Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Finished... Oh, Wait.

Yesterday I finished my third (or was it fourth?) complete read/edit of Beauty Secrets, which you all know is very time consuming. But now I can confidently say that "it's done!"... for now. Some of you might remember that my goal four weeks ago was to finish my edits and send BS off to the St. Martin/Minotaur First Crime Novel Competition, well today my friend I'm doing just that. After paying $58.04 to have my manuscript printed, I'm packing it up and shipping it off. It feels so good to have that goal checked off my list. And the time couldn't be more perfect with NaNo starting in two days (boy, do I have A LOT of work to do between now and Sunday).

Also, with wrapping up BS, I'll have some more time to work on revising my query again. Thank you all for your comments this week. I'll put the advice to work and revamp my query over the weekend and repost it next week. Hopefully I'll be able to add the voice that I know is missing.
This Just In

I'd like to give a big thank you to Debra Schubert over at Write On Target for the awesome blog bling and such kind words. Okay folks, you know how it goes. Here are the rules:

1) Copy the pretty picture and post it on your blog.
2) Thank the person that gave it to you and link to their blog.
(Did I mention how awesome Debra is?)
3) Write 7 things about yourself we don't know.
4) Choose 7 other bloggers to pass the award to.
5) Link to those 7 other bloggers.
6) Notify your 7 bloggers.

Seven things you've always wanted to know about yours truly:
1. Cherry yogurt is my favorite flavor. Key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, Boston cream pie, and Pineapple upside down cake are just wrong.

2. Just like my protagonist, Keira, I have an obsessive personality, which makes for excellent determination, but can also make me a little batty. If I want to write, I do, and if you make me do anything else, I'll be very grumpy.

3. In keeping with number 2, I'm also stubborn and you'll have a helluva time trying to get me to do something that I don't want to do :)

4. Wine and dark chocolate make the perfect gift, in case you were wondering. My birthday is April 27th...

5. And speaking of that, 27 is my all-time favorite number. Not only is it lucky, but it also makes me smile and it happens to be how old I am.

6. Writing also makes me smile, and I'm VERY excited to be starting LIP GLOSS & LIES! I just have such an awesome feeling about this series. Good things are about to happen.

7. And there's nothing better than having Halloween on a Saturday. Sleeping in, eating candy all day and watching scary movies (well, Scooby Doo anyway). Tomorrow is going to be so much fun!

And now I must now nominate seven other worthy blogs...

1. Bane's Blogging Blues - in addition to being an awesome fantasy writer, Bane posts funny youtube videos and cute puppy pictures for our entertainment. What's not to love?

2. Jennifer Bennett - Jen's just so nice and her blog is always too cute. And I love her blog topics, like yesterday's post titled "What Sells" where she ask's the question that if something sells then does that make it great? Good question!

3. A Misinterpreted Wave - Chris writes beautiful poetry and I must admit that her vocabulary is impressive (read: I'm jealous). Stop by and see what I'm talking about.

4. Penny Lane - The girl loves cupcakes and skittles, has an adorable kitty cat names Jasmine, and she's brave enough to video blog. Yeah, video blog. Even I'm not brave enough for that.

5. VR Barkowski - Fellow NaNo participant, VR's blog is full of the type of fantastic information and links that writers like us want to know. Awesome job.

6. The Bloodcrossed Writer - Tara's a fabulous writer and reviewer extraordinaire. Videos and links will keep you entertained for hours.

7. Regina Rhythm - Regina's blog says she a writer, artist and adventuress - you got that right. Regina's blog is fresh, informative and most of all, creative.

So there you have it, my choices for the Kreative Blogger award. Happy Halloween everyone!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

National Novel Writing Month - You in?

I've been seeing this - NaNoWriMo - out on the blogosphere lately and until tonight I had no idea what it stood for. But alas, I have become educated and now know that it stands for the National Novel Writing Month, which takes place Nov 1-30. According to the website:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Wowzers! If I recall, I remember a few folks talking about this last year, but they were already way to into it and I was way too lazy to get involved. But this year? Now that could be cool, as you all know I'm thinking about starting a new novel anyway. AND the more I think about it, I actually wrote the first draft of BS in two months (65k) and that was with a lot of days of doing nuttin'.

