Friday, May 11, 2012

Top Ten Things I Learned




Top ten things I learned

from participating in

The Writer’s Voice competition.

Last week, I entered into a multi-blog writing contest in hopes of landing on a talented team, to be coached and then showed off to agents. To see my entry, click here. For more information on the contest, you can check out the above link. In fact, go check it out and click through the multiple posts about the contest and other teams so you can see the talented authors who made it to the coaching round and read their entries. I'll wait.


Done? Good. Maybe you learned the same things I did.

1. There is some seriously amazing, unrecognized talent out there.

200 entries does not the entirety of publishing encompass. But of those entries, most were polished until they shined, had great ideas, had characters that jumped off the page, and openings that hooked me in the first paragraph. I was flabbergasted that some of them did not already have an agent and/or a book deal already. Serious talent. I was awed being one amongst them, and some of them were so awesomely wrought , they made me feel like I didn’t know my craft. Kudos to my peers on a job well done. I have much to which to learn and aspire.

2. The part of me that wants to be a slush pile reader squeed in glee, and then cowered in fear at what agents/publishers face every day.

I joke that I the job I would love to do every day (aside from owning my own bookstore) is a slush reader. I’d love to read through submissions, pulling out the great ones and passing them along. But how do you take the good, the great and the awesome and separate them? How do you pick which one among so many possibilities gets your attention and which ones don’t? It would be extremely difficult, and I don’t envy their position. Just like I didn’t envy the judges for The Writer’s Voice contest, having to narrow down the 200 entries to only 40. Because…

3. Good writing isn’t always enough.

Sometime the concept is old, there’s not enough of a twist, the market has shifted...yada, yada. The judges, and consequently the agents and publishers, aren’t looking for more of the same. They’re looking for the next best thing that can sell, that has a place in the market. It’s a business decision, and sometimes, the business can’t focus solely on good writing.

4. New teeth are weird.

Wait, that’s my new Dr. Who obsession I acquired trying to avoid The Writer’s Voice hashtag on twitter showing itself.

5. YA/MG market is growing fast.

Everyone wants YA and middle grade. I’m not 100% sure of the exact mixture, but a vast majority of the 40 that made the next round were YA/MG manuscripts. Does that mean there’s no room for my adult urban fantasy? No, but maybe I ought to polish my YA and start querying that as well.

6. There are some seriously funny, and seriously disturbed writers out there.

I followed new blogs and twitter personalities because of this contest. I got lost on twitter just watching the crazy antics of some. Writers are a separate breed: a little crazy, a little schizo, a little nerdy, a little genius, a little obsessive, majorly passionate and I love you all!

7. A sonic screwdriver fixes everything (unless it has a deadlock seal).

And so do beta readers, and crit partners and the supportive writing community. I love my writing group at the Kelley Armstrong website; they have taught me so much. And I can see the fanatic support and results of other writer’s CPs in these entries and on twitter. If you write, find a home. It takes a group to raise a writer.

8. This was A chance. Not THE chance.

There are many other contests, and queries, and agents, and publishers out there. Just because my piece didn’t move on, doesn’t mean I’m done (though I thought that several times this past weekend.)

9. I’m about three to five years too late…

but that’s not going to stop me (or you) from trying. What didn’t work here, may work for others. Sometimes, good writing is enough.

10. The Doctor is rude. Not Ginger.

And so am I.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writer's Voice

I'm partcipating in a multi-blog contest known as The Writer's Voice. Below is my entry and all cheerleading and comments are welcomed! Good luck to the other participants and thank you to Krista Van Dolzer, Brenda Drake, Monica B.W, and Cupid for organzing this amazing competition.

A Taste of Blood
Urban Fantasy

Alexandra Callahan knows the monsters hiding under the boardwalk are real; she just overlooks the fact her twin is one of them. Instead, she treats her mooching werewolf brother the same as any other family member who eats all the food and won’t do the dishes: with heavy doses of sarcasm, practical jokes, and a whole lot of ignoring the paranormal. But when their deceased father leads Alex to the murder scene of her friend Maddie, she can’t ignore Aaron’s furry side any longer. Not when a werewolf almost bites her head off and she stabs another in the face.

And those were the good guys.

Alex didn’t inherit the gene that makes her brother howl at the moon, but she definitely acquired the accompanying stubbornness and loyalty. Despite the pack’s claim otherwise, she’s convinced her dad is alive and knows something about Maddie’s death. Since he’s only appeared to Alex, finding him is up to her. It isn’t long before Alex contracts a maligned spell, pisses off the pack’s enforcer, attracts the attention of their devious wolfwitch, and becomes a Master Vampire’s thrall, all while pitching her advertising agency to a potential mega-client. When she confronts the wolfwitch about his secrets on the night of the full moon, a battle of wills becomes a battle within Alex’s body. The moon always wins.

Alex’s unveiling as the first natural female werewolf is sidelined when a pack member dies protecting her, forcing the pack to look within their ranks for a traitor. Betrayed by someone she trusted, Alex discovers the past never dies and what you don’t know will kill you. The Jersey Shore isn’t just for tourists and MTV anymore. The Jersey Shore has teeth.

A TASTE OF BLOOD, complete at 116,000 words, is an urban fantasy for adults who like their fiction more furry than undead.

Chapter One

The last time I saw my father, I broke my brother’s nose. Aaron simply wiped the blood on his suit’s sleeve and pulled me into a hug while I sobbed. As far as irrational outbursts went, it was spectacular, but we were twelve, at our father’s funeral and both a little emotional. Aaron just handled it better. Thirteen years later, he still did but I think even Aaron might have had something to say when Dad walked into Sawyers.

Martini glass pressed to my lips, I stared at the hooded figure sliding through the bar. His average height, dark shirt and jeans blended with the masses, but I thought I’d seen his face. He moved with purpose, the crowd parting like the Red Sea, as if they knew there’d be problems if they didn’t.

Invoking time-faded memories, the gait and crowd response raised the hair on the back of my neck. The conversation between my two best friends faded into the rest of the din. With shaking hands, I settled my glass on the table before I dropped it. Besides, the martini had already sloshed and no matter what anyone said, wasting a drink like that was sacrilege.

No. This wasn’t happening. The dead just didn’t casually stroll into a bar. My subconscious was projecting. It was dark; I couldn’t see. I was drunk. Daydreaming even. I threw explanations at myself, hoping one would stick, but apparently my brain was made of Teflon tonight.

“Alex? Earth to Alex.”

“Must have sighted a hottie.”