Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What Writer’s Do with Their Time

Part of the immense fun of being a writer is the super exhilarating…


That’s right. Much of a writer’s life is spent in a waiting flux.

Some people may think that sounds like a huge boring snooze-fest…but not the writer – NO! NO! – this waiting is just part of the fun.  

[NOTE: If you’ve been a writer for a while, this post will confirm that you’re not crazy and if you’re working on your first manuscript…refer to this post when your hair starts to fall out.]

Wait number one: When we’re drafting a manuscript, life is at an all-time-high. Our ideas fly with beautiful brilliance from our fingertips and fill the once pristine pages with stories we believe will surely find a home on every bookshelf. We can’t wait to share our masterpiece with the world. [If you’re a newbie scribe, please wait. I’m begging you. Wait and read on.]

Wait number two: Once the first draft is complete, there is a wait before we edit. Why? Because the longer we’re away from our masterpiece, the more realistic vision we’ll have when we return. During this wait, most writers begin another masterpiece. Repeat Wait number one.

Wait number three: It’s time to edit, it’s been a few weeks and we just know when we open our manuscript the eloquent prose that we loved so dearly will need little to no revisions. Unfortunately, that is rarely true. Nope, once we remove those rose-colored drafting goggles and gaze at the excess drivel we thought was so fantastic before, we realize eighty-percent of it is complete sludge, not fit for even the most gracious of critique partners. We would die if anyone read this crap!

Wait number four: Finish the first, second, third, fourth and fifth rounds of revisions it takes to cement all that brilliance into cohesive sentences so that anyone, not suffering from dementia, might understand our plot.

Wait number five: Finally, we can send the manuscript to our most-precious couldn’t-live-without-them critique partners. We’ve waited months to get here and we hit send with such great satisfaction…only to realize seconds later that we are once again in a do-nothing holding pattern. 

Wait number six: Repeat Wait numbers one through five on new masterpiece until critique(s) are ready.

Wait number seven: This wait is particularly fragile. It can either propel us forward with the speed of light or send us to the liquor store in our pajamas. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, our manuscripts come back with encouraging words…but also pages and pages of bright red markings. THIS IS GOOD! Our critique partners were never wearing our rose-color drafting goggles and can see much more clearly. Thank them!

Wait number nine: [YES, I skipped Wait number eight because so did you when you left your manuscript on your desktop unopened for three weeks after glancing at the amount of edits needed.] Good revisions. This step is VERY important. When we’re ready to face our demons and take a good look at what our skillful partners-in-lunacy have told us. This is where we turn our slop into a masterpiece. FINISH POLISHING! 

Wait number ten: Send revised masterpiece back to critique partners for the thumbs up to query. If we get a yes-it’s-time-to-send-it, we move on to Wait number eleven. If we get a needs-a-little-more-work, we repeat Wait number nine before passing GO.

Wait number eleven: Query. [The query in itself is its own masterpiece and requires Wait numbers one through ten.] Once our query is given the green light, we send it out [click here to read What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Response to Your Query].

Wait number twelve: Submitting our babies is just that. We send our little ones out into the big bad world and pray they will be received with love and appreciation. And this can take months, but never fear…this is where the real wait, the hopeful- narcissistic-wait [the best wait of all] comes in. Now is the time to get comfortable and settle in for what will surely haunt us for the rest of our lives…because this is only the beginning of the writer’s wait.

To Be Continued...


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I've been tagged!

The fabulous DawnAlexander  tagged me in her
Tell Me Your Story Tuesday
blog post.
Now it's your turn!
The rules are:
  1. Go to page 77 in my current manuscript
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy the next 7 lines/paragraphs and post them as they're written (no cheating!) 
  4. Pass the meme on to 7 other writers

So before I share my 7 paragraphs, here’s my blurb about my SEEK…
YA SF/Paranormal Romance
When shadows bite, it’s time to fight back. Seventeen-year-old SEEK agent Keira Donavan knows her job—Search, Evade, Extract, and Kill the parasitic shadows, called Khayal. But when she encounters Jonathan Steed, her green-eyed sweet talking human target, she learns her life is a lie. Bitten by a Khayal, the huntress becomes the hunted. Keira and her unlikely ally, Jonathan, form a crusade of teenagers to resist an even more formidable adversary, their own government.

