Tag Archives: writer’s journey

New to the Rodeo

Moonday Madness

a blog about the craft of writing

It’s a wild ride.

From the first moment I decided to write for publication, that was my goal- publication. Now that may sound obvious, but I know many authors who say they are interested in publishing, but they never seem to do the things they need to do to get there. I understand this. It’s easy to let yourself slide into all the myriad things that need to be done and never actually do the few things that will get you to publication.

Why is that? It’s because actually publishing is scary.

It’s scary for me too. From the moment I sent off my first manuscript and received that first rejection I was on a wild ride. First the anticipation and hope of sending it off. Then the deep depression when it comes back, rejected.

Some authors get thrown off and never get back on. They want to publish, even have a deep desire to be published, but the thought of receiving another rejection letter is overwhelming. It’s tough to get back on that horse when your spine is bruised and your ego shaken.

But the reward is great. When I opened the email from Passion in Print Press and saw that it had not just a letter, but an acceptance letter and a contract for Little Red Riding Wolf…well let’s just say I was higher than the top of the stands.

But it’s not over with the acceptance. Then, as a newbie, I’m worried about everything. Is the contract what I think it is? Should I sign? Should I send it certified mail or pay the extra five bucks for Priority? Did they get it? Will they send it back signed? What do I do next?

And worst of all. I can’t stop here. I have to keep writing, keep submitting, and maybe even court another one of those rejection letters. Up and down and up and down, authors have to have wills of iron and buns of steel. Because I know the ride doesn’t stop here, it’s just beginning.

It’s October and my first annual Halloween Treats Contest in celebration of the acceptance of my spicy paranormal novella Little Red Riding Wolf (soon to be released from Passion in Print Press). To enter leave a comment for me and I’ll be announcing the winner of today’s free book on Thursday October 6th when Keridak Kae is my guest blogger. Today’s free book giveaway is Liz Carlyle’s The Bride Wore Scarlet.

And the winner of Saturday’s book is Casey Wyatt! Please email me your address through my contact page and I’ll be sending out books next week! Congratulations!

The winner of The Bride Wore Scarlett is Brinda Berry! Congratulations Brinda, send me your address through my contact page and I’ll send out your book next week! Congratulations!

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bijoux

bijoux, the little jewels I’ve reaped from the retreat

Moonday Madness

a writer oriented blog

Wine, writing and song, (okay, nobody sang, thank God) that’s what writing retreats are made of. As many of you know I attended my very first Colorado Romance Writers September Writing Retreat last weekend. As to why I didn’t write about it last week, well I was still processing.

Our estimable retreat organizers packed the weekend with workshops, hilarious games and time to write. In fact there was so much going on I was never bored and wished we could keep going for another few days. It seems like September is the month for writer’s retreats as my friends Sharon Clare and Sherry Isaac at Romance and Beyond as well as Elaine Cougler were also at their own lakefront retreat and I’ve read of others who were retreating as well.

Why do we have retreats? One of the things I learned was that everyone goes to CRW’s retreats for different purposes. Some went to connect. To make new friends, see old ones and to get that piece of the business that writers are frequently shorted on, face to face conversation. Some went to write. To have time in a beautiful mountain setting where there were no kids, no job, no pesky husbands vying for their attention. Some went not knowing what they were going for, but all went home satisfied.

Why did I go? I wasn’t sure at first. This was my first retreat and I didn’t know really what to expect. I packed my laptop and WIP, hoping to finish those stubborn last pages. I packed two bottles of wine, hoping to spend time with friends. And I packed my Ipod, just in case I wanted to shut out the noise and really work. And I did all that and more. I did do some work (I should underline the word some) on my WIP, I socialized and played games. But I also attended all three of the quality workshops.

Workshops presented by the fabulous Margie Lawson on Defeating Self Defeating Behaviors, Ann S. Brady on handling the grief of rejection, and Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing on what editors are looking for in today’s tough market. All three were so fantastic that I decided they each need their own blog. So look forward to future Moonday Madness posts detailing each one. I can’t take you on the retreat with me, but I am sure going to try!

