate destination. More secrets are exposed and Kody is once again left wondering if her amateur sleuthing is to blame, or if it is truly something to celebrate. In Evelyn’s case, it might be a little of both. The truth is what she has always known, yet never been able to grasp.

Now, on to choosing a title!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Another wonderful book club

I spent yesterday afternoon discussing my first book, "Missing Maggie," with some marvelous women at their monthly book club meeting. I have to admit, I was nervous. My palms were sweaty and it wasn't because it nearly hit one hundred degrees outside. Once I entered the building though, and met the host and a few of the other ladies, my nerves calmed. It was also helpful to see a familiar face. Thanks, Judy!

After I introduced myself and told them why and how I became a writer, the conversation took off. It was invigorating to hear that they liked my work and that "Missing Maggie" inspired them to think of their own memories that they had yet to share with anyone. I mean, why don't we share more funny stories about our childhood with our own children? Is it because they don't ask? Is it because we might get embarrassed? I firmly believe that our own "stories" are book-worthy material. Not everything has to be fiction. I include a lot of personal events in my writing.

I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with these fellow readers and lovers of literature. It's  also just fun to sit and chat with a group of women. So thank you, ladies. I had a lovely afternoon!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers are encouraging

Happy Mother's Day! I've had a great day with my kids and husband. Their gift choices were spot on too. I will now be able to run in some sparkly new shoes and smell wonderful afterward because I received not one, but three bottles of bubble bath. That sounds like a lot, but I do enjoy time in the tub with a good book. What mother doesn't?

Speaking of mothers, I have one of the best. She has that "Well, why not?" attitude when it comes to trying new things and exploring new possibilities. This was especially helpful when I started writing...and then publishing. As scary as it all seemed to let others read my work, she was an encouraging factor. She never once doubted my ability. She never said, "It's possible you might fail." The idea didn't even cross her mind. Her positivity, along with everyone else's in my family, keeps me going. They keep me going in writing and in life. I can only hope they feel the same about me.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book #3 is out for review

Finally! I've been trying for weeks to get a draft copy of my third book in the hands of my trusted reviewers. Life and my other obligations have gotten in the way, leaving me no time to write. A writer with no time to write - sounds like a problem. This draft is 4500 words longer than my past books and I'm very happy with that because my goal was to extend the word count and prolong the ending. If you've read my other books, you know the endings are fast and furious. Well, not this time. I guess I'll see what the others think.

Can I tell you how appreciative I am of my reviewers? They are the best. They point out the flaws, even the ones I know are there, but am trying to hide. They tell me what they don't like, what they don't understand, and ask what my reason is for including a character nobody sees the purpose in. They also freely underline sentences that make them smile or paragraphs that remind them of someone in their life. Above all else, they are encouraging and they believe in me. What more can a writer ask for?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Creative writing class is complete

My first opportunity to teach middle school students creative writing is over. Yesterday was our last scheduled class and we celebrated with a pizza party. We did a little writing from different points of view too, but  it was beautiful outside and the promise of free food hung in the air like a piece of steak being dangled over my dog's nose. Yeah, they were a bit distracted.

While they munched on their pizza, I asked them what they enjoyed about class and what they were hoping I had covered. Character development was good. My rambling about plot too long was bad. The various writing prompts were good. My not covering word choice was bad, but in my defense, if we hadn't cancelled last week's class, word choice was on my agenda. The students also wanted to learn more about editing. Next time, I'll work harder to get a room with a smart board so we can do that. Apparently those rooms are a hot commodity and I need to throw a bigger fit to get into one of them.

Will I do it again? Yes. Will I make a few changes? Yes. Did I learn something along the way? Yes. What was my favorite part? Learning that the students love to write as much as I do.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ideas come at the strangest times

While I was driving my kids home from school yesterday, my daughter told me a story about...well, about something. I was only half listening because an idea came to mind of how I could fix a trouble spot in my latest book. Why it chose that moment to pop into my brain is beyond me. Was it something she said? I don't know. Like I said, I was only half listening. When I told her to hang on so I could write the idea down in my handy-dandy mini notebook I kept in my purse, she grew silent. She caught on that my actions were completely rude and that I probably had no idea what she was talking about. After I finished writing, I asked her to back up and try the story again. She did so, but with less enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I still don't remember what that story was about. It's either poor parenting or my kids talk too much.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Running behind schedule