Reading through the website, the 10 steps to success are pretty amusing. Take #4 for example:
4) Begin procrastinating by reading through all the great advice and funny stories in the forums. Post some stories and questions of your own. Get excited. Get nervous. Try to rope someone else into doing this with you. Eat lots of chocolate and stockpile noveling rewards.

But most of all, it's #10 that's my favorite:
10) Win or lose, you rock for even trying.

The rules of NaNo seem pretty basic too. I especially like this one, "Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times." See, basic. I can handle that.

So, what's my game plan you ask? Well, according to the guidelines you have to start from scratch, BUT you can have your outline and character sketches already developed, which is a very, very good thing. Without these steps done, my confidence in completing even 25,000 would be bleak. So that's where I'm starting. Over the next few days I'll finish outlining LIP GLOSS & LIES and get ready to write. Wait, first I need to sign up...

Now, what about you? You in? C'mon, it'll be fun...

Oh, I'll also add that I just saw they have a "word war" widget where you can compete with up to 5 authors and it'll keep track of everyone's word count on your blog. How cool is that?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Can I Get An Opinion Here?

Series - have you ever written one? They tend to be my favorite to read and write because once I meet a character, I hang on and don't let go until the. very. last. page.

Sounds all poetic, doesn't it? But is that really practical from a writing standpoint? Especially for an un-agented writer like moi?

I think I remember reading somewhere that Janet Evanovich doesn't recommend it - not until the first book sells. Which technically makes sense. Why would you write a sequel if the the first book hasn't sold yet? Duh. Who cares if you love the characters and the plot?!


But what do you guys think?

In case you can't tell, I'm itching to start a new WIP. I've done just about all I can with BEAUTY SECRETS and I'm looking to spark my creativity again with a new novel. I've tentatively titled BS's (nice acronym) sequel LIP GLOSS & LIES - and I already have it outlined, but I haven't written a single scene yet.

So, before I dash off to write a the next greatest novel, I'd thought I'd get your opinion. You tell me, write a sequel or start something new?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Whatcha Think? New Query

Once again I've revised my query letter and I'd love to hear your feedback/suggestions/opinions. I find the hardest part in writing this lovely letter is trying to fit EVERYTHING into a couple of paragraphs. Have I included the key plot points? Have I hooked you? Is it well written? Are interested to read more?

So, the following is my most recent attempt at my query for BEAUTY SECRETS. Enjoy!

Dear Mr. Agent,

Beauty Secret Representative Keira Diaz was out to sell lipstick, not solve a mystery. An early morning house call to client Marion Siebold changes that. Marion’s playboy husband, Roger, is missing and unknowingly Keira is the first to arrive at the scene of the crime. The Beaufort Police Department quickly dismisses the case; their resources are already stretched investigating a kidnapped little girl. What the police don’t realize is that one man is the key to solving both crimes.

Keira’s Southern socialite clientele hold the clues to propel the investigation forward. If it weren’t for them, Keira would have never learned of Roger’s infidelity while his wife battled breast cancer, or set up her best friend with Savannah’s most corrupt businessman. As the evidence builds, Keira vows to find Roger. What she wasn’t planning on was finding him dead—or befriending the murderer.

BEAUTY SECRETS is complete at 65,000 words. If interested, the full manuscript is available upon request. In terms of writing experience, I’ve worked as an editor for five years and I teach advanced writing courses at a local university. For more information about me or my writing, please visit my blog at

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I got my New Moon tickets today! Yes, I know, it's not hitting theaters for another month, but the show sells out fast and I didn't want to be left out in the cold (seriously, I live in Michigan. It's freezing here already). Yay! I'm so flippin' excited even though the book lacks literal merit (all those adverbs!) and Rob Pattinson can't act (but he looks hot!) and Kristen Stewart is just so socially awkward (she really, really, is!) - I still will be there on midnight with my fellow Twi-hards wearing my New Moon gear and screaming with delight.