How do you refresh your inkwell? Have you attended a retreat lately or is it still on your bucket list?

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Announcing Big News!

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

TA DA!

I’m thrilled to announce the acceptance of a contract from Passion in Print Press for my sensual novella Little Red Riding Wolf!

Little Red Riding Wolf is a tongue in cheek twisted fairy tale that won an honorable mention in RWA’s Passionate Ink’s Stroke of Midnight contest this July. I had a fun time writing it and I’m thrilled that Passion in Print is picking it up. After listening to Laura Baumbach talk to CRW at our mini-con in August I came away very impressed with her dedication to publishing a quality product and even though I hadn’t planned on pitching (because The Queen’s Huntsman is still being edited again and again and my current WIP is not finished) I took a chance and pitched Little Red.

And now it will be a published e-novella! With it’s very own cover and available on the Passion in Print site for purchase!

I’m not sure exactly when it will be available, I will now have edits and all that goes with the publishing process to complete, but it is a very exciting way to come full circle this September. Last September I turned the corner at Margie Lawson’s Deep Immersion class and moved from being a writer to being an author. If you’ve been following my journey, I have been marching steadily down the road with the full intention of reaching publication. And now that day is here!

I’ll be posting updates on Little Red’s journey as well as my own on my News! page and I will continue to update my bio page with semi-montly snippets on my life.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this excitement!

My husband, first and foremost, for always being supportive. My IMC buddies from WooHooU! Sherry Isaac, Gloria Richard, Joan Swan, Babs Mountjoy, and of course Margie Lawson. And my mother, who insisted I had to go to Margie’s last year!

As well as everyone in CRW, but especially ML Guida and Hillary Seidl for insisiting I pitch and Lori Corsentino for switching spots with me. Lori, I never would have pitched if you weren’t such a generous soul!

And my CP Jessica R., for reading through Little Red Riding Wolf when she had just met me and writing detailed comments complete with green post-it notes. Thanks for all the critiquing!

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Paranormal For Me?

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

Today I am happy to introduce my friend and fellow CRW author, Summer Mahan. Summer is a talented author who writes a variety of genres from historical to paranormal. She has her own site http://www.summermahan.com/, but where you will really find her is at Her Story Calls a blog she shares with four other fabulous authors. Welcome Summer!

Is Paranormal For Me?

 

First off, thank you Jessica for having me her, I’m super excited to hang with you on this wonderful blog! Let’s give a round of applause to a fantastic hostess and her website!

Today, I wanted to share with you how I decided to write paranormal. Now I know not everyone can write paranormal, shoot, not everyone can read the genre. And that is OKAY. I wanted share my own personal experience on how I came to love paranormal.

I’m a serious book a day reader turned writer. As a reader I started running out of books that could capture my attention from the first page and keep me reading late into the night. I had to venture out of my safe historical world. I picked some of my favorite authors, Christina Dodd and Jayne Ann Krentz, and tried their paranormal worlds.

I loved them! I started devouring more at a rapid rate.

Then I started getting an idea. Yeah, we’ve all experienced that ‘bing’. I grabbed pen and paper and started.

I love Mythology. Be it Greek, Roman, Native American, or Celtic. I love stories about robust heroes and strong woman who caused wars and shaped cultures and ideals with such emotion where readers ten centuries later are still weeping and cheering for their causes. I admit my passion is the Celts.  A people whose origins spread from all across Europe to Ireland. Caesar wrote of them as did Diodorus Siculus, stating them as savage barbarians, pagans, and uncultured. But take this lightly for those were the accounts of men wishing to rule over the race to steal their wealth and lands.

Anyway, I fell in love with the fierce people who sacked Rome and drove Caesar out of Britain. Then I broadened my ideas and started asking those unexplained questions like who were the Picts, the race in Northern Britain before the Celts. (Hadrian’s Wall was built to keep them in Scotland.)

Or what about the mysterious people who made Stonehenge and why did they leave?

Those questions resonated deep inside of me. And then those two glorious words we all know-what if-started replaying through my brain?

What if, what if.

