Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lazy Blog - Commercials

I've noticed some of the ads on TV have taken a remarkably creative turn. My top picks for the latest plain old everyday TV ads. Which one is your favorite?

Mentos Spider

State Farm

Allstate - Mayhem

With SuperBowl coming up in a a few weeks, the ads will have to come a long way to top these three.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Finally, my partial and synopsis are ready to send off!

I had two hard and fast deadlines this week both January 15th, yesterday. One was a contest where I entered the revised partial and synopsis, the other my proposal for a workshop on writing software for M&M in October. I hit the send button on one Friday night and the other last night at 8:30pm after spending the day 90 miles away with a writing buddy brainstorming career choices and publishing options.

It feels good to have accomplished that goal two weeks early but now comes the query writing, ugh!

With my background in sales I ought to be able to write a helluva query but it's different somehow. Maybe I'm making it too difficult. I'll let you know how it goes in two weeks or less.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What I've Been Reading - Stanley, Nasty and Morgan

First of all, because it was the cutest and most surprising thing I've read lately, Stanley Moves In by Jack Rosse, (otherwise known as Bill Kirton or crime fiction fame).

Stanley is not just another fairy; well he is, but even though Stanley's story was inspired by and written for kids, he is surprisingly cantankerous, lovingly so. There's a vulnerability to him that we love, like a hero we think we can fix or the underdog we want to see come out on top.  Don't take my word for it. Let Stanley tell you.

During the Christmas hiatus from writing I read several paranormals and young adult authors but got hooked instantly on Cate Tiernan's series, Sweep, about a young doesn't-wanna-be-a witch, Morgan, who learns of her powers as she fends off the forces of darkness, attends high school and falls in love.  I couldn't put them down, all 15 of them.  Her newest book is not YA but the series holds a lot of promise. Just out is Immortal Beloved.
Pulled from my 'library' in the office closet where it had been buried on the TBR shelf was Susan Wittig Albert's mystery series, the first one, Thyme of Death. China Bayles is a forty something ex-defense lawyer who has moved from the rat race of Houston, to the tiny town of Pecan Springs where she runs an herb shop called Thyme & Seasons, solves murders with her sidekick Ruby who runs the New Age shop next door, and battles her attraction to ex-cop now criminology professor and hunkahunka burnin'love, Mike McQuaid. Lots of great description and community in this 16 book series (so far). An instant success with me.

What was the last thing you read? What genres do you read?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Libraries a Writer's Eutopia

You may have scene the article in the Observer about libraries of the rich and famous.

I found it fascinating. Personally if I had the money mine would look iike Diane Keaton's.  Although now that I look at it, it seems to be a place to walk through not to curl up and stay for a while. Maybe Rod Stewart's though his books looked faunky.


That's if I had a housekeeper. And if I had a housekeeper he or she would have to love arranging books. If I had to keep it up myself it would look more like Karl Lagerfeld's. The furniture would be different, okay that's what I like about Rod's the furniture.

Housekeeper or not it would not look like Oprah's. This would be impossible for me. My rooms look...lived in. I mean how could a writer create in an environment like that.

 And just to prove it...

As you can see by my untouched photos, I need a library that breathes and expands as needed. At top left is one corner of my office and all the books in that corner and in the office closet are three deep.

Yes, that tub is full of books and there are more books on the floor and in boxes in the closet and in the book section of my desk and under my end table in the living room.
I made the mistake of giving up one of my floor to ceiling shelves (which I found at a garage sale for $5.00 a piece) for a closet shelf. I thought I could contain it. But hey one of these days all the walls will be lined but one, for my storyboarding area.

What about you? Why don't you post a picture of your library on your blog?

Speaking of books - What I've just finished reading…Stanley, Morgan and Nasty (Friday...)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Twelve Step Guide to Getting Published

So you wanna write a book. Want to see your name in print on the spine of your book in the local Walmart or on the pages of Amazon. 
Think you can be the next J.K. Rowling, Nora Roberts, Peter V. Brett?  
How do you go about it?
Well, get your pad and pencil, I’m fixin’ to tell you how…   
1.              First, decide how much you’d like to make in a year. (This will determine how many novels you must turn in to your publisher per year.)
2.              Make a projection when you’d like to quit your day job. (I suggest you give it at least three months.)
3.              Pick a genre that sells. (How about men’s fiction - Crime Fiction or Thrillers. Those thriller writers make big bucks – Harlen Coben, David Baldacci, Vince Flynn, Dan Brown! Yeah, okay, men’s fiction.)
4.              Next, you need a plot.  Hey, here’s the beauty of men’s fiction. Just go to the Washington Post or USA Today or any local paper and pick a headline.
5.              Now tweak it. Change the names, add some extra conflict - you know, fight scenes and such. Oh, and a good no holds barred love scene, or three.
6.              Don’t have a computer? (It’s a great time to go get the Ipad you’ve been wanting, and hey, Peter Brett wrote his entire first book on his cell phone!) Either go buy one or simply right it long hand. You must use your very best handwriting though, for a publisher to take you seriously.
7.              Get a friend to look it over for spelling since you won’t have the benefit of spell checker (which completely eliminates the need for proof reading).
8.              Oh, length. It needs to be long. About 300-400 pages. (That’s about 2 composition notebooks.)
9.              Just remember, if you chose Romance, to be sure to get your hero and heroine together at the End for their happy ever after.
10.          Okay. You’ve finished the book and you’re ready to send it. How to decide on a publisher. Take a couple of your favorites and look at the publisher on the spine, or on the copywrite page. And before you prepare your cover letter, you might consider contacting your favorite author and asking him or her if you can use them as a reference with the publisher. Just assure them, they will NOT be sorry.  Promise them a recommendation or blurb for their next bestseller.
11.          That’s it. (You know a little light spray of perfume might make it stand out from the crowd in what they call the slush pile.) So, box it up, mark on the outside of the box - Attn: Next Bestseller! and mail it off.  In about a month, you’ll have your answer. <Cough> Or sooner.
12.          Now sit down and plan how you’re going to spend the money.
Did I miss anything?

 How many times have I heard from a friend or someone in the family –
“They didn’t buy your book at the conference?”
“How long are you going to write before you give up being published?”
“Are you still working on the same book? Just send it off."

Okay, reality check here!

The truth? 
Writing a book with the intent of getting it published is one of the hardest things to accomplish.
Many, many - make that three manys - of your favorite authors, the majority in fact, write into the wee hours after long hours at work and/or taking care of their families. Many published writers have written for numerous years and numerous manuscripts before getting ‘the Call’ and then…they still work, write late or on lunch hours, and take care of responsibilities. The Call (and I haven’t received mine yet ) isn’t some magical Disney ‘blinnggggg’ where life changes. Most published authors I know haven’t bought a private plane, appeared on TV, or even hired maid service.
Writing is a challenge, a dream, a passion.  I’m reminded of the lyrics by Shania Twain, 
“If you’re not in it for love, you’re outta here.”
The bottom line?   Writing is a labor of love.
I’m curious. How does this translate into your writing experience? What part of the writing passion calls to you the most? What were your biggest misconceptions when you began your career? Have you died laughing over some question or comment about this pursuit?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gerry Rafferty is gone

I didn't know this until I saw Michael Malone's blog this morning. What a loss to the world. I could sit and listen to his "Baker Street" literally over and over and over. I don't believe there was ever a song like that for me except maybe Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror".