Archive for August, 2010

You say the words contest, books and coffee  in one sentence and you have most readers and writers immediate attention. At least it works for me.  So fellow UF author, Shannon Mayer, has a contest at her blog in which you can win a gift certificate from Starbucks as well as some terrific books. It’s easy, follow her blog and you’re entered. She has a point system for tweets, posts, etc.

Ms. Mayer, once I have an agent and am a step closer to publishing, may I  borrow this idea?

After reading a few more blog entries, I have a sneaky suspicion we’ll be hearing a lot more from this talented writer.

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Most of you know I write fantasy/paranormal books. Although I’m not yet published, I’m not a newbie to the publishing world. I’m on my fourth full-length book. The first three are not published. The first, quite frankly, wasn’t good enough for publication, although I didn’t realize that at the time. The second is a sequel to the first: rookie mistake. The third is currently under consideration by a NY publisher. I met an editor at a writing conference. The fourth is more a jumble of sentences than a novel but I’m working on it.

When I’m done, I’ll send it to CPs who will tear it apart, then I’ll rewrite and send it out again. After it shines, I’ll write a query and a synopsis, which will also go to the beta readers half a dozen times. After researching exact submission requirements–which can take days–I’ll send these to 10 or so of my favorite agents, because by this stage of the game, you do have favorite agents and publishing houses. Later, if necessary, I’ll send it out to 50 more. I’ll wait up to 12 months for some of them to reply. Listen, they’re busy, I understand.

If someone likes it, they’ll request a partial. It’s about a 6 week wait on a partial. If he or she liked the partial, they will request a full. You can easily wait up to 3 months on a full. If they love the full, and think a publisher will love it, I just might have an agent. If not… it’s back to the drawing board.

During the above, months and even years pass. In the world of publishing, waiting is the norm. But I learned a long time ago that waiting isn’t passive. At least it shouldn’t be. Think of waiting as an active verb.

Because if you want a career in publishing, sitting on your laurels is never a good thing. While you’re waiting, write, read, edit, learn. Get involved in a critique group, an on-line community. Sketch out those plot bunnies running around in your head. Start on the next book. (Just don’t make it a sequel to one you’ve already written) Actively continuing on your journey to publication, actively waiting, is always a good thing. It’s stepping forward.

It’s your career, grab it by the… er horns.

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Okay, I did it.

I signed my youngest up for soccer. I’ve never been big on organized sports. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get out there and play. I love sports, but as soon as you add the organized to it… well, then it becomes something else…. kinda the same as my views on religion… but that’s a whole other topic.

Although I’ve offered in the past, my kids have been meh about it and because I’m kinda meh about it, I didn’t push. I have had them in ballet and judo… but those aren’t really team sports. So when my 5 yo asked if she could please play soccer, I kinda assumed it was a passing “I want.” You know, I want a ______ fill in the blank. But it didn’t pass. So I signed her up yesterday.

The first shocker was the price. I mean I guess they do have to pay all these coaches…and buy the trophies/clothes/etc, but wow! 

I’m also a bit worried about having any kind of shoes in the house with spikes on the bottom. Yeah, that’s going to take some watching.

The second shocker was looking at the game schedule. That just made it real. Every weekend until November, I will have to put on my smiley face and socialize. For an introvert like me, that’s going to take some effort. She’ll be playing, but I’ll be the one with the game face.

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Skip a Starbucks Day

If you ever met CJ, you wouldn’t forget her. The word vivacious comes to mind. CJ is also loving, giving of her time and one of those genuinely nice people that are a joy to meet. But this isn’t about CJ or her husband, this is about a baby.

Five years ago, CJ and her husband, Clint decided to open their home and hearts to a Chinese orphan. Originally, the process was going to take only 6 to 8 months. Now, after setbacks, disappointments and heartache, they finally have a chance to bring their baby girl, Johanna, home.

Since their journey began, the cost of adopting overseas has risen. The funds they set aside are no long enough to pay all the fees. So a group of us bloggers are getting together to help raise money to bring Johanna home.

The idea is a to skip an indulgence such as a Starbucks coffee for one day and donate that money toward Johanna’s fund. Donation is easy, just go to CJ’s website, The Last Word, and there will be a donation button on the right hand side. You can also read about CJ and Clint’s road to adoption.