And here is my 7 from page 77…

“Spare me the speech.” I push back, knocking him out of the way and jerk on the cabin’s door, but the dumb handle doesn’t budge.
“Keira, I am attracted to you. That’s the problem. I feel – I feel bound to you. But, I don’t… I didn’t think you wanted…”
“I don’t.” I keep my back to him, fighting the angry tears lodged in my throat. “So you can lighten up. How do you open this friggen thing?” I shake the metal handle violently this time. I need air, space, sanity. I need to run.
He means nothing to me, I tell myself and beg my heart to believe it.
He brushes against me and grabs the handle, lifts it gently and watches my face as the door swings open. With one foot hoisted in the air, I’m ready to leap down the stairs into complete darkness, but I halt when Janet’s cool voice yanks my head around.
“I’ll wait for you,” her satiny voice purrs at Jonathan.
Foul thoughts stream in my head.

Thanks for playing:

If you'd like to play too, post your link in the comments below.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It’s Conference Time Again!

In case I haven’t told you, I have a new addiction…writers’ conferences!

The first conference I attended was the DFW Writers'Conference 2011 and it was the best thing I could’ve done as an aspiring author. It’s been a little over a year, and it’s time to return to #DFWcon (follow the twitter feed to see what all the fuss is about).

Before attending DFWcon last year all I knew about the world of writing, querying, publishing, and networking, I’d learned online, and let me tell you…it wasn’t much. So if you’re not attending conferences and you’re an aspiring author, here’s why you should be…

The People!

Writers’ conferences are packed with likeminded people in all stages of their literary journeys. Publishers, editors, agents, authors, and writers…just like us. People who are happy to talk with you and share their advice and their experience, people who listen and can identify with your struggle and know firsthand how lonely and confusing writing can be. And who also understand the drive and passion behind the words and the burning desire to share them with the world. Book nerds united. It's awesome!

The Vast Array of Knowledge

Not only are writers’ conferences chock full of so many classes you’ll feel as though you should’ve earned your PHD in a matter of days, but what you learn outside the classes, is also a hidden blessing of brilliance. Mingle, mix and be merry. 

The Inspiration

Oh my gosh, the inspiration never ends. Hundreds, thousands even, of mega-creative minds whirling around you from sun up to sun down. Success stories abound, authors sharing how a short time ago they were sitting right where you are. Agents sharing how they found author X at a conference and publishers sharing the current trends in the market and predicting where the next big flux is headed. Soak it all in.

The Possibilities

Beside the incredible opportunity to pitch to agents and editors, aside from the mass amounts of learning to hone your craft and perfect your voice, there are other – maybe even more important – opportunities to be found at a conference…uplifting and always supportive friendships. Find them, nurture them. They'll lift you up when you're down and pop-the-cork when it's time to celebrate.

Last year I met four of the most amazing women/writers (in my opinion) ever. We met online (this is why you should visit #DFWcon) and donned purple ribbons to recognize one and other at the conference. We attended classes together, got humiliated at the Gong Show together, ate together and cheered each other on as we worked up the courage to pitch our manuscripts to agents (well, Sharla Lovelace [her book, The Reason is You] had recently landed her awesome agent Jessica Faust at BookEnds, so she wasn’t pitching, but she was the best cheerleader) and we made bonds that will last a lifetime. Okay, so it’s only been a year and a half, but you know when you can just tell? These girls are Friends with a capital F (for FabFive). And the connections haven’t stopped. It has been but a ripple in my pond, continuously expanding. 

And if you need more proof to convince you that conferences (especially DFWcon) is where it’s at, check out my sweet friend (and member of the FabFive), Lindsay Cummings and her success story (she met her agent last year at DFWcon!) here and her blog here.

