Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So, How Do We Jump In Again?

I'd like us to flex our collective writing muscles a bit. It hasn't been that long of a blog break, but it feels like an eternity. Not sure why. So I'd like us to kind of get used to each other again, throw a little bit of writing out there.

So let's do a little dialogue exercise. Admit it -- effective dialogue is challenging. Let's write a little and see what we come up with.

Your task: Write 6 to 10 lines (with "line" being one character's spoken text, regardless of sentence number) of compelling dialogue between two characters, in order to flesh out the scene below.

The scene: In the midst of a furious rainstorm, Prunella and Egbert reach the thick, stone doorway that leads to the Ruined City of Cliche. Prunella, who has secretly fallen in love with Egbert along the way, asks him to hand her the Secret Talisman that he has kept hidden in his sock in order to put himself at greater risk along the way. Unexpectedly, he turns to face her, his expression dark...

Remember, the POV is Prunella's, and the betrayal/moment of disclosure needs to unfold via dialogue.

DON'T EMAIL ME ANYTHING! (She screams...) Instead, post your dialogue in the comment box below. I will check the comments periodically over the next day or two and create a new post for each excerpt, so that readers can leave feedback/critique.

Your goal: Effectively flesh out a pivotal scene using strong dialogue and a minimum of narrative. Beats and internal dialogue are encouraged.

And feel free to continue along my sardonically spoofy vein...or to create a completely serious scene. Let creativity reign!

Have fun...

Monday, June 29, 2009

What Life's Really About

And...she's back!

I'll start by saying that your support and enthusiasm for my having finished my WIP prior to vacation has stayed with me. I think I'll be riding that wave for a long time.

We all need a little affirmation from time to time, yanno? So I hope you all get back what you've given, just when you need it most.

My prattling on about vacation may have left you with visions of sunny beaches or sprawling lakes or endless leisure time with the occasional strawberry daiquiri thrown in. All, of course, whilst resting in the loving arms of Mr. Authoress.

Um. None of the above.

(Well, maybe a little of the loving arms bit.)

Our vacation was really more of a trip--a journey to family and friends, to relationships forged in the dawn of time (not really).

Okay, so that's a purplish way to say College Reunion. And introducing-an-old-high-school-friend-to-my-husband. A male high school friend.

You're on the edge of your seat, right?

The reunion was a direct result of Facebook, my addiction-that-isn't-an-addiction-anymore-now-that-I've-discovered-Evony. You may or may not know by now that I majored in music. It was a small, private school, and everyone in the music department knew everyone else. So a classmate and I organized a reunion for five classes of music majors, since there were so few of us in each graduating class.

Yes, Mr. A was included. He and I met at college. I hated him then, but that's another story.

So we had a brilliant time with dear friends (and the occasional annoying person you could've done without). Most poignant point? My flu-vaccine-damaged friend who flew to the reunion from several states away, pumped high on steroids so that he could get through the evening without falling over. Most laugh-inducing point? My old roommate (and one of the dearest people on earth) telling a story of how she dropped one of her organ shoes on the way to her lesson, and when she went back out in the snow to search for it, the snowplough had already come through, and her shoe was poised on the top of a huge mound of freshly ploughed snow. Oh. And she's 4'11''.

No, really. You had to be there.

Most ego-boosting point? Being told that I looked great. "The same," even.

On second thought, the most ego-boosting point probably occurred when my classmate answered the door and gave me a hug. She pulled back, looked me over, and exclaimed, "Your boobs grew!"


Most blasted-into-the-past-by-a-subspace-anomaly point? Breakfast in the lounge of the Hampton Inn the next morning. All those college friends and classmates sitting around at small tables, drinking coffee and eating disgusting food? It was too much like college to believe.

It was amazing.

The majority of our visit was spent at my parents' home, though I was able to get away for some time with another college roommate who couldn't make the reunion. This is a woman who knows me better than anyone on earth--with Mr. A being the exception by a slim margin. She introduced the word "fart" into my life (we called them "stinkers" growing up) and reminds me even today of every single crush I ever had during college (mostly unrequited, I might add).

And then there was the evening we spent with my oldest friend of all--the guy who gave the best back rubs in town and who was never more than a friend.

Stop smirking. It's true.

And wonder of wonders! He and Mr. A hit it off. Swimmingly. We even met again the next day to see the Star Trek movie together. Now, picture me sitting between my husband and an old (male) high school friend in the movie theatre.

