Friday, April 30th, 2010

How Could I Forget??

Cover of Blood SoupIt just goes to show you just how crazy a day was yesterday that I also forgot about my interview over at Amber Leigh Williams’ Cozy Page.

I talk about finding a title for Blood Soup and a smidge about my reporting days.

Please mosey over to the Cozy Page and leave Amber some comments!

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Yesterday was one of those days…

…when the proverbial poo hit the fan. Then I met up with my writer group after work to crit our latest WIPs. I drove over 200 miles yesterday (I’ve done it before, but it’s always tough on a ‘school night.’) and my eyes were practically crossed when I walked in the door around 10:00 p.m.

Needless to say, I didn’t turn on the computer.

As a result, I neglected to post that “WriterTracy” over at Rambling Roses, Purple Prose and other Asinine Alliteration excerpted Blood Soup on her journal. She also wrote a very nice interview with me here in which I reveal where I met my Husband of Awesomeness™.

Please stop by and comment.

Today, I’m over at Authors by Authors where I reveal my favorite snack.

I’d love to see you there!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Blog Tour Continues

Cover of Blood SoupThe blog tour continues!

I’m at Amber Leigh Williams’ Cozy Page today talking about what inspired Blood Soup.

Leave a comment over there and you’re eligible to win a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card!

[If you missed me yesterday, I was over at the Neverending Shelf talking about Rejection. There’s still time to post there and enter the contest.]
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Talking about My Favorite Authors Today…

Cover of Blood SoupThe blog tour continues!

I’m at Keta’s Keep today talking about authors who’ve influenced me, what I’m currently reading, and of course, Blood Soup.

Leave a comment over there and you’re eligible to win a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

How To Write Good

My favorites here are #12 and #38. Which ones do you like? – Kelly

1. Avoid alliteration. Always.

2. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

3. Employ the vernacular.

4. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

5. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

6. Remember to never split an infinitive.

7. Contractions aren’t necessary.

8. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

9. One should never generalize.

10. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”

11. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

12. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.

13. Be more or less specific.

14. Understatement is always best.

15. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

16. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

17. The passive voice is to be avoided.

18. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

19. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

20. Who needs rhetorical questions?

21. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

22. Don’t never use a double negation.

23. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with point

24. Do not put statements in the negative form.

25. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.

26. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.

27. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

28. A writer must not shift your point of view.

29. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)

30. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!

31. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to the antecedents.

32. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

33. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

34. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.

35. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

36. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

37. Always pick on the correct idiom.

38. The adverb always follows the verb.

39. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They’re old hat; seek viable alternatives.

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I’m at Poetry, Prose and Print Today…

Cover of Blood SoupThe blog tour continues!

I’m at poetry, prose and print today, talking a bit about me, a bit about Blood Soup, and a bit about the writing process. Lots of little bits!

Please drop by and leave a comment…if you do, you’re eligible to win a $25 gift card from Amazon or B&N.

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Five Things I Wish I Knew About Writing…

Kaye Manro featured me on her blog last week (Thanks again, Kaye!) discussing the Five Things I Wish I Knew About Writing…but the post was edited to a much shorter version.  Yeah, it was long, and of course I added my own advice.  Nonetheless, I’ve decided to post it here just in case I’ve said something which might help someone else.

Please comment and let me know what you think.

Five Things I Wish I Knew About Writing Before I Got Started

1. Selling books is a commercial occupation. If I wanted to be published, I needed to focus on the end product.

That probably sounded like a business pitch, but I’ve learned that if I wanted an agent or editor to consider my manuscripts, I needed to get serious about the business of writing, rather than the process of it.

I recently heard someone say, “Writing is a journey, but publishing is a goal.” I agree completely. I could have saved years on my writer’s journey if I’d established goals from the beginning, and planned the way to achieve those goals.

My advice: Set specific, achievable goals. Take the time to detail the steps needed to achieve those goals. Set a deadline and start crossing the steps off your list.

2. I’m Not Just a Writer, I’m a Marketer, and …

I’m a publicist, and a webmaster and a researcher, and a bookkeeper, and a teacher, and I wear a slew of other hats, too. I used to think that as a writer, I could write the story, polish it, and then mail the manuscript off to my agent or editor. He or she would then take care of the business of the book and leave me alone to write my next manuscript.

Gone are the days of the author existing in his garret–if they ever existed at all.

The job doesn’t end when you hand off the manuscript. You’ve got to market it, publicize it and keep records about it. If you write short fiction or non-fiction pieces, you’ll have to track submissions and queries. You have to make sure you’re paid on time, the agreed upon amount, and pay your taxes quarterly.

