Friday, September 28, 2012

The Suzannah Contest

Happy Friday, everyone! The Suzannah Contest needs entries. There are a few days left to send in yours! This contest is open for both published and unpublished writers of any romance subgenre. We have a truly amazing line up of 6 top editors and agents judging the final round. They are...

Erika Tsang, Executive Editor, Avon Romance/Harper Collins

Wanda Ottewell, Senior Editor, Harlequin Superromance
Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor, Sourcebooks
Saritza Hernandez, Literary Agent, The Corvisiero Literary Agency
Alicia Condon, Editorial Director/Editor, Kensington/Brava
Michelle Grajkowski, Literary Agent, 3 Seas Literary Agency

Finalists have their entry go before ALL 6 final round judges. Hurry! The deadline is October 1st.

For more information about the contest, visit the Nola Stars website here:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dream the Dream :: Updated

My blog has been sadly neglected over the past few days. I'm up at 2 in the morning to catch up on a few things. Lately I've been super busy trying to get that deadline book in. Well, I wrapped it up and sent it in yesterday, and it looks like everything is a-go on that.

I have a ton of book news to write about very soon. Some of it I can't talk about yet, so I'm holding off. In the past month, I've contracted three new stories, and a fourth is pending, so I have a lot of new material coming out over the next couple of months. Once I get caught up on everything, my freelance work, etc., I'll be wrapping up one of my personal writing projects, too.

Let's see...what else? I need to check in with the ladies working on The Suzannah Contest.

A quick reminder about The Suzannah Contest - the deadline is October 1st. The contest is for published and unpublished writers. The grand prize is $300 (USD) and a trophy. We're a bit short on entries, so that's an added opportunity for writers who are looking to get feedback on their work. The entries that make it to the final round will be judged by a panel of 6 editors and agents. We have an amazing line up of editors and agents, folks, so be sure to check out the details at the Nola Stars RWA chapter website:  

That's all I've got for now. I'll be back again when I have more news. In the meantime, catch me on Facebook or Twitter.  Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

One Step Closer

One more chapter to go and I'll have this book revised. *faint*

Tomorrow I'll be busy doing last minute proofing and tweaking before I send this bad boy off to my publisher. I'm sure I'll find a few things to prune and polish, and worry about in general, but at least the whole of the book will be done. {dusts hands}

I'm so ready to toss the dove to the air, in a manner of speaking. I have other work piling up while trying to complete this project. I'm have a few freelance things to catch up on, and a few of my own projects to wrap up. Too, I need to check in with the Suzannah ladies. Oh, I also have two batches of edits coming in shortly, but I'll worry about that when they come rolling in. In the meantime, off to wrap up the final few scenes with this book. Whew! I may need a vacation before the year is out.

Wish me luck! I'm ready to finish so I can start the craziness all over again. ;o)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tea in the Writing Cave

While I'm waiting for my cup of tea, I decided to pick my head up and blog. I haven't fallen off the Earth or anything, it's just that I'm still buried under this book. The story is shaping up very nicely, but revising is such a slow process for me. Oh well. It is what it is. Right now, it's looking like I'll have this particular story cleaned up and ready over the weekend. Much later than I had hoped.

Tomorrow, I have to renew my driver's license before I get stuck taking the test again, then it's back to the grind. After I get this Werekind story finished, I still have Twilight's Edge to knock out, so I can start working on something new. *head desk*

Anyway, that's the gist of it. My tea is ready, and I need to jot down a shopping list for hubby before I take on what's left of this scene I'm currently working on. I'll probably be invisible for the next few days. If you need to find me, I'll be in the writing cave.   

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fun, Magic, and Strawberry Incense

Happy Saturday, everyone! 

I'm in the throes of deadline panic, but it's all good because today I got a sweet mention over at Alison Tyler's blog for my story in the upcoming Morning, Noon, and Night anthology. (Cleis Press, November 14, 2012)

A snip from the totally orsum Sommer Marsden...

"There are writers who just seem to make me happy, no matter what they write they bring a smile to my face. Cora Zane is one of those writers. I think the person she is shines through in her writing so, I always feel lucky to read her work. Cora manages to mix a bit fun and magic into her stories and "No Show" didn't let me down."

Check out everything the lovely Sommer Marsden had to say about 4 P.M. No Show, my story in the upcoming anthology. *sniff, sniff* Thank you, Sommer! 

Morning, Noon, and Night is available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble in paperback and for the Nook. You can also purchase if for the Kindle, and in paperback at Amazon. If you drop by one of the purchase pages, be sure to "like" us. It's much appreciated!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Revising on a Deadline

I finished the draft of my latest Werekind story around 1 a.m., so next on the agenda - revisions. I have roughly 8 days left to beat this manuscript into shape before submission, so I've been looking at a plan of attack before diving in head first.