 Here's last year’s picture.
Left to right, Lindsay Cummings, Sharla Lovelace, Candie Leigh Campbell [me], Janet B Taylor and Dawn Alexander

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Writer's Maze: What to Expect When You’re Expecting Responses to Your Query

Querying feels a lot like labor, the pain comes and goes, makes us narcissistic as we wait hopefully for good news about our baby. Though unlike labor – whose pain is so quickly forgotten once our beautiful baby lands in our loving arms – querying often leaves us empty-handed, exhausted and scared with nothing to show for our effort but a wounded ego and the inevitable question, “Why am I doing this?” And crying out to whoever will listen, “I don’t suck, right? I mean you would tell me if I totally suck, right?” To which, everyone replies, “No you don’t suck. Those agents just have really bad taste,” (Note: I do not believe this, but I appreciate the sentiment). 

If I sound like I know what I’m talking about, it’s because I do. A couple years ago, after working on my first novel for two years, I queried the $#8! out of it, and while I did get a surprising number of requests (for someone who had no idea what they were doing), my submissions resulted in the dreaded “You write well, but…” letters. Now from one agent that might seem like no big deal, but from five agents, I took that to mean I wasn’t quite ready.  

Well, it’s time to start querying again, but I come armed with a better idea of what will happen this time. Here’s what I’ve learned…

1.      Read every single blog, website and twitter (if they have one) of every single agent you’re going to query. Make a note of whether they’re responders or if they’re the “No response means no” type.

2.      Keep a calendar of which agent you queried and when. Mark on the calendar when you should hear back from each agent. If you haven’t heard back by that date, refer to your notes in case that agent is a responder, you may need to follow up (I hate to nudge!). It is not uncommon for queries to get eaten by spam filters. 

3.      Keep track of agents that respond with any type of personal note. Whether it’s a request or a rejection, or a revise and resubmit, agents are busy people and if they took the time to respond personally, that’s a connection (and a HUGE compliment). Remember them.

4.      Don’t send out a herd of queries in one day, querying is slow and time consuming. Be prepared to take your time, know who you want to query and why, and include why you chose that agent in your query. Agents like to know that you’ve done your homework.

5.      Don’t send to all of your top picks at once. Test the water with one or two agents and see how they respond and adjust your pitch, tactics, etc. if needed.

6.      Read blogs. Author blogs, trying-to-be-authors blogs, agent blogs, publishers blogs, success story blogs and anything else you can get your hands on to encourage yourself and keep your spirits high…

…because this is the hardest part. Way harder than writing the awesome novel, harder than eighteen hours of labor – this is your baby, and if you give up and don’t see this querying thing through to the end, then none of us will get to hold your baby in our arms and smell that sweet book smell or feel its crisp pages between our fingers, and none of us will get to hear the story you so desperately want to tell us.

And that is a real tragedy.  

Happy querying and please let me know when I can say “Congratulations on your new baby!”

 Check out the fabulous Ms. Heather Webb’s Blog, Between the Sheets, for more writing = birthing correlations. 

As always, I love comments and followers! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sharla Lovelace: The Reason is You, Release Party and Giveaway!

Welcome back, Sharla Lovelace!  

In the small river town of Bethany, Dani Shane never fit in.  Being different pushed her to the fringes of society, and even leaving town for two decades didn’t stop the talk.  Now, with her sixteen year-old daughter Riley in tow, Dani is back in Bethany looking for a fresh start.  Too bad her plans for staying under the radar are about to be thrown out the window.
Mischievous and sexy, Dani’s old friend Alex still has the power to rock her world, but there’s a big obstacle standing in their way–Alex has been dead for forty years.  With a ghost popping up at inopportune moments and sparking conversations with her teenage daughter, Dani scrambles to find solid ground and get a grip—both on her sanity and her heart.

Click on the image above to read the first chapter of The Reason is You.

