Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Catching up, and new things coming!

Wow, so I haven't blogged since January. Lots has happened since then, in my personal and professional life, and I'm going to do some blog posts over the next few weeks to catch up on all of that. I'll pre-date them so that they show up when they should have if I'd posted them on time.

Also, I have a new website coming soon, my fancy professional author website, so stay tuned for that! This blog will migrate there when it launches, but I'll give you a heads up before that happens. Until then, here's a sneak peak:

Much more coming soon, so if you're reading this, stay tuned, and thank you! :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Agent

Sarah and Rachel
Two words I wasn't sure I'd ever write: my agent. As an aspiring author, I had long fantasized about receiving "the call," an agent offering representation. And then, it happened. I am beyond thrilled to say that I am now represented by the fabulous Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

Sarah grew up in North Carolina and has a special fondness for stories with a strong supporting cast of animal characters. It's like it was meant to be :) As soon as I spoke to her on the phone, I knew she was the right agent for me.

So, I don't think those two words will get old for a while. My agent! I know I am in great hands with Sarah and NYLA, and I can't wait to take the next steps in my career together!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pitch Madness

So, since I had a sparkly new manuscript ready to query, I decided to try my luck at Pitch Madness, hosted by the fabulous Brenda Drake. I submitted a 35 word pitch and the first 250 of my manuscript, UNLEASHED, and then sat back and chewed on my fingernails while the entries were whittled down to 60, which would be read and bid on by agents.

I sat up until midnight on that fateful night, waiting to see if I had made the cut. After nothing but rejection on my first manuscript, I was ready for disappointment. And then, at twelve a.m. on the dot, I refreshed the page, and UNLEASHED popped right up as one of the entries to be featured in the agent round of the contest. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much that night!

When Pitch Madness went live, agents shot "darts" at the manuscripts they wanted to read more of, with each dart representing a different amount of pages requested. I resisted the urge to give my manuscript one last polish, convinced I wouldn't get a hit. Just being included was enough of a boost to get me started querying this manuscript!

Click here to read my entry in Pitch Madness.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Won!

Over the weekend, I found out that my second novel, Unleashed, placed first in the Single Title Contemporary category of the Silicon Valley RWA's Gotcha Contest! This is absolutely amazing news, and I am still floating around in my happy fog.

My prize is a critique from an editor at Berkley Publishing (wow!) and also, my entry will be sent on to another editor who will be picking the overall Grand Prize Winner. Critique from an editor at a major publishing house is priceless, and I am so thankful for the opportunity.

This was the first contest I entered with this manuscript, and the feedback from the judges was the best I've ever had, so hopefully that means I'm on the right track. I am so excited to beging querying this one in the Spring!

Also, my amazing critique partner, Annie Rains, finished second in the Inspirational Romance category! We received identical scores, but apparently the competition was a little bit tougher in Inspirational. Here's hoping this is the beginning of a very exciting 2013 for both of us!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Farewell, 2012, and here's to you, 2013

I set a lot of goals for myself in 2012, and I completed almost all of them. I wrote my second book (and finished ahead of schedule which was amazing!) I finished revisions on the first book and began querying agents. I took a few classes, and entered several new contests. I became RWA Certified PRO. And I plotted book #3!

It was a busy year, in writing, and in my "real life," but I learned and grew so much as an author. I want to bring that momentum with me into 2013! So, here we go, my 2013 writing resolutions:
  1. Query book #2 (assuming I don't sell #1).
  2. Enter at least 2 writing contests.
  3. Take a writing class - there's always something new to learn!
  4. Write book #3.
  5. Attend a writing conference. I'd looooove to go to the RWA National Conference in Atlanta in July, but my son may start kindergarten that week, which would be tragic timing! Can't miss that for anything, so if that's the case, Nationals will have to wait.
  6. Plot book #4 - not sure yet what it will be, but there are several secondary characters from my first two books begging for their own storyline. Or something else new and unrelated!
  7. Get more involved in my local RWA chapter. Step outside my comfort zone and socialize outside my critique group.
  8. Build a better online platform for myself (better blogging, Tweeting, maybe even start my author website?)
  9. Pick a pseudonym for myself. I don't know why I can't figure this out? I just can't find one I love. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me to keep my own name? :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

In case you were curious...