The problem, I wanted to look outside the box to unexplained powers. Yet, I was raised in a religion that was very narrow-minded and even thinking of more than one God or a different force was detrimental. To write about such a thing was horrifying. Severe censure and disapproval from my family stopped me.

But, not for long.

I couldn’t get those words to leave me alone.

Against everything I grow up with, I started writing the book of my passion. I wielded the research I knew with the ‘what if’ of what I didn’t. I no longer cared what others thought. I loved it. After all, I was writing the book for me. Cursed in Love, a 100,000 novel was written in three months. Letting go of the criticisms, worries and doubts freed me. I allowed myself to weave magic in me. My ‘what if’ became a world where warriors cast spells, fought for their country and had to become immortal assassins to a Goddess in order to revenge their decimated race.

So if you dream of creating wonderful worlds where enchantment overrides reason or uncanny gifts are more normal than not-perhaps paranormal is for you.

It sure is for me! I hope you’ll share some of your own tales on how you stumbled into the great world of paranormal.  A rich and awarding genre I would have missed if I hadn’t let myself dream.

www.summermahan.com

www.herstorycalls.com

@Summer_Mahan

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Summer-Mahan/220704624630988

BIO: I love to laugh. I adore sparkling conversation, wit, and charm. Reading is a pleasure one should indulge in at least once a day and writing is for the fearless.  I have an unhealthy obsession for Dt. Coke, list making, and counting my children. There are only three. But if you had twins…you would completely understand.

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Flying Past the Lure of Cleaning the Toilet

Moonday Mania

A WRITER ORIENTED BLOG

This is the second in a four part series about how organization has saved me. Click HERE for part one, Goal Setting Survival.

***

There are many pitfalls in staying home and trying to work. Resisting the insistent ring of my parent’s cell phones, the list of to-do’s that my husband thinks I can do since I’m home, and the lure of my unread books from Rom Con. But the most insidious is the lure of that evil siren, housework.

I am a clean person. At least I used to be, before falling in love with writing. When writing was just a hobby and I was thrilled to get 500 words on the page, my house was clean. People would ask me, how I did it. How did I get so much done and have my house look great every time they dropped by. The secret was simple.

I really did little else.

Now I am jealous about the time spent on my keyboard. If I don’t want to leave my computer to spend time with my family, why would I want to leave the keyboard to scrub toilets?

The answer is I am an amazingly complex person and I desire both. I desire a clean house so I can write. Something that I don’t have to worry about and doesn’t call to me when I’m sitting down to my keyboard. Something that doesn’t shout: “You lazy bum! You should be able to do it all!”

So you would think I would have been jumping for joy when my sister in law kept telling me I should try the Fly Lady. But I didn’t. I felt I didn’t need anyone helping me with silly strategies for housecleaning. I’d always kept my house up, I knew how to do it and I had my methods and I was sticking to ’em!

But that was before. Before I found that I want to write full time. And I mean spend 24/7 writing, reading about writing and schmoozing about writing. Leaving no time for running errands, clean underwear or stocking food in the refrigerator.

That was when our then CRW President Tiffany James (read about Tiffany’s upcoming book HERE) wrote a column about the Fly Lady. And I gave in and checked it out. If Tiffany, superwoman extrodinaire could admit she looked at the Fly Lady site, then so could I. So I peeked.

I started with keeping my kitchen sink clean and moved on through the swish and swipe.

I became a Fly Lady Fan! View picture of Fly Lady Here that I was afraid to Paste due to copyright!

I’m imperfect. Sometimes the Fly Lady’s schedule doesn’t fit mine, but she’d be the first to say that I should do what works for me. And mostly, flying and being a flybaby works for me. By spending small amounts of time on the house and rotating areas on a regular basis I’m able to keep the house on an even keel.

Bathrooms clean, floors vacuumed and sometimes even with food in the refrigerator. And I can spend my days at home focusing on the writing, and not what I haven’t done. Because I did my flying for the day, got it out of the way and that is all I need to do for now. Fly Lady has freed me for guilt free writing!

With the Fly Lady everything is broken down into small jobs that are spread out over time. What strategies do you use to balance your need to write or work at home and the needs that call you to stray into time wasting other activities? Do you Fly?