In other news, I've been busy editing these last few days. It's more like adding as opposed to editing seeing I'm taking an agent's advice and bringing more of the beauty selling aspect into Beauty Secrets. I'm also adding to my query letter, which I'm planning on posting here and over at the PQS soon. All of your feedback will be mucho appreciated.

Thanks and Happy Friday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Oprah Effect

We all know that it's all about the O, but have you ever realized just how strong Oprah's influence is? Your product appears on her show or in O Magazine and suddenly you're a millionaire. It doesn't matter if five minutes ago your business was in the tank and no one had heard of your book.

One of the courses I'm teaching this semester is argumentative writing, which includes the analysis of advertising strategies, and there is no greater product endorsement than Ms. Oprah Winfrey. It is seriously amazing just how quickly Oprah's touch turns everything into gold - or make that platinum, multimillion-dollar metal.

If you have 42 minutes to spare, or even just five, check out this CNBC Original documentary (season 1, episode 26) titled, "The Oprah Effect" (the link takes you to

I guarantee you'll be blown away (or maybe just slightly amazed) by one woman's influence. And if you're like me, you too will quickly be thinking about how you can get the Oprah Effect to work for you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Love It!

Okay, so you know when you've read your MS over and over and over again, and you feel like you're not getting anywhere and you wonder why and heck you even bother?
Well, that was me the last couple weeks. But then, I opened BEAUTY SECRETS and started reading and it all came back to me. I wrote a damn good story. It's clever, and witty, and funny, and my grandmother likes it. My grandmother I tell you! She said that it was a quick, fun mystery read. The kind that she'll spend an entire day reading just so she can find out who did it. How awesome is that.

That's all I wanted -- a fun cozy mystery. And I got it. So now I'll keep that in mind as I edit (again) and prepare to send out query letters (again). Because I have a damn good story and some agent and publisher and reader out there is going to love it. Who-hoo!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back to Basics

Sometimes I think you need to take a step backwards before you can move forward, especially when it comes to writing. (Heck, isn't that the definition of editing?) Which is why the last couple weeks I've taken a step back and allowed a healthy distance to grow between me and my work; time to chillax and reflect.

But today? Today I'm focusing on getting back to the basics of my writing. I love words; the way they sound, their rhythm. Writing is just cool.

So cheers to all you writers out there for being cool and keepin' it real. It's time to go to work.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm Obsessed!

Just like Keira Diaz, my protagonist in BEAUTY SECRETS, I obsess over things all the time. I use the word things, because there really isn't any rhyme or reason to my obsessions.

Take this week for example. My Mom and I have spent every spare moment finishing a quilt for moi. Why do I need a quilt? Well, because they're cool. And I like 'em. So, we finally finished the quilt last night at 9 p.m. and where was I this afternoon? At Joann's buying more material to make another one. Why? Because the first one was so much fun silly.

So now instead of blogging, reading or writing, I am spending my time quilting - and watching Mad Men because apparently I'm obsessed with that show too (and you can't forget NCIS).

Of course, it's not like I have any free time. I really need to be grading right now and editing. I was on a roll writing daily the last 8 months (seriously, it's been eight months, wow!) and right now I feel like being creative in some other way. I'm still writing though too. Just last night I was making mental notes for more things to add to BEAUTY SECRETS. It's just I'd rather be quilting.

So, what about you? What are YOUR other creative endeavors?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Have No Fear - I Haven't Disappeared!

Phew! What a busy couple of weeks it has been. With the semester officially well underway, I feel that I can FINALLY get back to my writing, which I plan on diving back into on Wednesday.

So what about you? Do you ever HAVE to take a break from your writing--family life's calling, you're busy with school, remodeling your house, or like me, all of the above? Or do you ever just WANT to take a break--walk away for awhile and take a vacation?

I guess I have a tendency to do both. And honestly, sometimes it can be hard to jump back in. Must. Find. Motivation.

So again, what about you? Do you have to take a break? Want to take a break? Need a little motivation? Or maybe you're so motivated you need a chill pill?

I'd love to hear about it. Please share!