My advice: First, get organized, using whatever system works for you. You won’t be able to do all these tasks well, but you’ll be able to do them competently if you’re organized. Second, see if you can trade or split some of these tasks (book-keeping, anyone?) with another writer friend who has just such a knack. Also: publicity costs are less if you split them with someone else, and you’ll draw crowds larger than you can on your own.

3. Marketing A Book is a Whole Lot Tougher Than It Sounds…

…especially if you don’t know anything about marketing. (I didn’t, especially how time consuming it would be.) I did know that I would have to market my own book, and I knew that would be true even if my book were published by a large, traditional publishing house. But I didn’t think that there would be some days, in fact –some weeks– where I would do nothing but marketing, and not be able to write.

I recently read that a writer should expect to spend two hours a day just on marketing. Techno-Marketer Matt Dickman (http://technomarketer.typepad.com/technomarketer/) breaks it down into three phases:

∙ Listening: reading your feeds, checking your Google alerts, watching your twitter, etc.
∙ Engaging: monitoring conversations on the Web which you may be involved in, and answering/commenting in as real time as possible.
∙ Discovering: finding new blogs to read, new twitter feeds to follow, etc.

And Dickman’s advice doesn’t address traditional marketing venues: press releases to newspapers, radio spots, etc.

My Advice: When you’ve finished your book and you’re ready to send it to agents, do some research on marketing. Make a plan (sound familiar?) for how and where you’re going to market–do your research here. Be thorough. Once the contract is signed (earlier, if you can!), begin marketing. Lay the groundwork for a huge marketing push in the weeks before your book debuts. Starting early saves time in the long run, and will allow you to keep writing during the process. In the beginning, expect to spend more than two hours a day marketing.

4. I Need a Platform (Yes: Fiction Writers, Too)

Two years ago, I’d never even heard the word platform. Now, I know that a platform is a writer’s ability to promote his book. It’s a level of credibility that resonates with the buying public.

It used to be that publishers only looked for platforms from authors of non-fiction, whose platforms are relatively easy to build. For example, a registered-dietician has a built-in platform to write a diet book. She’s got an education and work experience in the field.
If you write fiction, platform may be harder to determine unless, for example, you really are a vampire and you write vampire novels.

My Advice: Your online presence will be a large part of your platform. Start a Web site or a blog, join some social networks, begin building a community. Strong platforms are built on niches. Explore your talents for something you can capitalize on. An excellent resource on platform creation is “Get Known before the Book Deal” by Christina Katz.

5. I Need to Be Able to Tell My Story in 30 Seconds or Less

A plethora of information exists on the web about how to prepare a manuscript for submission, how to write query letters, how to write a synopsis. How to write.

But there’s not much to be found about pitching your novel.

Yet, if you’re serious about getting published, I believe you’ll find more opportunities to speak about your novel, then you will to mail it away for review. You could sign up for a pitch session during a conference, or bump into an agent at a convention. You could, very literally, find yourself in an elevator with a bonafide editor, who wants to hear your elevator pitch.

Once, I was introduced to an agent by someone in my critique group. “What do you write?” he asked. Here was the perfect opportunity for a pitch…and I wasn’t ready.

My Advice: Be prepared to briefly describe the plot and the main characters of your story. Make certain it’s succinct. Rehearse it out loud and be prepared to make changes: some things sound differently when spoken aloud.

Pitch it to your family, your peers and your critique group–anyone who will listen– and ask for criticism–not just on how you presented, but on the content of the pitch. Have you hit the high points? Are you adding too much detail? Work it out until you’re satisfied it’s perfect.

Practice until you can make the pitch without mistakes.

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

I’m at Book Junkie Today, Talking about Blood Soup…

Cover of Blood SoupThe blog tour continues! I’m at Book Junkie today, talking about the background of Blood Soup: how I wrote it, why I wrote it, bits about the process.

Brande posted all three excerpts. Please drop by and leave a comment…if you do, you’re eligible to win a $25 gift card from Amazon or B&N.

BTW: There was a bit of a mix-up over at The Perils of Pauline blog, and I have two days of posts over there! Please be sure to drop by and comment: the same chances apply!

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Guest Blogging today at Kaye Manro’s

I’m guest blogging today over at Kay Manro’s about the Five Things I Wish I Knew (about publishing before I started).

Leave a comment over there and you’re eligible to win a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

A Different Excerpt…

Cover of Blood SoupChris Redding is featuring me on her blog today with a blurb about Blood Soup and featuring an excerpt.

This is a different excerpt than the publisher has been passing around, so, if you’re interested in something new, please head over to Chris Redding’s blog.