Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rough Drafts on Speed

Woohoo! I can officially say that I have completed the first draft of my sequel to Gluttony! I started this draft on July 1st, 2010 and literally just wrapped it up moments ago. The first draft is just a smidge under 86,000 words and I know for a fact that I chopped at least 12,000 words out. All together, I'm very pleased with how this sequel turned out. This sure beats the three years it took me to get my first book, that is still in the dresser drawer, done!

So, now onto the fun part. Revising, or editing, or re-writing, whatever you want to call it. The idea would be to have it ready to go to Carolyn by the end of October and hopefully sooner, like have it ready for the Surrey International Writers Conference.

While this is all good there is a little kernel of concern sprouting in my head. What I'm worried about is, is this a fast enough turn around? I think its fast, but I'm far from a professional at this point in my career. Anyone got any ideas on what the industry standard is as to how fast we should be getting our sequels done as a debut author? I've seen a few authors mention how long it takes them, but they are writing short stories, something in the 55,000 word range and I don't think that is a fair standard when I'm writing something twice the size when its all said and done.

Let me what you think folks. Whether it's your opinion, experience or something you've read, I'd love to know what you think about the speed of getting a rough draft done.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reasons to Date a Writer. . . Kind of.

I couldn't stop laughing at this post and so thought I would share it with all of you. Even though I'm married, many of these reasons still apply. I have linked back to the original post for any who want to check it out. Enjoy!


There is this thing currently going around tumblr about why dating a writer is good. I think it’s nice that this thing is going around, because I like writers, and lots of us could use more dates. As a writer who has dated people, though — including other writers — I would like to offer some correctives to this list.

The items in bold are the alleged reasons to date a writer. I have replaced the original commentary with my bleak corrective, in lightface.

Writers will romance you with words. We probably won’t. We write for ourselves or for money and by the time we’re done we’re sick of it. If we have to write you something there’s a good chance it’ll take us two days and we’ll be really snippy and grumpy about the process.

Writers will write about you. You don’t want this. Trust me.

Writers will take you to interesting events. No. We will not. We are busy writing. Leave us alone about these “interesting events.” I know one person who dates a terrific writer. He goes out alone. She is busy writing.

Writers will remind you that money doesn’t matter so much. Yes. We will do this by borrowing money from you. Constantly.

Writers will acknowledge you and dedicate things to you. A better way to ensure this would be to become an agent. That way you’d actually make money off of talking people through their neuroses.

Writers will offer you an interesting perspective on things. Yes. Constantly. While you’re trying to watch TV or take a shower. You will have to listen to observations all day long, in addition to being asked to read the observations we wrote about when you were at work and unavailable for bothering. It will be almost as annoying as dating a stand-up comedian, except if you don’t find these observations scintillating we will think you’re dumb, instead of uptight.

Writers are smart. The moment you realize this is not true, your relationship with a writer will develop a significant problem.

Writers are really passionate. About writing. Not necessarily about you. Are you writing?

Writers can think through their feelings. So don’t start an argument unless you’re ready for a very, very lengthy explication of our position, our feelings about your position, and what scenes from our recent fiction the whole thing is reminding us of.

Writers enjoy their solitude. So get lost, will you?

Writers are creative. This is why we have such good reasons why you should lend us $300 and/or leave us alone, we’re writing.

Writers wear their hearts on their sleeves. Serious advice: if you meet a writer who’s actually demonstrative, be careful.

Writers will teach you cool new words. This is possibly true! We may also expect you to remember them, correct your grammar, and look pained after reading mundane notes you’ve left for us.

Writers may be able to adjust their schedules for you. Writers may be able to adjust their schedules for writing. Are you writing? Get in line, then.

Writers can find 1000 ways to tell you why they like you. By the 108th you’ll be pretty sure we’re just making them up for fun.

Writers communicate in a bunch of different ways. But mostly writing. Hope you don’t like talking on the phone — that shit is rough.