Of course, my printer decided to wait until today to start giving me major fits, but I managed to get the first half of my manuscript printed out. After Mini gets home from school, I'll wrangle with the printer for the second half. What can I say? I work better on hard copy.

Personal editing checklist. What I know I'm going to have to look for:

  • Read through and mark up
  • Check for plot holes and inconsistencies
  • Look for redundant phrases.
  • Straighten sentences 
  • Look for cause/effect pattern - motivation/reaction units
  • Sharpen hooks
  • Search for crutch words: felt, saw, knew, etc.

I'll probably run into more things to check, but that's what I know to watch for right off hand. Whatever the length of the story, I usually go over a book in three passes. For this particular story, I'm trying to factor in the time I have to work with vs. what I need to do. I've already highlighted the remaining project days on the calendar in preparation. I'll know more about what the book needs once I do a read through tonight. Whew! Wish me luck.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Playing Catch Up

Happy Monday, everyone! So what's been going on for the past few days?

On Saturday, I went to my local RWA chapter meeting in Bossier, and listened to Addison Fox talk about her experiences as an author and how to communicate better within the industry.

I almost didn't make it to the meeting. That morning, I was already running late when I stopped at the Circle K to fill up. Well, after I paid, I came back out of the store and my car wouldn't start. I had to go back inside and borrow someone's cell phone to call hubby, then I sat in my car, which was still parked at pump 8, and waited for him to arrive.

We don't know exactly what's causing the issue, but it's like the cables to the battery aren't getting good contact. Hubby literally jiggled a few wires under the hood and the car started right up. I debated whether or not I should go on to the meeting if my car wasn't going to behave, but it's been a while since I last chatted with the other coordinators working on the Suzannah contest. I figured I could wiggle the battery cable myself if I had an incident again, so I went ahead and made a dash to the meeting.

It all went well. The car was on its best behavior - no more scary power loss. I made it back home around 2 p.m., and after a bath and some lunch, I settled in to write. I completed two scenes on the latest Werekind story, and later that evening, I pulled together an erotica flash piece and sent it out.

Speaking of erotica... This isn't really about me, but in a way it is, because I have teeny tiny quote in this book and so I'm marking my territory on it like crazy because it's just so dang exciting to see this book is in paper! *takes a deep breath* The lovely Alison Tyler mentioned that her book Blushers got a nod recently from Penthouse Magazine, which is totally squee worthy in and of itself. Based on that, I hopped over to Amazon to give the book a "like" if I hadn't done so already, and I noticed the book had not only a Kindle listing, but a paperback listing as well. I had a complete bookgasm I admit it. I have the ebook version already, but I am so absolutely jazzed to see Blushers in dead tree format, that I bought a copy for my keeper shelf, because quote or not, I'm in there!

Okay, I promise I'm done geeking out for the rest of this blog post. {g} It's almost two thirty in the afternoon so I better get back to writing, anyway. ;o)

Until next time!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Making The Jump :: Carnival : Chains : Dreams

Early this morning, I dreamed that I was walking with an old friend from high school through an abandoned field where tents and game booths had been set up as if to host a carnival. No one was around but the two of us. In one of the booths there was one of the pop-a-balloon, win a prize games, and the prizes were those painted glass pictures in the paper frames. Higher up on the wall there were the small poster type pictures with the gold edged frames.

My friend and I were picking out what we would choose if we won the game. I chose something that had  trees and leaves and animals...something like that. Something very "me". And she picked out a picture of Elvis, which totally caught me off guard. I asked her why she would want that one. It didn't seem like her style at all, and she explained her reason to me, which I understood, although I don't remember exactly what the reason was.

We laughed about it then walked on, and soon we were out of the tent area and headed toward a raw wood line. There were tall dry-looking grasses at the edge of the woods, and I stopped a few feet from it, because only now did I begin to wonder where the heck we were going. I was sort of ambling along and chatting with my friend, and not really thinking about where she was leading me.

Still talking, she walked straight to this open, wooden crate sitting a few feet from the fire break. She pulled out a bright pink, padded ski jacket (or maybe it was a hunting jacket, I don't know) from the box, and put it on. Then she reached into the box and tossed one of the jackets to me. I was confused by the jacket, but I put it on without questioning her while she continued to ramble on about mundane things. I was reluctant to ask her any questions at this point.

About that time, I noticed the fire break in front of us wasn't a simple mowed trail next to the woods. It was a wide ditch, and we stood right on the edge of it where some boards were half buried in the ground.