Okay, maybe that was a little weird.

We rounded up the trip with a day at Mr. A's relatives in the mountains, and a day with my dear sister and her family.

Lots of driving. LOTS of driving. It's a good thing Mr. A and I get along most of the time.

And yes, we spent a couple evenings going through my first draft, though we didn't get as far as I had hoped. He was as brutal as I knew he'd be. But he also made me laugh. Belly laugh. I'm pretty sure I scared the neighbors.

So here I am, ready to jump into real life again. Though the "real" bit doesn't ring true, since it's the treasured relationships into which I sowed the majority of my vacation time that are "real" in the truest sense. I don't have a tan, I don't feel all relaxed and sorted out. But I feel richer. More complete. Satisfied.

And thankful. It's astounding how you can simply pick-up-where-you-left-off sort of thing with old friends. Except you're both more mature, better able to express your thoughts and feelings.

One college classmate actually said to me, "You hated me freshman year." I looked right at him and said, "No, I didn't. You just annoyed me."

There's no way we would have had that conversation in college.

Anyway, it's time to move on with life and this blog. Our next Secret Agent contest will run the week of July 13. Stay tuned for submission guidelines et al. This month's contest will include a lottery, but will not be automated. I'm hoping to get the automation in place by the time August's contest rolls around.

Questions? Comments? Happy thoughts? I'd love to see you in the comment box! Thanks for sticking around.

Onward we go!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I did it.

You helped me do it.

The first draft of my very first young adult dystopian SF novel (that's quite a mouthful) stands completed at 86,405 words. Precisely.

May the ripping-to-shreds begin! But first--vacation.

And perhaps just a teeny-tiny


Can you keep the fire burning while I'm gone? Feel free to pop into the comment box as often as you'd like over the next week and a half or so. I would LOVE to curl up and read the conversation that ensues.

See you all at the end of the month!

*happy dancing her way offstage left*

Monday, June 15, 2009

Down To The Wire

Well, I estimated that my novel would be 80,000 words long. I hit the 80,000 within my time schedule, before vacation. As planned.


The story's not finished. And I'm stuck in quagmire up to my earlobes, right at the beginning of The Big Exploding Chapter.

Stuck. Stressed out. Needing to do laundry and pack and deal with all the little irritations nobody really has time for when they're trying to leave town.

Like mice in my pantry.

All that to say...I could use some "positive writing thoughts" today. In a few hours I will have my treasured Writing Time, during which I will either break through or I won't.

And, oh yes. I'm a perfectionist. As in, not finishing before Wednesday=abject failure.

I know, I know. Do the laundry, get your butt out the door, enjoy your vacation. I will! It's just...you know how it is.

*Waiting for the Story Fairy to come finish the climax for me.*

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Fricassee

Well, you've done it again. You've left an amazing collection of comments worth reading over again. And I know your words of advice and encouragement (and empathy!) aren't ministering to me alone. I imagine you're speaking to an awful lot of I'm-the-same-boat writers.

And while I do thank you, Meg, for the huggles (I'll take those any time!), there really wasn't anguish in my "What are you willing to set aside?" question. It's a hard reality sort of question that we all need to face. And "set aside" doesn't necessarily mean "send to the compost heap." It might, but not necessarily.

My battle plan is--and has been--to shop this YA dystopic with everything in my being. Because this is the "one." I've known it for over two years now.

Yes, I've just written it over the past three months. (Still not at the end...trust me, you'll hear about it!) But the idea was conceived more than two years ago, and I kept pushing it aside. It always had that "this is the one you need to write" feeling. As in, this is the one that's going to launch everything.

Not that I'm pressuring myself or anything. Nah.

But yes, the "setting aside" needs to take place, without angst, without gnashing of teeth. And so it shall.

But not in the complete "setting aside" sense. Because I really am doing that major rewrite on my MG fantasy. I am just that passionate about it.

Why do there have to be other responsibilities in life besides writing?

No, really, that was rhetorical. I promise.

So thank you. And keep writing. I know that sounds so...trite. But you and I know it's not. Because it's when we stop writing that everything comes crashing to a halt--our creativity, our dreams, our business plans, our careers.

Yes. Keep writing. And you can start by sharing some of your Friday Fricassee magic. (Last Friday Fricassee until after vacation! W00T!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Your Writing Career: More Than One Novel

I'm at an interesting crossroads, and it has occurred to me that discussing it with you might help you clarify your own "I'm going to be published" vision.