Writers can work from anywhere. So you might want to pass on that tandem bike rental when you’re on vacation.

Writers are surrounded by interesting people. Every last one of whom is imaginary.

Writers are easy to buy gifts for. This is true. Keep it in mind when your birthday rolls around, okay?

Writers are sexy. No argument. Some people think this about heroin addicts, too.

Alternate solution: it will be pretty much like dating anyone else who likes to do a particular thing, you know?

Friday, September 24, 2010


Guest Blog by: Adam Russell Stephens

To quote a friend on Twitter, “Some issues need to be addressed; not silenced and suppressed!” In case you’ve been hiding in the crags of Mount Doom for the past few days, Sunday began what is known across America as Banned Books Week. Backed by the American Library Association and other such worthy organizations, Banned Books Week is the seven-day time frame readers nationwide celebrate anti-censorship efforts by reading their favorite banned or challenged book. Or if you’re crazy like me, you attempt to read a different banned book every day (I’ve only downed one so far; it was epic).

Whatever the case, you can assure hundreds of thousands of readers have at least dedicated a day of their time to pouring—or in my case, slogging—through a banned or challenged novel in support of a worthy cause. But you may be asking yourself, “Who would bother banning a book in America?” Which is, of course, a noteworthy inquiry. After all, does not the “land of the free” maintain a Freedom of Speech clause? Does not Freedom of Speech mean just that—one may “speak freely” of whatever they desire? Even if it does damage the general populace?

The answer to these questions is a definite yes. Anyone who attempts to trample underfoot any human being’s right to read anything from books on political anarchy to novels dealing with rape and drug abuse has suddenly crossed the line. By American standards and bylaws, they have suddenly become unconstitutional.

Why, then, do book banners persist? One can never say, but if we are to believe their claims, it is because they’re ensuring their children remain free of the drivel often published and placed onto library shelves and classroom reading lists. It might be easy to side with these censorship fanatics, except for the mere fact that while ensuring the literary virginity of their children (and themselves for that matter), they are robbing the rest of America of their freedom to practice a key portion of the First Amendment.

Just Sunday, September 19, 2010 a book banner by the name of Wesley Scroggins in Missouri was reported as working to remove SPEAK, Laurie Halse Anderson’s extraordinarily moving novel, from a local high school’s reading list. He believed it and other novels on the list should be classified as “soft pornography.” An hour and a half away in Stockton, about a week or two prior to the Anderson event, a unanimous vote from the school board actually banned Sherman Alexie’s THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN from classrooms! “This book in a nutshell is my hope,” one student claimed, “It's not about giving up. It's about not letting people tell you you're not worth it.”

This week on Twitter, the hashtag #SpeakLoudly has become quite popular (I wouldn’t be surprised to see it trend by the end of the week). When it comes to anti-censorship, this hashtag should be our daily mantra, words we say when all someone wants to do is shut us up. Let Banned Books Week 2010 be about speaking up. Join the chorus and chant with one voice, “Speak Loudly!”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Dangers of Social Media by Brenda Sedore

Guest post by Brenda Sedore

Social media can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It depends on how much you control it or how much it controls you. Let me explain.

As my husband, Daryl Sedore, and I prepared to launch our debut novels around the same time, we began exploring social media as a marketing tool. We discovered that it is imperative to the modern author.

What is social media? The main players in this new game are Twitter and Facebook. Twitter allows you to connect with others in the publishing industry as well as the readers of your books. You can both cross-promote other authors and reach your readers in a personal way.
I recently read The Tale of Halcyon Crane and did a review on it on Goodreads, another great social media tool. I gave it 4 stars and did a quick review on the high points of the novel. My review was posted to Twitter. Within a few hours, the author, Wendy Webb, sent me a tweet thanking me for my review and expressing her pleasure that I'd enjoyed her book.

I thought to myself how things have changed for the better. In the past, I wouldn't have had a personal note from the author. I might have taken the trouble to write a fan letter, which may or may not have been replied to, but not always by the author herself. How nice to connect with an author of whom I'm a fan. That's one of the beauties of social media.

