Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So Not The End Of The Road

He was driving way too fast.

That was the opening line in my novel Crash and Burn. A contemporary ghost story that has evolved from the first novel I ever wrote, The Recalling. It started out as an adult book (sexual content). First, the word count was too low. So I stretched it. Then other projects came up: never to be published picture books, magazine articles that did get pubbed, and then my middle grade novel, Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines (not pubbed). Then came Sirenz, Sirenz Back In Fashion (Flux), and now, Blonde Ops (Thomas Dunne, 2014).

I'm always working on several projects because now that the older kids can drive themselves and I have just the youngest, I have more time. True, I'm out of the house going places six, sometimes seven days a week with fencing, math tutoring, bell practice, and tournaments,and let's not forget family visits and holidays that keep me busy, but I do find I have more time. So I work.

Having completed yet another revision, I sent Crash off to my beta readers. They suggested some changes. Good, because I knew there were holes and fresh eyes always help. I revised and sent it to my agent, Natalie Lakosil. She loved it BUT it was still rough, which I knew, and she listed some changes. No prob. I made the changes, sent it back. It came back with major change suggestions. I incorporated all but one which would in no way work. Sent it back. It was returned with a 'meh.'

Of course I fumed. I made all the changes! I revised, edited, reread, had others do the same. The novel was much better than when I first sent it. Why the 'meh' now?

The answer I got was that editors are 'tired' of paranormal and want contemporary stories.

Oh please.

They said that about vampires years ago, and yet I still see them being published. And they're not all fabulous. Then the editors were tired of werewolves. Yep, they're still coming out. I don't see paranormal going away any time too soon because it's just too popular. And by the time I get a contemporary novel written, polished, and submitted, I'll hear that they're tired of contemps. You can't win playing the 'what's hot now in the market' game because you'll always be behind.

So what do I do if my agent doesn't want it? Throw all that work away? I've actually heard some agents say that if they don't like it, that's the end of the road for that novel.

I think not.

I'll keep working on it. My critique group just read it and I know they'll have great suggestions. When I go to an SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference, I'll get a critique by at least two editors. And it they don't like it? I'll put it away for a bit while I work on more promising novels.

If I'm lucky, I'll have an editor say, "I've read your books. Send your manuscript to me." Or my agent will say it's time to bring it out again.Or, I can always self pub down the line.

One thing is for sure; to quote Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien, "The road goes ever on."


Monday, January 14, 2013

Making Room

Spring cleaning isn't that far away, but I'm going to start early. As a reader and a writer, I collect a lot of books so I'm doing giveaways to help clear out the shelves.

For my first giveaway, I want to help an aspiring writer. Although I generally write YA, I do have a middle grade book needing an editor to adopt him, and I started in picture books, so these books run the gamut. All are great for people just starting out or are finally getting serious. The bundle includes:

It's A Bunny-Eat-Bunny World by Olga Litowinsky
From Inspiration to Publication by the Institute of Children's Writers
The First Book Market by Jason Shinder
Your Novel Proposal by Blythe Camenson and Marshall J. Cook (Writer's Digest Book)
Over 100 FAQs Women Asked About Writing by the National Assoc of Women Writers

It's A Bunny-Eat-Bunny World is a survival guide for the children's writer that is both funny and realistic. The other titles are self-explanatory. All have been useful to me but it's time for them to move on and help others. I will blindly pick one name and you get the whole bunch. If there's one you don't want, pass it on to a friend, a member of your crit group, or to whomever you think would enjoy/use it.

I'll try to do a giveaway once a month, so stay tuned and tell your fellow readers/writers.

Happy Writing!


Monday, January 7, 2013

A New World Order

Originally, my post was going to be about books I've read once- and will NEVER re-read because I either didn't like them, or felt they had nothing further to offer me. That will come next week. This week I received an email from my aunt which has made its way around. It's something historical that I feel is very important, and just wish I could send it to every person, every government official, every politician. I don't know to whom I should give the credit, but it is not my work. Take from it what you will.

Thomas Jefferson 
At 5, he began studying under his cousin's tutor. 
At 9, he studied Latin, Greek and French.
At 14, he studied classical literature and additional languages.
At 16, he entered the College of William and Mary.
At 19, he studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.
At 23, he started his own law practice.
At 25, he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
At 31, he wrote the widely circulated "Summary View of the Rights of British America” and retired from his law practice.
At 32, he was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
At 33, he wrote the Declaration of Independence.
At 33, he took three years to revise Virginia's legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.
At 36, he was elected the second Governor of Virginia, succeeding Patrick Henry.
At 40, he served in Congress for two years.
At 41, he was the American minister to France, and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.
At 46, he served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
At 53, he served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.
At 55, he drafted the Kentucky Resolutions, and became the active head of Republican Party.
At 57, he was elected the third president of the United States.
At 60, he obtained the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation's size.
At 61, he was elected to a second term as President.
At 65, he retired to Monticello.
At 80, he helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.
At 81, he almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia, and served as its first president.
At 83, he died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, along with John Adams
Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff. A voice from the past to lead us in the future:
John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
Thomas Jefferson said:

"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe."
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world."
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
  "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." 
  "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Thomas Jefferson was a bona-fide American genius- no one could argue that, and history has only confirmed it many times over. It's a shame that we will not heed his words...