Find out more about simplifying your life with the Fly Lady at http://flylady.net/

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HOW PARANORMAL SEEDS GROW, Part Two

Moonday Mania

a writer oriented blog

This morning I’m happy to welcome guest author Sherry Isaac back to Moonday Mania. Sherry is a talented author from Toranto whom I met at Margie Lawson’s house during a fabulous week of Deep Editing Immersion. Sherry is continuing her blog, How Paranormal Seeds Grow from last week and giving us insight as to where the ideas for her short stories in her new release Storyteller spring from. Welcome Sherry!

***

 I love ghost stories, stories that make me wonder where the soul begins and where its journeys leads once it leaves the body.

There are ghost stories on both sides of my family tree, none of them frightening in a white sheet and clanking chains kind of way, but stories that prickle along the spine with the knowledge that there is something more.

And I believe that there is more than one way to be haunted.

Settled in the 1850’s, Streetsville is a tiny hamlet on the banks of the Credit River, not far from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The city of Mississauga has grown up around the village, yet Streetsville retains its small town feel. A stroll down Queen Street can easily transport one to an earlier time.

A graveyard filled with crumbling stones dates back to the founding days. One plain headstone was erected in memory of a child. Isabella.

Isabella died when she was four. I have no idea who Isabella was and can’t even say why her stone impressed me. Not far away is another stone, more ornate, commemorating the life of another little girl. But it was Isabella’s stone that captured my imagination and held it fast. I doubt Houdini could have escaped.

On the summer day that I meandered through the grass, the shade, and the stone monuments, another place and time became reality. Cars and busses and trucks rolled by on another plane.

Maybe I’d watched too many episodes of Little House on the Prairie in my impressionable years, but I could not shake the image of a young girl, 15 or so, leaning from the upper window of any one of the original buildings that remained, a silent testament to the early days of the pioneer settlement. A girl who held up her skirts when she crossed the dirt road. A girl who rubbed the nose of her favourite horse. A girl who picked pussy willows on the riverbank, not far from the grave where I stood.

What might it be like to give Isabella life, if only on the page? I pictured that girl walk out of the general store with a friend, giggling over new ribbons for their hair, ribbons they would wear to a fair in a neighboring town, ribbons they hoped would catch a suitor’s eye.

When I sat down to write Isabella’s story nearly ten years later it worked out differently. Left on the back burner of my mind to simmer, Isabella’s story had taken root, its branches stretched in another direction, the blooms took on a different shape and hue. Isabella’s story was claimed by a brother I never imagined she had. His name was Alistair and he’d been instilled with the gift of storytelling.

I handed the keyboard to Alistair and let him tell the story, let him bring Isabella to life in a way I was powerless to do.