I'm so behind schedule with my rewrites for book #3, so much so that I'm still having to call it book #3. UGH! My mind is in ten different places at once and it is plain ol' distracting. I don't know how to stop it. Calgon, take me away! Is that stuff even around anymore and did I spell it correctly? I remember the commercials from when I was a kid: a mom is soaking in the tub while all chaos erupts outside the bathroom door. Enough with my ramblings. I don't have time for that. Today on my agenda is bouncing with my almost four-year-old nephew...literally bouncing. Um, there seems to be more snow on the ground, so what else are we supposed to do?

Tonight I shall work.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day 4 of creative writing class

So much better than last week! I left the school feeling happy and accomplished instead of weary and flat. My son shared my enthusiasm, which is a great indicator that class went better this week. He is a horrible liar and can't hold back when it comes to sharing his misery.

Yesterday's class focused on the opening line or paragraph of a novel and how truly important it is when you are attempting to grab a reader's attention. The opening line also usually tells you a lot about the type of book it is. I compiled a two-page list of favorite lines from a writing website and then brought some books from home that I passed around for everyone to take turns reading. Part of the time was spent talking about our favorite books and offering suggestions on what others should read, which I loved. Part of the time was spent discussing the power of a single sentence and how best to start their own stories. Hopefully, they all got the point I was trying to make, the point every author should make: begin a book with intrigue to hook your reader right away.

The second half of class we created a story together using different colored note cards. We wrote down our main ideas and character actions, and then placed the cards on the floor to see how the story progressed. This exercise was a lot of fun (with a lot of crazy ideas!) and it also gives the students another way to organize their stories at home.

Friday, April 12, 2013

My first expo

I've experienced a lot of firsts since beginning my new career as an author and this weekend will be no different. My sister and I will be spending our Saturday at the Dodge County Expo in Dodge Center, MN. We're sharing a booth and will be sharing plenty of smiles as we attempt to gain more patients (my sister is a chiropractor) and readers (you guessed it, those are for me!). She even went out last night to buy candy as a ploy. I'm pretty sure it will work too. Just like kids, adults love free stuff, especially food.

My goal this weekend is to pass out my entire collection of business cards and postcards, sell a few paperback copies, and make a memorable impression on the thousand or so people attending the expo while at the same time entice them into believing that my product is worthy of their purchase. If I merely get one hundred people to download a sample of one of my two books, it will be a good day. Oh, who am I kidding? If maybe a dozen take the time to download a sample, it will be worth my time. I'll be happy for whatever I can get. That's what life is all about, right? Being happy with what you get, but continuously striving to get more, regardless of what "more" you're trying get. That was really confusing.

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 3 of creative writing class

I went to class today prepared to lead a very informative discussion on how to best prepare a story's plot. I made copies of material from a writing class I took a few weeks ago. I printed off examples of different outlines to help get the students organized. I had exercises that we didn't have time for...ugh! I want to kick myself for not taking their not-so-subtle hints. You know, the wandering eyes, the dead silence, my son humming a song. They were bored. They were wishing I would shut up so we could do a fun writing exercise like we had done in weeks past. I didn't listen to their cues. I instead stayed the course - my course.

Unfortunately, none of this hit me until about an hour ago. I was blaming spring break for their not being as attentive. I now realize that I must have a better mix of lecturing and exercises. We should talk, then we should do. More do! More do!

Characters are better in the end

Spring break is over and it's back to work and school for most of my family. I say most because two of my three kids still have one week left to do as they wish due to the year-round schedule their school uses. However, without going into too many details, I will get some time this week to work on my rewrites for book #3.

After reading only four chapters of the book, I realized changes were necessary. Here's the reason why. When I sit down to write a book, I begin with some characters in mind. These characters are even outlined in separate files. In these files, I type out their quirks, flaws, who they love, who they despise, etc. It isn't until I get to the heart of the story though that I really know these fictional people, and usually they change somewhat or almost entirely from what I initially envisioned. So, after completing a manuscript, a character in the beginning doesn't always match up with the character in the end, which means more work for me. But since I know my characters very well by the end, I also usually know what changes to make in the beginning. I know how a character will react in situations. I know what tone of voice he or she will use. Just like I know what my spouse is going to say before he says it. I just know.