 Everyone who donates (and comments—so we know who you are) will be entered in a drawing for a lot of wonderful donated prizes including a boxed set of Harry Potter books, signed books from various authors, ARCS, baskets of homemade soap, jewelry, the Twilight Saga, etc… you get the idea.

Qualifying donations must be made between August 23 rd and August 26th. That’s Monday to Wednesday. If you don’t have paypal, contact CJ via the email you’ll find on her blog.

This is an awesome opportunity to make a difference not only in one little girl’s life, but to bring joy to an entire family. And hey, there really are some awesome prizes. So go! GO! GO!

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Where in the world

is Shawna?

Well, no where exciting, really.

They say the way to a successful blog is to be consistent. Well, I’ve failed in that area.

I’ve been swamped with work, writing, kids, yard work, you name it. But now, with the kids back in school, I hope to be a bigger, more consistent, presence on here.

If you miss my Weekend Gardener, you can find me on my Examiner page, talking about all kinds of gardening subjects. Although, I do hope to get up a post this weekend. (crosses fingers.) 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Chapter 2

*I didn’t plan this, but, why not? You want to hear about every little step I take writing my newest novel, don’t you?*

As far as I’m concerned, chapter 2 is the proof in the pudding. You’ve used your first five pages, the opening hook, introduced main characters, ended with a hook to keep the reader going and now… now, chapter 2.

That back story you kept out of chapter one, you just might have to put it in chapter two so the rest of the book makes sense. The journey begins with the proverbial first step, but it can’t end there. A second step is kinda mandatory and equally as important.

Chapter 2 is also where I begin having doubts about chapter one. Did I start it in the right place, right POV? You see, this is where the plotting begins to gel. If I get it wrong, there will be a lot of backtracking, deleting and re-writing. I don’t know about you, but the less rewriting I have to do the better.
And so the journey continues

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They’re coming!

Attack of the zombie geese!


And here is their leader. He’s half vulture, half goose, and all bad ass.

He may be smaller, but he rules with an iron… flipper. You see how the other geese bow to his authority, not even daring to look him in the eye?

Be warned. The zombie goose apocalypse is coming.

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The Journey


When I was a little girl, I went on a lot of road trips with my grandparents. Some were 4 hour trips, others 15 hour trips. My grandfather had one goal: Get there. Fast.

And so, to support that goal, we packed a cooler of food and a coffee can. The coffee can stayed in the back seat with us kids. I never had to use it. No. I learned to hold my bladder for as long as the tank held gas. I can still hear my grandma’s voice saying “go even if you don’t have to”, before we left the house. And although it’s probably TMI, you say ‘get in the car’, and, like Pavlov’s dog, I have to go to the bathroom.

Well, now I’m an adult and I don’t look at car trips the way my grandpa did. Last weekend, we took an impromptu trip to the beach, as impromptu as you can with 5 kids. On the way, not only did we stop just to stretch our legs at Los Banos, we also stopped at Casa de Fruita and played for 2 hours before resuming our trip.

You see, I’ve learned it’s not always about the destination. There are some interesting stops along the way that you’ll miss if you keep your eyes on the goal and never look around.

So how does this relate to publishing, because everything relates to publishing, right? ; )

When I started writing, my goal was clear: New York. Once I learned a wee bit about the industry, I adjusted that to polish book, find an agent and then New York. Quite frankly, that is still my long-term goal, although the book has changed. Three times.

But even then, I realize my long-term goal is only a step in the scheme of things. Even after I polish book, find an agent and publish with a major New York publisher, there is the next book and the next.

But that is in the future. What about now?

Now, I am enjoying the writing process, the creativity, the discovery. I am learning about the industry and the craft daily. I have met wonderful people on-line and at conferences, and even in my home town.

I am enjoying the journey.

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Chapter One.

In every writer’s life, there comes that moment when you realize that the novel you’re working on is good. Maybe very good…and you’re in over your head. When you know–to the depth of your being–that the scope of the novel is bigger than you. That it’s possibly more complex than you know how to write.

The feeling is at once overwhelming and humbling. It’s a delicious sensation of awe and fear, endless possibilities mixing with rock solid knowledge that you’re on the right path and anticipation of where that path might take you.

It’s a little like falling in love.

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