I think he did a pretty good job.

~~~

STORYTELLER

Short Story Excerpt

Sherry Isaac

Alistair crept through another crowd in another town, late the next afternoon, shoulders hunched, hands clenched like claws, a predator ready to pounce.

“I was a fool to go out on my own and without my gun, but the bite of hunger overpowered my senses. If you’ve never seen the jungle then ye cannot imagine the trees that grow so tall and thick they block can out the sun, or shield a wild panther.

“The ground was soft, I made my way forward, stalking a bird with feathers of colours so brilliant and rare not even a rainbow has seen them, unaware the giant cat was stalking me. Slowly, slowly I inched closer to my prey, my mouth watering at the thought of its succulent meat roasting on a fire. I stepped on a twig. The bird took flight, the cat roared, terror shook my spine. I looked above me, my eyes wide as I met the cat’s yellow stare.

“My bare arms made a hopeless shield. I closed my eyes, ready to become the big cat’s dinner. A gunshot rang through the air. The cat landed at my feet with a thump, so close I could smell its breath.”

Alistair straightened, his head cocked and his smile easy. “And do ye know who my rescuer was?”

“Isabella!” the children cried.

“Isabella!” their parent’s echoed.

Alistair put his hands on his hips, swayed back as if slapped. “You’ve heard this story before, then?”

“No!” The children’s voices a chorus.

“Aye, you’re right. It was my little sister who came to my aid, with more stealth than any feline hunter, and an eye sharper than an eagle’s.”

Winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac’s tales of life, love and forgiveness that transcend all things, including the grave, appear online and in print. Her first collection of shorts, Storyteller, debuts July 2011. For more information, or to order an autographed copy, click HERE.

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How Paranormal Seeds Grow, part one


Moonday Mania

A writer oriented blog

Please welcome guest blogger, Sherry Isaac. Sherry and I met at an amazing week up at Margie Lawson’s Immersion Master Class. I was stunned by Sherry’s writing and unsurprised at her success in the publishing world. Thanks Sherry, for being my first guest. Please check back on August 8, 2011 for part two of How Paranormal Seeds Grow.

***

Want to see a writer cringe? Ask him, or her, where their ideas come from.

I know that cringe, I’ve felt that crinkle in my nose that must, I’m sure, make me look like I’ve just caught a whiff of an overripe diaper.

It’s a tough question to answer. Snippets of conversation, a line from a song, an interesting character on the subway. Any obscure thing can be the source. Those little nuggets, snippets and images simmer in our subconscious and take on a life of their own. A plaid jacket with one ripped pocket doesn’t belong to the wearer once that jacket ignites a spark in a writer’s imagination.

For the most part, I can’t tell you at what point the seed of a story was sown in my fertile, murky little mind. Crowning Glory started with the title, a turn on the phrase. How Glory ended up on the street, a lost soul picking through food court leftovers and searching for redemption, beats the storyline out of me.

But some of my stories have a definite root. Like a genealogist with a fine tip pen and a family tree, I can track their development from conception to completion.

Stories from my life, stories that were hard to market, until I realized the common theme that threaded its way through each tale like a knotted vine. Stories with a paranormal twist.

The Visit was not an easy sell. My hometown Winnipeg in winter set the scene: The isolation of a stormy day, the house locked tight. A hooky-playing pre-teen all alone. But it didn’t quite work as a memoir, didn’t read like young adult and certainly not middle-grade. An eerie hit at coffee house readings convinced me that my odd yet ordinary experience was not so ordinary.

The premise is simple. Simple as the question at it’s core. If someone you loved touched you with their presence, would you recognize their spirit?

On a wintry day in November when I was twelve, one of my sisters came home. It was not until much later that I realized she could not have come home, it was not possible that she was ever there. She could not have come in the front door because she moved out in a fury days before we moved to a new house in Fort Rouge, an older area a short bus ride from the downtown core, but a long way from our old neighborhood. My sister and mom weren’t speaking. My sister didn’t move with us, she had never been to the new house.

She did not have a key.

Though I know all these facts, I am as certain she was in the house that day as I am certain of the floor beneath my feet, the computer screen in front of my face, the cat determined to snooze on my lap.

And I am just as certain she was not there, for there was no possible way she could have been. Every shred of evidence confirms that she was not there: logic, reason, and the physical world.

I never saw her but heard her, smelled her. Felt her presence.

Did I take literary license? A little. In the recorded version the revelation comes quickly. In real life, it took a few hours to find out where my sister was, physically, in those moments that haunted me with her spiritual presence. And a few hours more to realize what I’d experienced was unusual, impossible, out of this world. A realization that jerked my dozing mind awake and filled me with toe-tingling wonder as I lay tucked under warm blankets. Out of this world. Ordinary. All at once.

Cool-headed reason battles with what the heart believes. My sister wasn’t there. She was not in the house. She was not in the kitchen, shirking her jacket and lighting a cigarette. But part of her had come home. Part of her that breathed and moved and smelled and coughed and stopped by for a visit.

For several silent minutes on a winter afternoon, part of my sister’s spirit was with me. And then the magic was gone.

~~~

THE VISIT

Short Story Excerpt

Sherry Isaac

            I held my breath, frozen in place by fear. Fear and one too many paperback murders. A chill ran through me, deeper than the chill outside. I sat still and listened.