Today I'll hopefully fix up the first four chapters and be able to move on. At the moment, I have the manuscript divided into approximately 40 chapters, which means this rewrite might take longer than anticipated. Isn't that the truth about everything?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Free downloads

As part of selling Sincerely, sad dad exclusively through Amazon, I am given five promotional days every 90 days to flaunt my stuff. I am choosing to have the book available for free for five days, two of which I scheduled for this weekend. So far, I have just over 203 downloads. Add that to the 193 from one day of "sales" a few weeks ago and you get 396. Sure, I get nothing in return, monetarily. But, 396 people thought my book was worth the look. That's something to be happy about!

Missing Maggie is still available at other online locations besides Amazon. I'm giving Sincerely, sad dad a 90-day trial to see how I like the setup. This little experiment will help me make a decision when book #3 is ready this fall. We shall see!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 2 of creative writing class

Day 2, or week 2, of class focused on a story's setting and creating unique, well-rounded characters. Some parts turned out better than others. For writing examples, I whipped out selections from my college anthology, which I thought was a good idea on my part. Well, my son told me he had no idea what we were reading and didn't understand why we were reading them. Okay, so the selections were a bit advanced. I will do better next time.

The time we spent talking about character traits went well, but it wasn't how I had written it on my agenda. I had planned for us to create characters on the spot and then share our work. Instead, the students went around the room verbalizing their character and plot ideas, making it a free for all. A small part of me was bothered that we weren't sticking to my plan, but then I told that part of me to cool it. These students were thinking creatively, sharing their thoughts, and smiling and laughing at the same time. They worked hard all day, and why not end the day on a positive note by surrounding yourself with others who share your passion. So, I have since declared our class to be more of a support group than anything. I'll still work to improve their writing by going more in-depth with the various aspects of writing. I'll still demand that we stay positive and respect the ideas of others. But, I'll also allow the students to have fun and help guide the class for better learning.

Looking forward to Day 3 when we'll talk about plot.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What to do after you write a first draft

There is a ton to do after writing the first draft of a manuscript. First, you must quietly congratulate yourself. I say quietly because no one else around you will really understand the exact feeling of euphoria you feel for having completed such an exhausting task. Second, you must get back to work! Here's my to-do list:

  • Choose a title
  • Write a draft synopsis
  • Send emails to my pre-readers who will read my second draft and supply comments
  • Print first draft and re-rewrite on paper (This will take a while, but it is essential.)
  • When happy with the second draft, send it to pre-readers for their input
  • Take a break and write summary of book #4 (The longer you can distance yourself from your work, the better. You'll be able to see more mistakes this way.)
These are just the basic steps toward finishing a manuscript. You must also doubt yourself, get angry, be proud, and go through at least one new red pen during this endeavor. But, hey, the upside is that you have something to work with. You aren't just starting at word one.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dear Mother Nature,

I don't mean to be rude, but today's snowstorm cancelled my creative writing class for the second week in a row. My son said he was actually going to show up this time! I was completely prepared to have fabulous conversations about audience, settings, and characters. Sure, it can wait until next week -- I suppose. The real dilemma is that the students won't have time to write and then submit a story for the library's writing contest. I had such high hopes.

On another note, if you're so desiring to prolong winter, then how about telling the stores to cool it with their plethora of shorts and tank tops. How is my daughter ever going to wear the cute spring dresses we bought yesterday if the ground is still covered in a foot of snow? Oh, and can we get rid of the commercials with the people bouncing around in their backyards getting their gardens ready? Enough already!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Writing class in Zumbrota

It has been at least three years since I participated in a writing class, but that is all about to change tomorrow, if one more person signs up that is. The class tomorrow is supposed to help me clean up my first draft by showing me where to cut down scenes to make them more clear, less wordy. Sometimes authors, including myself at times, think that their words are so magnificent that each one is too important to delete. This oftentimes clutters the page, leaving a boring, unfulfilled mess for the reader. The thing is, authors have a hard time seeing the mess right away. It's important for them to distance themselves from their work so that when they get back to it, they'll see the flaws more easily.

