Thursday, January 28, 2010

Like a Fox

Thursday mornings are rough. I teach a 9 a.m. class and boy do hate getting up early. It's not just getting up, but it's getting up, beautifying myself and being ready to wow the masses before the Early Show has even ended.

(What's that she said? Stephanie doesn't like getting up early? Stephanie Damore, the girl that used to write every morning at 5 a.m. before work. That girl?)

Yes, that girl. You see, after leaving industry last year, I've adapted to my new writing schedule, which means no need for sunrise writing sessions.

Yep, it all comes back to adaptation. As writers, we have to adapt to our environment--figuring out when we can write and making the most out of our time.

Writing schedules aren't the only way writers adapt. What about switching genres? Or adding on a pen name? And who can forget all the e-publishing business (what's going to happen to publishing?!?).

Well folks, here's my forecast. It's going to adapt. It is adapting. Publishing, agents, writers--we're all adapting to make this industry work. We're like the arctic fox--built to withstand the elements. Heck, if our furry friends can adapt in a subzero climate, then we've got this publishing business nailed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hello My Name Is

Bios. I don't like reading them (they always sound so awkward) and I definitely don't like writing them. Why? Well, I'm complex; people are complex. How are you supposed to summarize yourself in three paragraphs?

The answer? You're not.

The way I look at it, bios are situation specific. My bio for grad school isn't the same as the one for my blog or my future book flap. The thing I struggle with is deciding what part of me I want my bio to reflect--a task that isn't easy.

So while I type up my current bio I leave this question up to you: What's your take on bios? Love 'em? Hate 'e? Don't care? Until I can say "Google me. You'll find everything you want to know," it looks like I'll be writing them. Wait, unless I create my own Wikipedia page...now there's an idea =)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Who Do You Write For?

Yourself? Your fans?

Check out the poll I have going on the side and please let me know. Comments explaining your thoughts would be awesome too. What can I say? I'm curious.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Heart of a Critic

This past weekend I was relaxing and watching Ratatouille (Read: Disney movie featuring rats, culinary feats and CHEESE!) when the food critic's (Anton Ego) monologue really hit home. Now of course he's talking about chefs and critic's reviews of them, but of course this totally relates to us writers and the agents and critics we face throughout our careers.

What do you think? Here's the monologue:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends...In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.

I think Anton Ego is right. The world can be unkind to new talent--chefs, writers, actors, musicians, artists--we all face the same daunting task of trying to "make it." And yet, at the end of the day, no matter what anyone says, you know in your heart you've created something worthwhile, meaningful. You don't need a publishing contract or five-star review to designate your work's value.

Now, not everyone will become a great writer, but a great writer can come from anywhere. At the heart of fiction credentials don't matter. What matters is that you write, hone your craft and keep pursuing your dreams.

Monday, January 18, 2010

This Is It

No, not Michael Jackson's movie. This my friends, is my 100th post. Who would've thought when I started this blog last July it would have made it this far? Well, I'm psyched that it has.

So, without further ado, here's a look at where it all began. Um, well, not the first post, but the second. You know, back when my mom and bff were my two followers...

I Am Commercial Fiction

And I'm not talking about my writing either. Nope, I'm talking about me. I'm commercial fiction all the way. You see, I like to think that I appeal to a broad audience. I try to at least. People are fascinating, from all walks of life. It's nice to be able to converse with everyone ranging from brain surgeons to homeless folks. Everyone has a good story. You don't need to have credentials or a house to be able to tell it.

I guess sometimes I'd like to be literary fiction, but I don't always fit in with the "intellectually adventurous audience." But you know what, I'm okay with that.

I think my writing reflects that too. At least BEAUTY SECRETS does. You don't have to be a literary fiction socialite to get it. To me that's important. Maybe someday I'll tackle a literary novel, but for now, good ol' fashioned whodunits are what you're going to get from me. Who doesn't like a good mystery anyway?

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Love Food

Reading everyone's Happy Posts have led to me realize that us writers really love food, especially CHEESE! and SUGAR!!!

This of course got me to thinking about my own writer diet, which is very unhealthy, but oh so enjoyable. For example, I eat chocolate ice cream while querying agents. It takes the sting out of rejection and makes the process slightly enjoyable. Edy's Double Churn Chocolate is my fav.

Second example, Nerds always make the day taste sweeter. I totally love crunching on the sugary candy while editing. Writing not so much, as inevitably a few are bound to drop into the keyboard and put a funk in my day. My currently handicapped space bar can attest to that.

And who could forget frosting? I have yet to meet a flavor I did not like.

Thank heavens for gym memberships and willpower. After all, we can't eat too much, right? I mean, we all have to look hot for our book tours and pub photos!

Okay, so what about you? Any favorite foods that I missed out on? Care to share your foodie obsession?

Cheers to you--I'm off to scope out the fridge...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

C'Mon Get Happy

A big thank you to Stephanie Thornton of Hatshepsut: The Writing of a Novel for awarding me the ├╝ber-delicious Happy 101 award. Cupcakes and an award? Count me in.

First up, the rules (which are pretty simple). I'm supposed to list 10 things that make me happy and then pass the award on to 10 recipients. See? Simple.

Here I go.

1. Love. I am a romantic mushy girlie girl when it comes to the big L word. Love makes me very, very happy.

2. Up North. In Michigan, going up north is like going to a party--all your friends will be there. Even in the winter time people trek up north to go sledding and ice fishing, which is exactly what I'm doing this weekend. I can't wait!