The other big player in the social media game is Facebook. Facebook was started as a way of connecting to people you know or have known in the past. It is rapidly becoming a way of promoting books and other endeavors. My son, Dan Oig, is a musician. Social media sites such as Facebook have given him a much wider audience than he might otherwise have gotten in a small Canadian city.

Now, back to why I called this post The Dangers of Social Media. Everything sounds perfect, doesn't it? For everything positive, there is always a negative side. Just like anything with the Internet, it needs to be handled with self-control. If your reasons for using social media are to promote yourself, you need to have something to promote, yes? If you're promoting your writing, you need to take time to write. It's easy to keep Twitter open while writing, or stop in the middle of a scene to check Facebook and see how many new friend requests you have.


It is important to keep your social media to within a framework of time. When it's time to write, shut off Twitter and Facebook. If you need to, use a writing program that has a fullscreen feature. I use Scrivener. It's perfect for the job. The only way to do your best writing is to shut off all distractions.

You have to be careful to keep the writing as the most important part of what you do. If you don't, spending time on social media may very well take up most of your writing time.
There is another danger. It's easy to forget that the people you chat with every day are people you don't know. This is still a business and you need to act in a business-like manner. If you want to Tweet and Facebook personal things, you should have a separate account.

Too many people have Twitter accounts to promote their work and they end up talking about their personal life. I'm not saying to keep it all impersonal, but there is a point. One literary agent was tweeting about how her baby took off her dirty diaper and threw it against the wall. TMI (too much information) people.

So, if you have a lot of friends that you want to be personal with, have a separate account. I have an account for my cooking interest. I follow chefs and farmer's markets, etc, but with this separate profile. You want to present a certain image that will resonate with your readers. You need to be real, just not TOO real.

Social media is a tool like any other. A tool is only as good as the craftsman using it. Use social media wisely and it can be your best friend. Just remember, even a friend becomes annoying if you spend too much time with them. Taking breaks will only heighten the enjoyment.
I'd love to hear how social media has worked for you as an author, musician, or whatever your passion is. Do you see it as an important tool, or something you don't have time for? Please leave a comment with your thoughts. Social media and blogging is about connections and conversations. Thanks for reading.

Links to some great social media sites:

Photo credit: Chris Wallace

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Fresh New Blog Look

I think this is my fourth or fifth change to my blog. If you asked my husband, he would tell you that this is normal for me. How many times has he come home to re-arranged furniture? More than is normal I'm quite sure.

Let me tell you why I like this particular design. There were others that I thought were darker, more suited to a writer of urban fantasy, but they were TOO damn dark and I couldn't get any of my words to show up! This is what I get for not being as technically savvy as I'd like. So the light colour scheme of this background has a lot to do with why I chose it. It also has some great swirly magigs which caught my fancy.

So tell me what you think, let me have it straight up, no dilution. Too sissy? Girly? Ready for a change already?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

First Submission to a Publishing House

Okay, here we go for real, for real now! This is going to be a short post as I'm typing it on my fifteen minute lunch break so as all my wonderful followers can be kept up to date.

I recieved an email from my fantastic agent, Carolyn Swayze, where in she let me know that she had sent of a submission of my ms for Gluttony, and the first three chapters of book #2, Wrath to a MAJOR publishing house! I nearly wet my pants. Of course, that was after I choked on my maccaroni and cheese.

We could expect at the longest for it to take a month for the editor of said publishing house to get back to us, but it may be shorter. Let me show you what I mean. I can't tell you how happy I am to have such a phenomenol agent. Here's what she said to the editor (I've put "the editor" and "them" in place of name and gender) :

I told the editor that it was going to be a multiple submission but as the editor had invited it, I was giving them priority, and teased them by adding "go ahead, make a pre-emptive offer". This might spur them to drop everything and read asap.

