Friday, August 29, 2014

Changing Goals

Last Friday of the Month
Sorry this is a little late in the day. We're having a  colossal yard sale today, and as you can imagine, that's got me pretty crazy. We just sold our house unexpectedly, so now we have seven weeks to sell/pack/get rid of everything we own. So what does this have to do with my five year goals? Everything. Five years ago if you would've asked me to move out of our home I would've told you no, and maybe there might have been a hell in there, too. But things change. We got our Jacob, and I became a gardener. In short, our house doesn't fit us anymore. And neither does my goal. My goal for this five year project was to have the Newstead Books be the next great American novels. I still want that, but my scope has gotten bigger. I've got a book coming out in five days that isn't a Newstead book. It's not just that, either. I realized that I want to be involved in the whole publishing aspect of this, too. So while I'm getting a new house, I guess I'll be getting a new goal, too: To have Black and White Publishing Company be the leading publishing house in America.
I figure while I'm at it, I might as well dream big.
What are your dreams?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Do you ever change your writing to please people?

Do you ever change your writing to please people?

I didn’t think I did. I thought I was writing my story, my way. Until I went to a writer’s conference. It was the 2011 NYC SCBWI Winter Conference. It was a very big deal. I paid the extra money to have my work critiqued by two top editors from top houses. It wasn’t my first big conference, but it was the first time I was getting one on one feedback. To say I was nervous would be a major understatement. I was terrified, but I went. The way it was set up was the editor was at a round table with you and five others of your peers. You each had three minutes to read your first page, then receive critique from both the editor and your peers. There were two sessions like this, one in the morning, then another in the afternoon. After the morning session I went back to my room and cried. Not that the editor was cruel, or that she didn’t like my work. It was just the first time I saw I wasn’t the only good writer out there, and they all wanted it as bad as I did. I went to the afternoon session without much hope of anything. That’s probably why I was so surprised when something amazing happened. Here’s how it went: I was seated right next to the editor from Simon & Schuster, who incidentally was currently working on the Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick, a Nephilim story. So I knew right off my chances were slim. And they were. She told me even before I read my page that she would not be representing me. The amazing came later. One of the other writers read from her page. It was a middle grade story about a personified bear family. When the writer was done reading, I leaned over and spoke to the editor and told her I could see the story with simple font, broken every few pages with loose pencil sketches of the scenes. The editor smiled and said that was exactly what she was thinking. It was an epiphany moment for me. This woman was one of the top editors from one of the top houses, and I, at that moment, was her equal.
That minute was life-changing for me. I am a woman of faith, and I went there hoping, praying, for God’s direction for me, and I got it. I knew I didn’t want to just write books, I wanted to publish them, too; starting with mine. Later that year, my husband and I started Black and White Publishing Co.

What does that have to do with the question at the beginning? Everything. I went home from that conference with plans to work on my book. What surprised me was how much I changed. I didn’t realize how much I had censored myself, how much of the story I had left out. After that conference I decided I would never do that again.
That decision has made all the difference.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Indie Life

Second Wednesday Each Month

Since today is Indie day, I'm going to let myself get controversial.
I've been writing for four years now, and I still can't fit my work into a genre. If I did, it would be something like this: paranormal, militaristic, romantic, suspenseful thriller. Quite a mouthful. And then there's the question of length. Not for my first three books, they are all the "correct" word count of approx. 100,000 words. I'm talking about Erron, the book I'm releasing September 3rd. It's 56,000 words, which is technically too short. I tried to add to it, but it didn't need it. So that brought up the question--why? Why was I trying to add words to a story I loved? Why did I even care? And then, even more importantly--who? Who is the one who made up all these silly rules? Why can't I publish a 56,000 word book, or a 34,000 word book? And why does my writing have to be pigeon-holed into a genre? It doesn't make sense, for any of us. Why not write what makes us come alive? I don't know about you, but (almost) every book I've picked up recently looks, feels, and reads exactly the same. Where are todays Dickens? Or Austens? Or Poes? I want to read that. I want to read something alive, something unique, and more importantly, that's what I want to write.

Feeling Indie anyone?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


First Wednesday of the Month

Today I'm insecure because I'm about to commit the cardinal sin in writing. I'm going to post the first 150 words of my new novel, Erron, before it's gone through the hands on my editors. Here goes:
It was in a grocery store that I first saw him. He was grabbing a box of cereal and I was walking by on my way to the registers. It’s a very plain, simple way to begin so bizarre a relationship, but that’s actually how it went.
I do remember noticing him. How could you not? He was tall, but not too tall; muscular, but not too muscular and very, very beautiful; if that’s a word you can use to describe a man. All I know is that when I walked by him, I remember thinking that is a beautiful man. 
I didn’t think he noticed me, though; that’s how good he is at what he does. I didn’t see his eyes as they followed me, didn’t hear him as he set his things down on the conveyer belt just after mine.
There it is; I hope you liked it.