For more than two years, I've been shopping my middle grade fantasy, all the while working to make it stronger, all the while continuing to work on other projects. I've had some tantalizing close calls, some amazing feedback, some uber-encouraging moments. I even have an agent who wants me to send it again after revisions.

Yet I remain unagented.

Now, as you know, I'm cheek-chewingly close to finishing my YA dystopic SF. Close, as in three or four chapters out.

Who, me? Over-the-edge excited?

Anyway, I've already got my Lucky You list of agents I'm going to query first. Which brings me to the interesting crossroads. Some of the agents I'm planning on querying this time around don't do middle grade. I'm feeling confident that a few of them will express at least mild interest in my new work, but this leads me to an important question: What happens to my middle grade novel?

Make that novels. I've completed a "book 2" along the way. And there's a book 3 bubbling around in there, too. (Think lots of juicy, dangling threads at the end of book 2.)

Frankly, I'm not willing to set my beloved middle grade aside. I'm passionate about it--so passionate that I am undertaking a complete, hold-nothing-back rewrite to make the first book even better. And I'm going to keep working at it until it's absolute magic.

That's what I'm shooting for. Absolute magic.

So. Where does that leave me in my new agent search? I want an agent to fall in love with my sparkly-new YA (which will, of course, be spending the summer in the grist mill). But what if the agent who falls in love with my YA doesn't represent MG? Do I pursue a relationship anyway?

Or do I move on to the next opportunity?

It's no small question. I have discovered that I love--I mean love--writing YA dystopic. I could certainly do more of it and be happy. But I'm equally passionate about MG fantasy. In fact, if I had to choose a "first love," it would be the MG fantasy.

So I've got think this through. It's always foolish to cut off your proverbial nose to spite your face. Assuming a snooty, how-dare-you-not-also-consider-my-earlier-works attitude won't get an aspiring author anywhere. Of course, I'm not that kind of author. I'm not snooty. And I think I'm savvy enough to know when to say "yes" to just the right offer.

Still. The whole concept of "My Entire Writing Career" is something we all have to take into account as we continue our agent hunts. For me, it isn't about writing and publishing one book. It's about writing and publishing books for the rest of my life.

Including the middle grade fantasy that nobody has quite loved enough yet. Liked-a-whole-lot, maybe (even passing it around the agency, hoping someone else would take it), but not loved-till-death-do-us-part.

So that's what I'm dealing with as I finish up this first draft and prepare to dig in to my first round of edits (ah, glorious edits!). (And no, that wasn't parenthetical sarcasm; I really do love to edit.) Sending my fresh query to agents who love YA dystopic SF and MG fantasy is going to severely narrow my list. I need to walk carefully, think clearly, decide what it is I really want.

I also have to ask myself this: In the end, if breaking out means indefinitely setting aside my beloved MG fantasy series-in-the-making, am I willing to do that?

Oh, yes. That's a big question. I'm working it out day by day.

And there you have it. What about you? What's your passionate vision? What do you see yourself publishing for the rest of your life? What does your "perfect agent's" I-love-this list need to encompass?

And what are you willing to set aside to Make It Happen?

Onward, one and all. (Talk about catharsis. I feel better already.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

12 Are You Hooked? (yes, 12)


Winded and sweaty from her long trek from the peon parking lot, Lena flew into Building Three, the home of Tony Brewer’s production company, Pilfered Projects Productions. The reception area was starkly modern. Black and glass and chrome with all the warmth and charm of a bus station urinal. She grimaced, as she always did, when she spotted the posters of Tony’s many successful TV reality shows lining the walls: American Icon, Prancing with the Stars, The Incredible Marathon and Endurer: Topeka. If you’re going to rip off other shows, couldn’t the titles at least be original?

In her usual uncoordinated style, Lena skidded across the shiny, slippery marble floor toward the reception desk, her long arms and legs flailing in all directions.

Bitsy, the reluctant receptionist, was at her desk watching Lena’s acrobatics through disapproving and decidedly uncharitable eyes. Bitsy was overweight, wildly gothic with dyed black hair and a smorgasbord of body piercings and tattoos. In spite of her unusual, often scary appearance, one might think beneath all those trappings there was a girl with a heart of gold. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Bitsy was as unpleasant and scary as she looked.

“You’re late,” she snarled, returning to her tabloid.