I'm not taking my own advice at the moment. Since proclaiming my first draft complete, I started reading it at about the halfway mark. I wrote several comments to myself and am filling in some of the areas that had me confused. Once that is complete, I'll try to take two weeks off before rewriting it from the beginning. It's hard though because I'm anxious to get it in the hands of my pre-readers as I like to call them. I need their eyes to point out my mistakes and weak spots. For some reason, I have no patience!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another first draft complete

Wow! And to think I doubted my abilities to write just one novel, let alone three. This third book certainly had its ups and downs though. I went through my typical mood swings while writing it. One month I was feeling the characters, while the next I didn't know where the plot was headed. I essentially took off the month of December because my thoughts were so convoluted with obtaining material possessions for the holiday season that an office job entered my mind AGAIN. I belittled myself, picked myself back up, scolded the sad, demeaning me, and cheered on the woman that wanted to continue fighting the battle. Today, a Monday, a snow day for the kids, I will rejoice in my accomplishment and play games with the kids until they beg me to go away. Tomorrow, I will begin the grueling process of rewriting and go through the roller coaster of emotions all over again. Sometime it is so hard being me!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Word count is right on target

Oddly enough, book #3 is on target for being completed with approximately the same number of words as my past two books. I can't figure it out. I don't mean for it to happen. I don't start out with any particular goal in mind. It just happens. I surpassed 71,000 words yesterday and have one or two more chapters to write. Ideally, I wanted this book to be longer with the goal of getting the page count into the 300's. Most books I read have 300-some pages. With rewrites, I should be able to accomplish this goal. If not, well then, I won't be too heartbroken. It is what it is, as my husband says. As long as the story is captivating, I've done my job.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 1 of creative writing class

It was amazing! I only ended up with three eighth-grade girls (my son accidentally took the bus home because he can't remember anything), but these girls were serious about writing. I mean serious. They shared with me that they already had notebooks filled with story ideas and that they usually wrote on a daily basis. I wasn't expecting that. When I was in eighth grade, being a writer was the farthest thing from my mind. I still wanted to be a marine biologist, which was a big stretch for a ND girl.

My goal for the first day was to get to know the students and then help them brainstorm some story ideas so that they'd be ready for next week's class. Well, we skipped the brainstorming part since that clearly wasn't necessary, and instead had a conversation about where our ideas came from, whether it was from looking out the window, listening to music, reading, or just sitting alone. I was really impressed with the care and thought the girls put into their work, and the passion they demonstrated. I look forward to seeing them again next week so that we can discuss setting and characters. The only problem I foresee is not having enough material to go over with them. I'll need to delve much deeper into the art of writing to make the class worthwhile for them. Oh, the other dilemma is to stop my son from automatically getting on the bus so that he can learn a few things from these girls.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Not enough students?

So far, it looks like my pursuit of teaching a creative writing class to middle school students is floundering. Only three kids are signed up, one of which is my son, so it doesn't look promising. Bummer! I was really looking forward to it. But I totally get it. What kid wants to spend an extra two hours at school sitting at a table with a pencil in her hand? It doesn't sound very appealing when you put it that way. Maybe I'll have to suggest a Saturday class or a summer session. We can write outside so that it doesn't feel like work. The class doesn't start until Monday so there's still time for more kids to sign up. I won't give up all hope.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Giving Amazon Prime a try

Sincerely, sad dad is now available to Amazon Prime members at no cost when they elect to borrow this title from the lending library. I recently read a blog post from a more established writer and she made it sound pretty wonderful. So, since Sincerely, sad dad isn't gaining momentum on its own, I thought I'd give this Amazon program a try for the next three months. The only catch is that I cannot sell a downloadable copy of the title anywhere else, which means it is no longer available through iTunes or from Sales at those sites were less than desirable anyway. I'm not expecting anything mind-blowing from this trial, but you never know. At this point in my life, it doesn't take a whole hell of a lot!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Finished with my first "cozy mystery"

I recently finished reading my first book that is considered a "cozy mystery." It was good, but not great. The beginning was slower than I like and some of the fluffy material, as I like to call it, didn't interest me too much. The story got better, more characters were introduced, and the ending finished somewhat unpredictably, which was nice.