Now we just have to wait and see. (Sorry for any spelling mistakes, computer and internet were acting up!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

How Quading helps Writers

For those of you new to my blog, here's an update. I've written an Urban fantasy that does not involve vampires, werewolves or witches. I have an agent. I have deadlines. I have anxiety.

The past six years have been a journey of writing for me, working on my first novel and hiding out in the back bedroom so no one would know what I was up to all the way to attending the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference where I met my fantastic agent, Carolyn Swayze. Some days it seems to have happened so fast I'm afraid to blink in case I miss something. Other days I'm full of impatience, waiting for the next step, urging the process to hurry up.

And still there are other days where I wonder what the hell I'm doing, how could anyone think a goober like me could be a writer? I think I need the flashes of immaturity, they take away the anxiety. For instance, today I figured out where the quad keys were hidden, started the Beast up and proceeded to tear up and down the road with my Ipod on nice and loud. The new ruts in the road are a particular mark of pride for me.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you have writing related stress, find a nice, immature activity and that should shake all the anxiety write, I mean right out of you. Have fun, take a breather and steal your husbands quad. If nothing else, you'll have to come up with a good story for the appearance of burnouts, branch scratches on your face and the windswept look of your hair.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Art of Mastering Fear

I found this long quote when I was cleaning up the other day. It has always been one of my favorites but it went missing in one of our moves. I was so pleased to find it as fear has been one of my many struggles within my life. Hopefully you enjoy this as much as I do.

Fear is a wild horse that needs a tight rein, for it is both friend and foe, both good and evil, and to live effectively one must learn to master it. . .

By using the fear of insecurity, defeat and failure as a lash and spur to high achievement.

By flooding the dark corners of fear and superstition with the bright light of reason and knowledge, this mapping the unknown, overcoming fancy with fact, dispersing hobgoblins of the imagination and revealing the truth that sets one free.

By beholding the power of faith to work miracles, as expressed in these inspiring words: "Fear knocked at the door: Faith opened it. And lo, there was no one there."

Wilfred A Peterson

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Contest Results!

Here are the official results for my first ever contest! Congratulations to all the winners and thank you again to all who participated in getting the word our there via Twitter and Blogs.

Grand Prize of a $50 Starbucks G/C and the first book in the Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake Series, Guilty Pleasures goes to. . . .


Second Place and winner of the first two books in Kelley Armstong's series, Bitten and Stolen goes to. . .

ANASSA who writes from her blog Specnology

Third place and winner of Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey is. . .


Fourth through tenth place winners have the opportunity to write a guest blog here on Wringing Out Words. In no particular order they are :

Annie Q Syed (@so_you_know)
Adam Russell
CA Marchall (@ca_marshall)
Julie Butcher
Brenda Sedore
Jessica Brooks (@coffeelvnmom)
Shawna Thomas (@writermomof5)

Be sure to leave a comment with your email so I can contact you about your prize, how to get it to you or what and when you'd like to do a guest posting! Again, congratulations to the winners!

P.S. Good contest or not so much? Would you enter again?? Thinking about making this a three times a year kind of deal

Contest Wrap Up

First I'd like to welcome all the new blog and twitter followers that found me as a result of my contest, which of course was the point of the whole shebang. ;) This has been a very interesting experience and I can see a few flaws in my contest details, but overall I think it went very well.

As I'm still tallying everyone's entries up, making sure I translate Twitter names into real names and all that jazz, it may take me another day or so before the full list of winners gets posted. I will tell you that I have decided to have 10 winners, 6-10 being guest blog posts here on Wringing out Words.

As some of you may have read the fine print, I stole this idea from CA Marshall who's contest I entered a couple of months back. Coming full circle, Cassandra is having another contest, again for a free manuscript edit! And yes, I will be entering her contest. I think it's an awesome prize and one that any writer can use. Cassandra's contest ends on September 20th and if things go as they did last time, there won't be just one free edit handed out, but a few. (She's far too nice!) So good luck to those who entered my contest, and good luck to those who enter CA Marshall's Contest.