Win a copy of The Reason is You 

and a $25 Gift Card for Barnes & Noble

*see details below

1.      Since your last interview on Addicted to Words, which strangely enough was almost exactly one year ago (read here), how has your life changed? 
I got so so so so much busier. LOL.  Writing under contract is very different than when you’re just under your own timeline, so that was eye-opening.
2.      Will there be a sequel to The Reason is You?  
Not at this time, my next book is a stand-alone. 
3. What are you writing now?   
 ;) it’s still in the infant stage…so can’t say…it might turn to goo if I do.
4.  Will you have a new book coming out soon? 
My second book, BEFORE AND EVER SINCE, is scheduled to come out in November.
5.  Book signings? Where can we meet you and get our copies of The Reason is You signed? 
I will be doing a May 19th book signing in Beaumont, TX.  I’m also looking at some Houston stores, but I don’t have any dates yet.  My website www.sharlalovelace.com has a “What’s Happening” tab that I try to stay diligent about updating, so you can always check there.  In any case, I’m always happy to mail out a signed bookplate sticker for your book.  Shoot me a message on the Contact form on my website, and I’ll get one out to you.  It’s not as fun and personal, but it beats driving 500 miles. LOL!
6.  What are your plans for the future, when all of this crazy release stuff settles down, anything you can’t wait to do that you’ve had to put on hold?  
 Go on vacation!!
7.  Goodreads…are you going to peek at the reviews, or duck and run? 
Ohhh, I can already tell I’m going to be a bit obsessive at first.  I already go looking.  J  But I’m only giving myself a couple of weeks to indulge, and then I’m walking away from that.  It’s not good for the muse!
8.  Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?    
Do your research on agents and editors, and customize to them…make it personal.  And make it professional.  And develop a thick skin.
9.  Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers, fans…or Goodreads reviewers?    
I appreciate any and every person that buys my book…the whole experience is very surreal and it still seems bizarre to me that the book is out there.  I hope you all enjoy it, and will tell your friends!
10.  Where can we find more interviews with you?   
Well, for the next fifteen days, I’m on a blog tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, and you can see all the stops here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/01/virtual-book-tour-reason-is-you-by.html  or go to my website to the “What’s Happening” page…I have them listed there by date.
11.  Where can we buy The Reason is You?    
All major bookstores around the country, and online as well. Also on Amazon.
12.  Where can we find your blog:  www.sharlalovelace.com/my-blog     
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/sharlalovelace
Facebook:   www.facebook.com/sharlalovelace

Thanks for joining us again, Sharla. Happy Book Release!

* To enter to win The Reason is You by Sharla Lovelace and a $25 Gift Card to Barnes & Noble...

1. Leave a comment for Sharla below.
2. Tweet, blog, pin or facebook brag about the contest and leave a link.
3. Leave your email so we know where to find you.

Contest runs now through April 30th, 2012

Good luck!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Addicted to Words is Back!

Thanks for all of the well wishes for my friend's daughter and thanks for your understanding in my absence.

I am happy to report that my friend's daughter is doing very well. It's been three months since the accident and she is walking without a walker, her scars are fading and she's got a new outlook on life. She still has a long road of physical therapy and surgeries in the future but we're all grateful she's alive.

In other news...tonight at midnight a Book Release Party and Give Away begins right here, so stay tuned. You don't want to miss it!

See you then.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Quick Note of Apology

I will be away from the blogging world for a while longer still and I apologize for my abrupt and unexplained absence.

A close friend’s daughter was in a horrific car accident (hit & run) and I flew (literally, 3000 miles) to be by her side. Her daughter is going to make a full recovery, but I’m staying a few weeks longer as a caregiver so my friend can return to work and know her daughter is in loving hands.

Thank you all for being such loyal followers and I promise I’ll have a wicked awesome double give away when I return. And while my brain is on hiatus, maybe I can even think of some fantastically witty topic to write about.

I hope you all are well,

Candie ~ Addicted to Words