In case you wanted a peek at what I've been writing, my logline and first page for book #1 are up for critique here:

I don't use actual photos, or picture a specific person or actor when I'm writing a character, but lately, every time my husband was watching Fringe on TV, I was struck by how the two main characters on that show remind me of the hero and heroine in my book. So, this is kind of how I picture my Josh and Kate now. This could be a picture of them walking through NYC together.

I don't always picture my characters, but I do love to picture what my book cover might look like. I think Julie James has the most gorgeous covers, don't you?

Anyway, enjoy! :)

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Would you like some whiskey with your spy tools, Mr. Mayor?

Every once in a while, I'll be watching CSI or another show where the police retrieve the search history on a suspect (or victim's) computer. I laugh, wondering WHAT IN THE WORLD they would think if they ever ran the search history on my laptop! As a writer, I am constantly searching and researching the weirdest things. A few examples?
  1. "Night vision binoculars" (for my hero who is a PI, of course)
  2. "How to run for Mayor"
  3. "Shades of brown" (don't go there...I was looking for an adjective to describe a character's hair)
  4. "Is it legal to photograph someone inside their house?" (again...for my PI)
  5. "Top shelf whiskey"
  6. "Britney Spear's honeymoon location" (don't ask...just, if I'm able to get it published, read the epilogue of the book)
  7. And tonight's winner..."how to check your browser's search history"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Why selling a house is like selling a book

As it happens, I'm in the process of doing both right now: selling a house and trying to find representation for my first novel. I couldn't help noticing a few similarities in the process:

  1. Polish it until it shines: Yes, I've polished and cleaned this house until it sparkles. About a hundred times. Really. I have a 4 year old, a dog and two cats. It takes a lot to keep this house clean! Same goes for the manuscript. Just when I think it can't get any shinier, I get new feedback and give it one more polish.
  2. Hurry up and wait: We've polished, and now it's listed on the market. Now we just have to sit and wait and hope someone decides to buy it. As for the book, I send the query letter I've agonized over for weeks, and I can only hope I've done my job in piquing the agent's interest.
  3. No response means no: After each showing (and each query letter), I wait and hope for feedback. Did they like it? Do they want to buy it? And if I hear nothing, I can only assume it means no.
  4. Hope for the best! And here's where they differ...with the house, we're stuck until someone makes us an offer. With the book, I'm already concentrating on getting the next manuscript ready for submission. Onward and upward! :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Zipping up...

In my special suit of "thick skin." Yes, that's right, it's finally almost time for me to send my first query letter! For those of you outside the writing world, the first step to publication is to query literary agents with a brief letter pitching my book to them (think back cover copy). If they're interested, they'll request more, and in a perfect world, offer representation. The agent then tries to sell my book to a publisher. And if I'm still in that perfect world, I sign a contract, and my book comes out on the shelves.

In reality, querying is usually filled with lots of rejection and heartache. I'm prepared for this. I've participated in enough contests and pitching opportunities over the past year to have a taste for rejection. This first book is my "baby," the one I've slaved over for years. It's special to me, probably no matter how many books I write over the course of my career, it will always hold a special place. So, I've got my "thick skin" on, and I'm ready to go.

If I strike out with my first book, the second one is already written and in revisions, so I will move on to querying it early next year. And book #3 is plotted and ready to write, so no matter what happens, I will keep busy, and keep working on the dream! :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Release Day to Eleanor Tatum!

Happy release day to my friend and critique partner Eleanor Tatum! Her debut romantic suspense, Swamp Run, was released on September 3rd. It's been an exciting year for my writing partners - congratulations Eleanor!
When tall, tightly muscled, Joseph Sutton runs to the swamps of southeastern North Carolina, he retreats from the violent world of FBI agents to become a small, peaceful town’s police chief. He hopes to heal his head, heart and soul. Will a few years in his swampy kingdom renew him? Or will the chief find what he runs from follows as he protects his kingdom’s newest subject from invading northern predators?

Escaping from Boston, Corry Freeman, a pharmaceutical attorney, runs to the swamps to hide herself and her stolen evidence of illegal drug sales. It takes time and self protection to secretly organize her stolen evidence for a federal prosecution. Hating to admit she needs help, she tries to resist her attraction to the friendly town and its chief lawman. Should she lure her northern predators away from these good people or trust the town's ability to protect and serve?