Finally, Lena came to a full upright stop in front of Bitsy’s desk. While trying to lasso her flyaway red hair back into a scrunchy, she said as she gasped for breath, “Practicing the Barber Cello Concerto...hard...Never have it ready in time for recital...”

9 Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Will Teach For Food

I should’ve have known the first time I met Jack that he was capable of smashing one’s eye socket. However, since this is the first day of school, my TSP (Teacher Sensory Perception) has been dormant for months. This leaves me incapable of detecting right off the bat if this kid will be the valedictorian or a home-grown serial killer. By the third week of school my TSP will be firing on all cylinders, but unfortunately this is the first day and it is a typical one.

During first period only three students show up, and I spend most of my time telling seniors who wander in that they are in the English wing of the school and that the science halls have always been on the second floor.

My second period consists of nothing more than telling students that I have no intention of letting them go to the counselors’ offices, no matter how “gay” their schedules are.

Third is my planning period, but I am busy telling kids who come by that my class has the number one next to it, and they should have been here over an hour ago during first period.
I don't have lunch until after fourth, which is fine. It's better than having the first lunch period at like 10 A.M. Those kids might as well pour syrup on their pizzas at that time.

8 Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Hells Half Acre
GENRE: Paranormal Suspense

The cold breeze that sent goose bumps across my inner thighs told me that I wasn’t alone. Something or better yet someone was trying to sneak a peak at my downstairs.

“Oh you’ve got to be fucking kidding me!”

I looked down and there between my legs staring up my knee length turquoise silk halter dress was Luke. His ghostly form wasn’t solid so I couldn’t hit him, but I could damn well try.

“LUKE SHORT you no good dead bastard, get away from me.” I stomped my foot and closed my legs shut.

When I looked up there was a tourist staring at me. Just wonderful! I was getting tired of Luke doing things like this in front of people. It made everybody think I was crazy!

It was a little late for a tourist to be out but then the Stockyard Rodeo was getting ready to start. Hopefully he wasn’t another local that would tell everyone the crazy girl was out.

“Buddy you got a problem?”

The man was a clear broadcaster, I got his scared shitless thoughts loud and clear. He‘d been told the locals get wild after dark. He was about to find out just how wild.

“You’d better turn tail and get out of here. and back to your hotel Mister. The locals DO get wild around here at night.”

I grinned and took a step forward causing him to stumble backward and then run like hell away.
One idiot male down, one to go.

7 Are You Hooked?

TITLE: The Saving Race
GENRE: Romantic Mystery

Nick stood over the body, his gun hanging loosely in his right hand.
He exhaled slowly, releasing a surge of adrenaline from his system. A
curse crossed his lips and he placed his gun under his jacket. Seemed
like a waste of a bullet. While death was certain, the suffering was
needless. Nick’s shot had been fired out of mercy.

With his hands still slightly shaking, he brushed dirt from the knees
of his slacks and turned towards his car. The quiet of the forest was
interrupted by the sound of off-road tires rumbling on asphalt. Not
another car had been sighted the past twenty minutes, and now a car

An outdated brown truck squealed to a stop upon seeing Nick’s car. The
approaching man scanned the scene, his eyes darting back and forth
between Nick and the carnage on the ground. “This your hit?” the
middle-aged stranger asked.

“Yeah,” Nick replied breathlessly, “it just happened.”

The man hovered over the body. “Wow, that’s some rack. Blasted shame
to have that happen.”

“That’s what I was thinking. Made a mess of the car too.”

The portly man glanced at the white sedan. “I’ve seen worse. Consider
yourself lucky, what with the size and all.”

Nick replied with a small chuckle as he looked at the mangled fender
and broken headlight. Lucky. Hardly the sentiment he was feeling. He’d
just hit a deer in a borrowed car.

6 Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Smuggled Terror

Seagulls scrambled overhead slapping each other with their snow white wings as they struggled in midair for better positioning. They battled to catch the most treasures being offered from the little girl below. Smiles turned to giggles each time the little girl looked up through bangs of curly red hair and saw the birds snatch up her offerings of thumb-size bites of a doughnut in their beaks. She tossed them one final piece, and then stopped to enjoy the last bite for herself. Little Red brushed her hands together, and picked up her bright, blue, plastic pail with a yellow shovel attached. She looked up and squinted with one eye open and the other closed as she checked out the seagulls one last time. A swatting of her arm over her head confirmed to the maneuvering gulls that breakfast was officially over.