Not a great review, huh? I wanted to love it. I wanted to get done with it and say, "Yes, this is where I belong." I have three more "cozy" titles on my nightstand so I'm not giving up. My writing is similar in a lot of ways, but hopefully it's a tad bit more exciting. I also think I add more humor, which to me makes the book more fun to read. Or perhaps it only makes it more fun to write.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Do dreams have deadlines?

Do dreams have deadlines? I'm thinking so. I'm about at my breaking point. The dream to succeed is losing out to my fear to fail. It's an intense battle, I tell you. The blaze is burning high; the emotional strain is at maximum levels. I'm giving the dream until September. I'm not exactly sure what sort of payout I'm looking for between now and then, but whatever it is has to be better than how I'm feeling about things now. UGH!!! Another venting post...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Checking out the cozies

On my last trip to the library, I loaded up on books by the top "cozy" authors as according to a cozy website I recently discovered. I immediately noticed how different the covers were from the mysteries/thrillers I usually read. They are more playful and almost cartoonish. I'm only about 30 pages into my first one so it's too early to make judgement. So far I'm enjoying it. I'm really trying to see how my work compares--still trying to figure out where I belong. I've come a long way in my search, but I don't think it's quite complete. I'm actually shocked at how different my work is compared to what I read. When I first started writing, I was comparing myself to James Patterson and Sandra Brown. Hey, at least I aim high! Now, I realize how far off I was. My stories are gentler, more subdued. They include death and love, but not nearly to extent of how those popular writers portray it. Wherever I fit in, I truly enjoy the stories I write. A lot of thought goes into the characters I create because they are what interest me the most. I'll keep reading my "cozy" books and cross my fingers that I've finally found a home.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dreams and sacrifice

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” 
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

I'm having a hard time lately justifying the sacrifices I'm making and how they affect my family. Because of my desire to pursue my dream, my family doesn't necessarily get all the things they want. Sure, they get me 24/7, but they don't get the material items or the vacations they dream about. I tell myself it's only temporary.  Everything is temporary. They probably don't even see it the same way. I'll look back ten years from now and be glad for making the many sacrifices. In the mean time, I need to get over this guilt. It's weighing on me like a heavy blanket. BUT, if J.M. Barrie is correct, my dream will come true and it will all be worth it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Reader reviews

As I check out other self-published novels on Amazon, I can't help but notice some authors' blatant attempts at recruiting more readers. I want more readers too, but to have your friends and family write up multiple paragraphs about how wonderful your book is, well, that's just plain obvious. As a reader, I'm skeptical of those books. I'm more apt to read a book with a few bad reviews than one with 11 five-star reviews, especially if the book was just recently published. Sure, my mom and mother-in-law gave me five-star reviews on my books, but they have to! They're moms! I would do the same for my son or daughter. The rest of my reviews though, I want friends of friends or complete strangers to review my work. How else will I get better? What else will drive me to produce an even better novel? Oh, by the way, this next one is already better. I can't wait to share it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

When the writing just flows

I'm proud to say that I wrote 2000 words yesterday for book #3. What can I say? Words were pouring from my fingers. Now, this only happens once in a blue moon because I usually get stuck and end up rewriting one paragraph over and over again to get it just right, even though I'll rewrite it again when I'm finished with the whole thing. Speaking of finishing, my husband sort of challenged me to finish the book by mid-March. That might actually be feasible since this new outline I've worked up is still working. I see the end. I see where the characters are when the story is done. What a sense of relief. There's nothing like being stuck in the middle of a book not knowing where to go next. Like many other authors have said, the middle is the worst to write. When you get that great story idea, you can picture the beginning and ending, but the middle you tell yourself you'll figure out in time. Well, that figuring out time period can get pretty lengthy. Here's to another great day of writing!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Reading buddy

I was at my kids' school the other day volunteering as a reading buddy for a couple of kindergartners and I must say they are the cutest little things ever. My youngest is only a year out of that grade so it brought back a lot of great memories. He's since picked up some attitude. It's either because first grade is much cooler or my older kids' behavior has worn off on him. I usually blame the older ones. It couldn't possibly be my little boy's fault!