3. Gardening. Strawberries, daisies, tomatoes and roses--I plant them all. I love nature and nurturing its growth.

4. Reading. Technically writing makes me happy too, but reading is SO much easier. I absolutely love getting lost in other people's stories and thinking about the characters hours after I've put the book down. Super cool.

5. Quiet mornings. Morning like today when I have the house to myself, a hot cup of cocoa, and a fully-charged laptop. Look out world, Stephanie Damore is out to tackle you.

6. Quilting. I love making quilts, especially baby ones. They're always super cute and friends love receiving them as gifts. Quilting also serves as another creative outlet when I'm drained from writing, but still wanna create something awesome.

7. Ice cream. YUM! I never liked chocolate ice cream much, but now it's my favorite flavor. Just yesterday I dug into a bowl of Edy's double churned chocolate while querying for BEAUTY SECRETS. Ice cream and querying, now there's a winning combination.

8. Blogging. Blogging really makes me happy. I love reading what you all have to say and having a place to express my personality every single day. Aren't blogs wonderful?

9. Cleaning. I might be on my own on this one, but I really like having a clean house. Now, I'm not saying my house is clean all the time, but it makes me happy when it is. I feel so productive after making my house shine.

10. Adventure. Whether it's traveling around the country or just trying a new restaurant, being adventurous makes me happy. Life's an adventure, live it!

Okay, now the 10 blogs that make me happy are as follows: (Oh, and sorry if you've already received this award, but you make me happy, so you get to receive it again!)

1. Laura Martone, Laura's Simple Pleasures
2. Shannon O'Donnell, Book Dreaming
3. Rayna Reads, Breaking into Publishing, One Day at a Time
4. Jennifer J. Bennett
5. Voidwalker, Into the Void
6. Wendy Sparrow, Where Ladybugs Roar
7. Diana Paz, Writing Roller Coasters
8. DebraLSchubert, Write On Target
9. Matthew Delman, Free the Princess
10. Lynnette Labelle, Chatterbox Chit Chat

Okay people, pass the happiness on!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Yes folks, today is the one year anniversary of me being a full time writer. How do I know? Because my unemployment checks have run out :)

On a positive note, this past year has taught me so much--not just about myself, but about the publishing industry and what it truly means to be a writer. I have all of you to thank for that, so THANK YOU!

What's in store for me this next year? Well, for starters I'm still querying BEAUTY SECRETS and looking for that perfect agent to take it on. I'm also busy writing INFINITY = ME and plan to have a solid first draft hammered out by April.

What else?

I'd love to get back to work on LIP GLOSS & LIES. I have 15k written, but put that project on hold to wait and see if an agent nabs BS first. Priorities people, priorities.

And who knows what else I'll come up with this year. I've been kicking around a middle grade novel concept for a while, and it seems I'm always writing YA, so we'll see.

What about you? Any writing goals for the next year, or heck, even the next couple of months?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Writing Is A Way Of Being

During my ho-hums earlier this week, I stopped by B&N and as luck would have it (or divine intervention), I stumbled across this book--THE CONSTANT ART OF BEING A WRITER by N.M. Kelby.

Boy, does this girl get it!

In Chapter 1: Embracing the Profession, she writes:

"Surviving as a writer is a constant art. You balance your desire to work, which is often overwhelming, and your work, which is often consuming, with your desire t have a full life with the people you love.This isn't easy."

YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!

Kelby goes on to say:
"Writing is not a profession--it's a way of being."

AMEN.

As I continued through the book, I realized that I wasn't crazy. Actually, I was quiet normal as writers come by.

Scratch that.

If I wasn't a writer, I'd be classified as cuckoo, but because I'm a writer, I'm normal. Get it?

Anyway, Kelby's book brought a sense of peace to my mind. Everything that I'm thinking and doing, dreaming and pursuing, are all normal in the world of writers. Woo hoo!

If you want to read more about THE CONSTANT ART OF BEING A WRITER, check out Kelby's website, or better yet, buy the book.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Riding The Wave

The new year always brings a fresh wave of introspection for me, and this year is no exception. What are my goals exactly? And how can I accomplish them?

Becoming a published author isn't a goal I can accomplish on my own (rats!), and sometimes it drives me crazy how much of the process is left up to luck. The path isn't linear, and to me, that's frustrating. Of course, not making any money at it is frustrating too (that is after all why I teach).

Are the sacrifices worth it? What do you sacrifice for your dreams?

If I look in the mirror, this is what I see:

A smart 27 year old with an unknown future who's totally in love with her husband; blessed with the bestest friend, goofiest sister and most loving mother in the whole world; and someone who refuses to settle for the ordinary in life.

Is that enough?

Maybe I should add something about being insatiable too? :)

Yesterday I stumbled across this quote and I absolutely love it:

"When your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme." --Jiminy Cricket

I'm going to really try and take these words to heart and see what happens. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Checking In

Hey friends, how's your new year going? I'm still on vaca (I'm a slacker, I know). Today we left Tampa and now we're in Orlando. I'm super excited to visit Universal's Island of Adventure tomorrow! I was just here a few months ago and I've wanted to come back as soon as I left.

Anyhow...

I hope you guys all had a wonderful New Year's and are getting all of your holiday who-ha wrapped up. I should be back to my regular posting later this week.

Later gators!