The little redhead’s mother had chosen a mounded spot on the powdery sands of Panama City Beach, which appeared to be the remnants of a large castle left by some of yesterday’s vacationers. The child went straight to work digging at the mound. The third scoop of the pail bumped slightly, but the little redhead pushed harder, forcing the shiny plastic through the fine sand. Looking down at her work, the child suddenly shook violently, let go of her bucket, and raced toward her mother. The woman tossed down her paperback, and sprang from her lounge chair to comfort her daughter. She cradled her daughter against her chest, looking toward the spot where the child was digging. The mom was expecting to find a dead fish or seagull, but her daughter’s discovery was more horrifying than that.

5 Are You Hooked?

TITLE: The Untamed Court
GENRE: Fantasy (Faerie)

I grimaced at the touch of stringy cobwebs on my fingers. Brushing off
the strands, I thumbed through my mother’s favorite records, big band,
swing, and cabaret. For a moment I forgot about the past weeks as I
looked at them, remembering the last time I saw my mother and father
together. I set the records down, blinking. When they cleared I
noticed a small wooden box resting on the floor next to the wall. It
was shaped like the old lunch boxes but made from wood. Frowning, I
picked it up and turned it over in my hands. The wood was rough, the
box much heavier than I thought it should be. I ran my fingers along
the top, filling the veins in the wood. It was not like any I had
seen before. I couldn’t place it. Mahogany? There was a small latch
on the side. I paused momentarily before lifting it. The lid flipped
open. Dust flew everywhere and I dropped the box, hearing it fall to
the floor as I wiped stinging mites from my eyes. After a few
moments, my eyes stopped watering and I looked down for the box. It
was lying on its side, open. Scattered about the floor of the attic
were letters. A small bundle was wrapped together with a rubber band,
but the rest were loose on the floor. I knelt down to gather them up.

4 Are You Hooked?

GENRE: MG Adventure

Anna threw open the barn door, smiling at her horse. She smelled Fancy's hay-fresh breath as they began their usual early morning mission to outstare each other. Anna jabbed her boots in the dirt, determined to win. Fancy toughened her stance, and swished her tail. Her stare pierced through her black mane that hung down to her eyelashes. When Anna thought she'd finally won, her eleven year old brother walked in, with his hands stuffed in his back pockets.

"Whatcha doin?"

"I was trying to win my stare-off, until you disturbed me." Anna giggled so hard that she was forced to look away. "You win Fancy! I have to get to work."

She pushed the wheelbarrow into a stall and started mucking. "I gotta get my chores done, before Claire gets here." Anna said, as she picked up a fork full of poop.

"Wouldn't you rather be talking to Claire?" Ian pointed toward the door.

Claire walked in and said, "Is that all you do? You were mucking stalls the day I left. Mucking and crying, remember?"

"Claire!" Anna raced over and gave her best friend a big hug. The two started talking and laughing together. "I've missed you so much!"

Ian smiled at Anna and grabbed the rake from her hands, pushing her out the stall door. "I'll finish, go on."

"Thanks, I owe you one." Anna took Claire into the tack room to look at the saddlebags. "They've been packed for two days."

3 Are You Hooked?

TITLE: The Guardian of Doron
GENRE: Y/A Fantasy

Looking toward the cliffs, the memories came flooding back. Leandros closed his eyes trying to erase the pain. Only ten years, it seemed like an eternity. He pinched his fingers to his eyes then lowered his hand to gaze once more over the land. “It’s his day as well,” he reminded himself, turning his thoughts to Nikolas, finding it difficult to separate his feelings. It was ten years to the day. The day he gained a son, Nikolas lost a mother, and he lost a wife; the day Kalypso was murdered, struck down in cold blood before his eyes.

Hands on the sill, he could feel his grip tightening. He sighed in frustration, something was different. He stared down at his hands. A sign of weakness or maybe not, he realized he had to move, to do something, anything but stand there. Releasing his hands, he had just begun to turn away when a sobering chill raced up his spine.


Pivoting around, he searched the hills in desperation. Nothing seemed amiss. Rubbing his eyes, he looked again. Something had moved, he was sure of it…big and black, swooping down from the hills.

“Stop it!” he chastised himself, pushing himself away from the window.

Nothing is there…nothing…only the ghosts from the past!

That’s when he heard it, a voice echoing down the hall.


Moving down the hall, the boy’s voice became clearer. Pausing by the door he listened.