Reading to your child is soooooo important that I don't mind taking time out of my day to work with a student or two to give them a little more practice. Every little bit helps. Now I get to look forward to hearing them improve. That's the best. Whether it's a few extra sight words or better fluency, it's all worth it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rewriting the rewrite

Book #3, as I like to call it, has been a pain in my butt for months now. I just haven't been able to get it right...until today. Well, maybe. I've rewritten the final 1/3 of the book's outline too many times to count. Things just weren't coming together. Characters weren't cooperating with each other or with the plot. Today though, I wrote for four hours and I think I came up with a solid idea for the remainder of the story. The only problem I foresee is opening the file tomorrow and thinking that what I did today is complete crap. I'm one of those kind of writers. I like to write, leave it alone for a while, and then read and rewrite. It takes a miserably long time this way, but it's the only way I feel good about my work. The stuff that goes on the page each day isn't pure magic. It's like a potion recipe that's missing an ingredient or two.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book basket for auction

My kids' school is having a silent auction in a few weeks and I plan to put together copies of my books along with some other book-related items. I've been searching for a unique but inexpensive book bag and am not finding anything. If only I could sew. The bags online look so simple. My daughter has a brand-new sewing machine that she swears she'll only bring out if one of her grandmothers is here. We tried experimenting with it one day and I thought it went well. Apparently not well enough. I've been banished.

As for other basket items, I thought of a nice bookmark, a book light, and that's all I really came up with. When it comes to crafting I'm completely lost. My brain shuts down. It goes completely blank. When I tried to create a tablescape (term I picked up from Sandra Lee on the Food Network channel) to sell my books one other time, my husband organized it all. He put boxes under the tablecloth to show depth. He maneuvered items this way and that way. I stood back and watched. I'm not sure what happened in the womb. It must have already been fabulously decorated because my creativity did not extend in the crafting direction. I MUST STICK TO WORDS.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Planning for a writing class

I spent several hours today working on plans for the 6-week creative writing class I'll be teaching after school at my son's school starting in March. Along with my own ideas for writing exercises, I found some good ones in a few of the writing books I purchased during my journey through writing my first novel. Each class is one hour fifteen minutes so it isn't a lot of time, but hopefully it's just enough time to say what I have to say without them getting bored or me panicking because I sense their boredom. Since I'm not a teacher and I typically sit at home writing all day by myself, my public speaking skills aren't as strong as maybe they should be. I'm not sure how to improve upon that except for just doing it and learning from my mistakes. I pondered the idea of practicing in front of my family, but that seems like it might end in disaster. I'd get mad because they wouldn't listen to me. What's new? So, yeah, I'm going to have to wing it. I've coached first grade soccer before. That should count for something.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Writing beyond 50,000 words

50,000 words is a lot. It's a lot, but not nearly enough. This time around my goal is 80,000 words, which I actually think is attainable because I really do feel like I'm about 3/4 of the way done writing this manuscript. Last week I started reading and editing it from the beginning to make sure my main character is who I want her to be. She still needs some work, but I added enough comments to refer to later. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time fixing it up perfectly when I'm not all that certain how the book will end. I wish I knew how it was going to end. I've written out several endings, but none of them seem to stick. I did find another twist I added before I took a break from writing in December. That was exciting to see. I think the reader will enjoy it too. I know I was pleasantly surprised to see it again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Too many social networking sites

I've created accounts for every social networking site I'm aware of and am most definitely doing a half-ass job at maintaining all of them. Seriously, who has the time to update them all? The only online site I attend to regularly is this blog and I'm not even sure this counts. Twitter is my latest. I've tweeted a few times and those were amazing tidbits of earth-shattering information. NOT! Pinterest is the most boggling. My mom and sister have pinned my books somewhere, but when I do a search, I don't see them. My searches don't even find my mom. What the hell? Facebook. Eh. Kind of getting tired of that one. LinkedIn. Don't know what to do with that. It's not like I have a regular job. What else is there? I'm on a role. Oh, I check out Goodreads to see if any one's added my books to their shelf. I also keep that updated with what I'm reading. Does anyone really care? Apparently, I need to find someone or a class to enroll in to help me use these networking sites to my advantage. Another item to add to my list of things I won't do...I swear I'm in a good mood today...just slightly frustrated!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Me? A teacher? I'll give it a try!

