Published Author Forum Video

I attended a Published Author’s Forum at Greater Fort Worth Writers Group back in March 2016. Here is the video clip of my portion. I had a lot of fun sharing my journey and interacting with other writers. There’s some useful pieces of advice for those of you who are interested in writing and trying to start your own journeys. If you want more information, come join one of our meetings, or send me a message on my Contact Me page. Enjoy!

Click here

4:22 long

 

Protesting a Book, In My Own Subtle Way

Bad editing of a promising book is like finding out your favorite food

Just in case you were hungry, now you're not

is made of dog crap.

I’d expect a few mistakes on a debut author, particularly if it was self-published or an e-book. Sometimes the formatting on E-Books can be the Devil, no matter how many times you proofread it before you hit ‘Submit.’

But this was a Hard-Back book from a major publishing house, written by a New York Times Bestselling Author. (I won’t name the book or author, but its a name every romance reader knows). I read it several months ago and vowed never to pick up another one from them. Then I walked thru the bookstore the other day and found a new release from her. And I scowled. In the middle of the aisle, in a brick-and-mortor bookstore, with other people around me. Actually scowled.

I could have written a better manuscript than what she submitted, but this woman keeps getting more and more contracts, and clearly doesn’t care about the quality she submits. And what’s even worse, the editors don’t even care to call her out on the mistakes. Maybe they don’t even bother reading it. It’s so frustrating. Particularly for someone who’s trying to break into the publishing world.

The book I ended throwing across the room had serious mistakes. Entire paragraphs repeated. What newbie editor doesn’t catch that??? Repetitive phrasing throughout every chapter. I wanted to puke every time I read the words ‘pleasure.’ She used it 3 or 4 times in a single paragraph. Imagine that, EVERY OTHER PARAGRAPH throughout half the story.

Personally, I think that editor should have been fired. If she isn’t going to take the time to respect her job and the publishing industry, then I don’t want to take the time to read anything that crosses her desk. And as for the author, it was clear she didn’t care about the story at all. She was probably so pressed on a deadline and was so far behind, she just vomited words on the page and clicked ‘Send’ in her email. She stopped respecting her own profession. Thereby, I’ve stopped respecting her books.

I guess that’s how I protest things I disagree with. I don’t purchase their products. Just like I don’t buy gas from Exxon Mobile or Citgo (7/11’s). (Exxon Mobile is a horribly unethical company and Citgo is a Venezuelan company and supports Hugo Chavez. Just in case you care to join in my protest.) I don’t buy Lady Gaga music, and anytime Chris Brown songs come on the radio, I change the station.

Before you click away from this posting claiming here’s another liberal, sign-toting, picket-line enthusiast, I’m actually not that liberal. I’m a conservative. Personally, picket lines are pointless. You should be spending that time at your job, or protesting in a more productive way, like donating money to the cause, or even better, taking money away from the target. Nothing is more effective than hurting the pockets of a controversy.

But alas, that means I must add another person/company to the list of stores/products that I will not purchase in my own subtle protest. This one just hurts a little more because someone is succeeding with crap in a business that’s close to my heart.

How about you? How do you react to a bad book? And take it a step further: how to show your disapproval for companies or products that disappoint you?

I’ve Become A Writer… Smile

My husband can definitely tell I’ve become a writer.  It’s bugging the hell out of him. A little.

As a writer, we’re taught several ‘rules’ that we can’t break if we want to be successful. First, avoid adverbs.  If you’ve used an adverb, that means you didn’t find the right verb. Go back and do it again.

Secondly – and this is what my husband has been suffering from – repetitive phrases are a no-no.

My hubby works from home a few days a week and spends the majority of his day on conference calls. (Exciting, I know, but he loves his work and I’m grateful.) So I overhear some of his calls, and more specifically his responses. And the more I learn as a writer, the more I pick up on the ‘rule breaking’ in my husband’s conversations.

Granted, my husband isn’t a writer, and probably none of his coworkers are either. So maybe they don’t notice it as much as it bugs me.

My husband has 3 phrases that he uses constantly. Not just two or three times a day, but more like 2 or 3 times per conversation.

~Long story short…

~At the end of the day…

And the most overly used phrase:

~In my perspective… (or From my perspective…)

Each of those phrases by themselves aren’t a problem. But the fact that I hear him use them so often every day, it’s become a tick under my skin. So I pointed it out to him a few weeks ago.

Clearly, it doesn’t bother him. He thinks I’m nuts.

And habits are hard to break. Since I pointed it out to him, I swear he’s been using them even more often. My parents heard us ‘arguing’ about this the other day, and now it’s become a family ‘joke.’ (B and I hardly argue, but we can have spirited, fun discussions. And by ‘joke,’ more like it’s something everyone in my family is waiting to see me smirk when he uses them.)

I wonder what ticks my husband, and family, see in me, now that I’ve become a writer. What new behaviors or phrases do they see me using that irritates them? Critiquing their emails? Being too picky when proof reading my husband’s homework? Throwing a book across the room when I think the editing is horrible? I’m sure I have several.

But at the end of the day (smirk), I’m glad they could put up with me before, and continue to put up with me today.

Long story short (smirk), it’s official. I’m a writer because I’m bugging my family. Just makes me smile!

Romance Manuscript Woes – Final Swan Song

Another bird portrait. The white swan from Aub...

Image via Wikipedia

I had to sit on this thought for the last week. I didn’t want to make any rash decisions on this, considering that I’ve worked five years (off and on) on my first manuscript. But last weekend I received another rejection on my full manuscript submission to a literary agent. I appreciated her thoughts on my work, and that she actually spent the time to personalize her rejection, inform why it didn’t work for her and gave me specific examples on what didn’t jive.

But it still hurt. A lot. No one likes to hear their first baby (granted, just a piece of literature) is unliked. The unpopular manuscript in class. But as I sit back and reread her rejection email over and over like a deranged mother, I realize it has a lot in common with another personalized rejection letter I received a few months ago from another agent. Both reference issues with voice and style (in one form or another). And any writer, or aspiring writer can tell you that’s not something that can be fixed overnight. Not even over a weekend or month. It can take some writers years to develop their voice. And that thought crushed my motivation.

After spending five years on my first manuscript, and now I’m halfway through my second story, having to spend MORE years trying to develop my style and voice before acquiring an agent is the epitome of frustrating. So I’ve stewed over this for the last week, discussed it with my husband and perused the blog tours for more insight. And I believe I’ve come to a heart-breaking decision.

I need to shove my first baby in a drawer and let it alone. It has sung its final swan song.

Maybe down the road when I’m more experienced and have a more developed voice I can go back and rewrite it *gasping and sobbing at the thought of starting from a blank slate*.  Maybe I’ll have a better chance with this second story I’m writing. I’m not too far into this manuscript that I can’t go back and fix some things relating to my voice.

I’m not being overly dramatic in my decision. Just two rejection notices and I give up on it? Absolutely not. This is after probably 40 rejections on this thing over the years (between publishers and agencies). I’ve given this manuscript a good run. The story is great, the plot is well-developed and I really like the characters. It was all about voice. Probably just sheer lack of experience in putting words onto a page. And that’s what hurts the most. That’s what a writer does. Puts words on a page. And if I’m having the biggest problems with that aspect, then what does that say about me as a writer?

My motto has always been to keep writing forward. And I will. But it’s been a little harder this week. After all, practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. And if I’m practicing bad writing, that’s exactly what I’ll be: a bad writer. And I don’t handle failure well.

So here I go: keep pushing forward, no matter how much muck and sludge I have to plow through. Keep writing forward.