Who’s he talking to?

2 Are You Hooked?


The first time I saw the house it filled me with foreboding as if something sinister lay ahead. As I approached with trepidation, it seemed to beckon me. Come, girl. Don’t be afraid. A spell had been cast, and I had no choice but to obey. Sit on my veranda, and let me tell you a story. I knew then that somehow that house would bury its soul within me and haunt me for the rest of my life.

Lynn was actually the first to discover it. Petite and wiry, she was the most popular girl at school. She was also my best friend -- had been since third grade. The L twins, the other kids called us, Lynn and Letty. We couldn’t have been more different, but I was always at her side. I wouldn’t have survived at Saint Benedict’s without her. One brisk fall morning she came to school and shared her discovery.

“I swear. There’s a mansion over there. It’s huge.”

I was standing with Doris and Claire in the girls’ line when Lynn ran over and cut in.

“For reals?” I asked. “Who lives there?”

“No one. It’s abandoned.”

“How do you know?” Doris asked.

“Because it’s empty. My brother and I walked around the veranda looking in all the windows.” Lynn gathered us in closer. “Shhhh! I don’t want anyone else to know about it.”

“I want to see it!” Claire whispered.

“Me, too!”

1 Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Found
GENRE: Romantic Suspense


“You WHORE! You didn’t think I’d find you!” Todd’s enraged voice cut through the air like a jagged knife through flesh, causing her to cower.

He’d found her, not that she wasn’t entirely surprised, but still it’d happened so fast. She dropped the phone she’d had in hand and glanced over at her young son. Poor Jackson he’d be no match against his father. She turned back to the man who’d just busted her parent’s door down and took in his appearance. Dress blues, that wasn’t good. She saw the rage that burned in his eyes as he moved toward her while he held his gun pointed directly at Jackson.

“One move and he’s dead!”

She heard her parent’s footsteps as they ran down the hall to see what the commotion was all about.

“NO! Go back to bed and call the sheriff! RUN!!” She screamed at her parents then grabbed Jackson. She thrust him toward the back door. She glanced back at Todd, making sure he was distracted then leaned down to whisper to her frightened three year old son. “Jack’s this is important. You run and hide. You run as far as you can and hide real good. You don’t come out until Jess or Uncle Trey find you. NO MATTER WHAT!” She grabbed the boy and hugged him. She knew that this was likely to be the last time she’d ever touch her baby again. She only prayed that he’d be spared from his father’s rage.

Are You Hooked? The Mini-Round

Okay, let's have some crit fun.

If you've entered an excerpt, please remember to do your part critting the others. We employ the mutual backscratch method 'round these here parts.

Here we go!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Submissions Are Now Closed

Well, that was short 'n sweet, yes? =)

Submissions are Now Open

Send your ARE YOU HOOKED? submissions now. See guidelines in the previous post.

A Teeny-Tiny "Are You Hooked"...Just For You

In the spirit of ramping down for vacation and all that, I offer you the following:

At 9:00 PM EDT today (Tuesday) I will open a 10-minute submission window.

The window will close at 9:10 PM EDT.

I will only accept up to 20 entries.

Qualifications for entering:

*You have a completed manuscript ready for critique.
*You DID NOT participate in last month's Secret Agent round
*You are willing to critique 10 other entries.
*All genres (EXCEPT erotica) of novels will be included (no PBs or shorts).

Send your first 250 words to me at facelesswords(at)gmail.com. DON'T send before 9:00 PM EDT!

I'll post the entries tomorrow and we'll have a fun few days of critting, sans the pressure of a Secret Agent.

Questions in the box, please!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Fricassee

What an amazing collection of comments on yesterday's post! Many thanks--and keep them coming. I'm planning on printing them out so I can really study them, see what I can implement.

More than one of you commented that you'd like to read more of my personal ramblings on writing and my own journey. It's odd (if you really knew me) that I've been so conservative in this area. One of my strengths as a writer is the anecdotal essay. (Well now, doesn't that sound lofty? I mean, ugh.) My self-published book is a collection of humorous anecdotes. I used to publish an E-zine for the same target audience (not writers), and my (other, real-me) blog was regularly peppered with "oh my gosh I'm laughing so hard" comments.

In short, I love to make people laugh by writing about my ridiculous self.

(Qualifier: I'm not dissing myself. I simply love to laugh at myself. Because if we don't have the ability to do that, we're not going to make it very far.)