I said yes. I agreed to teach a creative writing class through Community Education at my son's middle school. After receiving an email from one of his teachers suggesting the idea, the thought has consumed me. I've actually typed out some ideas and am constantly thinking of how to best help the students get their creative juices flowing. She mentioned in her email that the students don't get much of a chance to write fiction, which is a shame, but understandable. There is only so much time in a day with plenty of important topics to learn. This class will be after school and the students will have to sign up for it, which means they'll want to give this other type of writing a try. This is something they'll do on their own time. I'll need to keep it interesting for my sake as much as theirs.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Opportunities to share my writing passion

Two new and exciting opportunities to share my passion for writing have developed in the past few days. First, I was asked to visit a book club in town when they gather in May to discuss Missing Maggie. I love that! After having joined two other groups in the past, I feel confident in being able to answer questions and take any suggestions the members might have. I'm sure I'll still feel nervous because I think this one is a bit larger than I'm used to, but there will be at least one friendly face in the crowd. The other opportunity that awaits me, if I accept the challenge, is to teach a creative writing class at my son's middle school. Me? A teacher? Well, maybe. It scares the bejesus out of me though! My husband, the professional educator, says I should stretch myself, make myself uncomfortable. He's right (I hope he doesn't read this!). Accepting this challenge is exactly what I need. Plus, the kids in the class will want to be there. They'll be interested in hearing what I have to say. They, too, are aspiring writers. It's a lot to think about. So far, I only have ideas in my head, nothing written down. The class wouldn't be offered until May so I have plenty of time to prepare. I have butterflies just thinking about it. I'll let you know what I decide.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Let the characters lead the way

With a better direction in mind, I've decided to start editing book #3, an unfinished manuscript, from the beginning. This comes after taking nearly a month off from writing, which wasn't deliberate, but it was helpful and healthy. I spent part of that time researching agents and sending out query letters. The other part was spent reexamining the type of writer I wish to become. Do I want to pump out books with only the plot in mind? Do I want to add in sex scenes that popular books are delivering to millions of readers? Do I stay true to the person I am and write a mystery with characters I love? I vote for number three, which is why I'm starting back at the beginning and not at the climax of the story, which is where it sits at this moment. I want to be sure that the characters are believable and they have a relationship with each other. In the past I've written about a couple, a father-child relationship, and this time it's a mother-daughter relationship. I can't get this wrong. Of course something devastating happens to destroy this natural bond, but can it ever really disappear? Can it ever be so broken that no word or action can mend it? I truly don't know and that's what I hope to discover by rereading the manuscript. I hope to find that the characters will tell me the answer.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Yes, I see the difference!

Yes, I've read many NY Times best sellers and I see the difference! I've also read plenty of books that weren't on that list that I liked just as much or more. I fully understand that my writing is not for all audiences and that it isn't at that caliber YET, but give a girl a chance! The agents I'm contacting about Sincerely, sad dad are looking for the next book to push their career/agency over the edge. I can't blame them. I would do the same if I were in their shoes, as frustrating as it is. I just need one agent to believe that I can make the top 100 books of the year or something. Is that too much to ask? It seems I've resorted to begging and pleading. That's so not cool.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Aha! Cozy Mysteries!

So, I've seen the term "cozy mystery" a few times here and there, but it never really got my attention for whatever reason. Today, I decided to google it and was astonished at what I read. One site ( described my books to a tee. I had no idea that what I was writing was a cozy mystery! Right off the bat I'm hesitant to categorize myself so quickly for fear of deterring mainstream mystery/suspense/thriller readers. However, Janet Evanovich was listed throughout the site and I like to think my main character, Kody Burkoff, has some resemblance to her Stephanie Plum character. I'll keep researching and tag some books to read. Reading is knowledge!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolving to maintain hope

I could make up a lot of stuff I hope to accomplish in the new year, but I won't. I don't like disappointment. All I feel comfortable saying is that I wish to maintain hope for my new career. I wish to not give up. I wish to keep pounding the keyboard until I've written the best stinkin' book I'm capable of. That's just on a professional level. I, of course, also hope that my family stays healthy, my daughter's mouth doesn't cost us too much at the orthodontist, my son plays that damn trumpet we're on a payment plan for, my youngest son doesn't break a bone or someone else's bone, my husband and I can take a vacation WITHOUT the kids, and then peace on earth. I don't ask for much. Happy New Year!