            A tap of boots on the mat. Whoever came in the door was polite enough not to track snow through the house. Another small grunt of effort echoed up the stairs as someone bent to unlace a pair of boots. Snap, snap, snap, small sounds amplified by our narrow stairwell.

            Boots removed, socked feet padded into the kitchen. A zipper slid down its track, a clink as it released, and a rustle of material as a jacket was shrugged off shoulders. A series of small ‘ahems’, loose phlegmy sounds as a closed throat was cleared. Another clink as the zipper hit wood, the jacket thrown over the back of a kitchen chair.

            Jenny.

Winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac’s tales of life, love and forgiveness that transcend all things, including the grave, appear online and in print. Her first collection of shorts, Storyteller, debuts July 2011. For more information, or to order an autographed copy, click HERE.

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TA-DA! Site Unveiled and Winners Announced!

It’s here! Today is the day!

I’m excited to announce the winners of the Name My New Blogging Days contests! And the winner’s are:

Moonday’s Mania from Kat Archer  and Thursdays Bite from Carol Kilgor!

Congratulations and I will be contacting you about your prize!

Thanks to everyone who rescued me and contributed the wonderful (and crazy) names. I considered each and every one, but I can only use two. I’m thrilled to be keeping up with the Wonderful Wednesday’s and Fantastic Fridays out in the blogging world. Great job peeps!

You’ve probably already noticed the new look. This is the first part of my paranormal push. A new look for my new focus, paranormal all the way! Most of the changes I made a few weeks ago. I added a calendar page of events and moved some widgets around for greater ease, but I saved the new look for today and the contest announcement. I have to thank my wonderful photographer husband for the pictures. I’m looking forward to working with him again and getting some more paranormal pics.

Another exciting  new piece is the addition of my blogging on Thursdays. Now that I have a phenomenal new name for my Thursday blog I will be dedicating Thursdays to the paranormal reader. This Thursday will be on twisting Fairytales, and after that every Thursday will have a paranormal bent.

The last piece in my perfect triangle is the addition of guest bloggers, starting with my good friend Sherry Isaac. Sherry’s new anthology Storyteller is coming out July 30th and she will be blogging here August First and August Eighth. Check out the new calendar page for updates on what I’m doing and all my exciting guests.

I’m also thrilled to announce that the first Friday of every month, starting with  August 5th, I’ll have a permanent place on  ParanormalFreebies.com . My monthly blog there will be Magical Musings and will focus on spells and magic in the world of the paranormal.

I’d love to hear what you think of the new site and the new blog names, go ahead and leave a comment for me!

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Rescue Me!

At the beginning of this year I took a deep breath and dove in. I started a blog. I didn’t know what I was going to write about, who would read it or even really what my purpose was in writing it. I just knew that I needed to do it if I was to succeed at a writing career. And it’s been a ton of fun. I’ve met new people and realized that, yes, I can do this every week. I have a lot I want to say. And a few people who want to listen. Amazing.

For those of you who have been following along, you know I took a class from Carolyn Cooper on author web presence. And even before that I began reading Kristen Lamb‘s book We Are Not Alone, both of which told me the same thing. I’m building a following of writers. Which is nice and lovely and I love each and every one of you! But I’m missing out on a group of people known as readers who don’t write. Crazy, I know. Doesn’t everyone write? Apparently not. So,  I’m about to enact change onto the site. You have been warned!

My first change will be to start a writers day and a readers day. This way I’ll get to keep my writer followers happy and maybe add some readers. Maybe some of you writers read too? Nah! I must be crazy.

I’ve already started blogging for writers on Monday, so I’m going to keep that and add Thursdays for paranormal readers. The problem is, I don’t have a sweet name for my individual blogs. Ashely March has Writer Wednesdays and we’ve all heard about Man Candy Monday. I don’t think it has to have the day of the week in it, but something catchy would be terrific.

So I’m opening it up to you all. I need you to leave any ideas for Mondays writer blog or Thursday’s paranormal reader blog in the comment box.  If I use your name there is a $10 either Borders or B&N gift card in it for you. Come on peeps, put on your thinking caps on and rescue me!

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