Of course, running an anonymous blog makes it a bit tricky. I can't reveal too many details about my life and my charming and oh-so-blog-fodder-producing husband. I've chosen to be anonymous and I've got to stick to it.

(Someone asked me why I made that choice; that, perhaps, is a story for another day.)

Still, as a writer, there is a lot of "everyman" stuff on which I can expound here. And yes, I really DO want to offer my personal experiences as a laboratory of sorts. I'm all about teaching, encouraging, inspiring.

Oh, and bringing laughter. Absolutely.

So yes, I'm going to commit to more WRITING on this blog. Because I've finally proven to myself that I can finish a novel in a timely manner by sticking to a 1000-word-a-day schedule. And if I can do that, I can write a juicy blog post on a regular basis.

And, too, I feel safe here--strange as that sounds. It's more of the we're-all-in-this-together thing.

I love that so many of you are my "friend" on Facebook. (Want to be my friend? I'm Authoress McNonymous on Facebook.) I love that you subscribe to the blog, follow the blog, comment on the blog, submit to the blog, love the blog.

I love that you don't pester me about who I *really* am. My attitude, my opinions, my passions, my shared experiences--everything you get here is the real me. It just doesn't have a name or a face attached to it.

Only a red hat. And my voice, which is about as real as it gets.

Yep, this is the real me. Without the details.

So thanks again for the comments, suggestions, ideas. I read each one thoughtfully.

And here's a Friday Fricassee question for you:

Assuming you feel as *safe* as I do, what is it, exactly, that makes you feel safe in the care of an anonymous person? And hundreds of aspiring authors who might just critique your work to shreds? And nameless agents who might do the same?

Safety is a big deal. Tell me what affords you a measure of yours.

And have an outstanding weekend!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tell Me What You Want

I really want to hear it.

As I ramp down for vacation and look forward to a complete blog break for the rest of the month, I find myself thinking (too hard, probably) about the direction of this blog.

Yep, we've got several more Secret Agent contests lined up.

Yep, we're working on automating the submissions process.

Yep, we've got a decent queue of entries for our 1000-word crits.

But. The amazing shift between Huge Readership (during Secret Agent contests) and Big-But-Not-Remotely-Huge Readership (in between Secret Agent contests) is becoming more disconcerting.

As in, I know this blog has more to offer than the contests. Granted, it's probably THE most exciting thing around here. Heck, it affords me the most fun, too! Working with these agents behind the scenes reaffirms all the good stuff you've heard and read about them. I haven't had a single nasty experience and I don't expect to.


But this is your blog, because you're the ones who read it, learn from it, invest time in helping others through it. So tell me what you'd like to see in between the contests and crits.

Or...perhaps you don't need anything at all. And that's okay, too.

Just let me know what's on your mind. I've put a lot into this blog and I'm willing to put more. But I need to make sure your collective cookies will be flipped. So bring on the feedback! I'm going to sit back and really, really read it. And mull it over. And eat some chocolate. And mull it over some more.

You're an amazing community and I want to provide you with the best.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June Is Bustin' Out All Over

Dumb tune, but it's the first one that came to mind.

I thought I'd take a few moments to inform my faithful readers about upcoming weeks on the blog. Just so you can say I told you so.

We're going to have a quiet couple of weeks to start off, with probably a low-key, in-house crit session thrown in there.

(Have any ideas for something NEW and DIFFERENT? Post them here!!)

There will be NO SECRET AGENT CONTEST in June.

Yep, I did that on purpose. Because Mr. A and I are leaving on the 17th for a little vacation.

And the blog will go dark.

I'll open a comment box for y'all prior to my departure, but I won't be posting while on vacation. I'll be back on the 29th.

So there you have it. A much-needed break.

Of course, I'm currently killing myself over here, trying to finish my WIP before I leave. Yep, it's still coming along at a nice, 1000-word-per-day clip. I'm almost 80% finished (if the novel ends up at 80K, which is my estimate). So, yeah, when I leave for vacation, I'm going to feel about ten pounds lighter.

Unless, of course, I decide to print out the WIP so that Mr. A and I can enjoy our infamous out-loud crit sessions whilst on holiday. As long as we've got wine in hand, that will prove to be a fun time for all.

No, seriously. Going over my novels with my Dearest Hubby is one of my favorite things in life.

So that's June. Questions, comments, virtual donations to my vacation fund, all go into the comment box, please.