I looked down into the ditch and saw that it was very deep and filled with dark green, foamy, flowing water. Very scary! It looked like a water channel for one of the log rides/circuit boat rides. I realized then that we stood on part of an old pier that didn't go very far out over the water because gondolas would go around the water track, loop back through a zoo area, and return here.

It was then I asked my friend where we were going. She said we were going hiking. I couldn't imagine why anyone would go hiking out in the woods past an abandoned carnival. I didn't even know if the trails were suitable for hiking. From across the field, it appeared there was nothing out past the carnival but grass and raw woods.

My friend must have noticed my hesitation and skepticism, because she pointed over her shoulder, indicating a narrow path cut through the tall grass. The path looked rugged and was no wider than a deer trail. I watched in shock as she casually grabbed hold of this short chain hanging from a beam - I assumed at this point the pier had been covered at one time - and then she swung over to land on the opposite side of the ditch.

Color me stunned, because I was. It dawned on me at that moment I had reached an important milestone. This was the point where we "jump to the other side". You either make it, or you don't. And I was terrified.

I looked up at the chain, and wondered if I was too short to grab hold of it. My friend was watching me, waiting from the other side. I told her I was nervous, and didn't know how to swing across. For a moment, I even contemplated turning back and returning to the abandoned carnival. All the while, my friend said nothing, and just watched me as if waiting to see what I'd do. I realized then that this was something I had to do on my own, by my own strength and effort.

I grew frustrated with myself, and with what I knew I had to do. I dreaded swinging to the other side. For one thing, I didn't think I could do it. I was pretty sure I was going to fall short and land in the water. Nevertheless, I grabbed hold of the chain. It turned out I could reach it after all. But when I looked up to swing over to the other side, my friend was gone. While hesitating at the jump point, she had gone ahead into the woods without me.

I have no idea if I actually made it to the other side or not. Maybe that's the part I'm supposed to fill in during my waking life. I only vaguely remember starting to pull back with the chain in hand as I got ready to swing. All I know for sure is that I wasn't panicked when I woke up - and I wasn't soaking wet. ;o)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Write The Book

While I'm sitting at my desk having a cup of coffee, I thought I'd post an update about the book I'm working on. The one with the crazy deadline.

I'm about six or seven scenes into the book, and as it stands, that's roughly chapter three. It's about 11 a.m., and I've been at the computer about an hour. I slept in a bit, but I don't think that's too shocking since I went to bed at 2 a.m.  So far, I've written a complete scene today. I'm about to start working on the next one. My goal each day, over the next eight or nine days, is to try to write two or three scenes. Three ideally. Two, more realistically. Since I'm short on time, I'm writing the story in a linear fashion from start to finish. No hopping through the book to stick scenes in here and there like I tend to do.

I'm not focusing on word count. Anything over 10k is acceptable for this particular line of books. Normally, I'd chose a target word count to help keep me on track, but in this case, scenes are more important.

The day before I started to actually write this story, I folded a sheet of standard computer paper to create a lot of little boxes (I was out of index cards - the horror!), and I used those boxes to write down all the scenes in the story, start to finish, with as much detail as I could come up with. When I finished doing that, I read through my notes, and made more notes if I saw any sections I thought might have a plot hole. It took me about two days to do that.

Now that I'm in the writing phase, which is where I'll be for the most part over the next week and a half, I go down the list and write a scene. When I finish it, I mark it off my scene list, then revise it, and move on to the next scene. It helps, if I take about an hour with each scene before I start writing it, and sketch it out first. Not really pre-writing, but establishing the elements and boundaries of the scene.  I figure out whose scene it is, and what needs to happen in that scene to progress the book. Then I add the little things I "want" to see happen in the scene. The little zingers and such.

I'll admit, it's a little nerve wracking writing like this, but I know it's doable. I wrote Wicked Obsession in similar fashion, and it helped me get through the really tight deadline I was on then, too.

Anyway, that's what's what for the time being. I need to get back to writing. I hope you all have a happy hump day!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

I Write

Hurray for long weekends. It's after ten p.m., and I'm taking a tea break. It's been a busy, busy day. I've taken on a project with a very short deadline for one of my publishers, so it's about to get super hectic around here.

Today I mapped out the plot, and worked on the characters, identifying their goals, motivations, and conflicts. I've charted where all the sex scenes are going to go, as well as where the hero and heroine's major growth points take place. There's a rough sketch of all the scenes, and they're listed in linear order. As it stands, I see two plot holes, so that's my goal tonight - to fill in those two plot holes so the story has all the "ingredients" in place before I start actually writing the story tomorrow morning.

I'm going to have roughly a week and a half to write the story, and a week and a half to clean it up. Imagine that on a sliding scale. Maybe more writing time, maybe more clean up time. Either way, wish me luck, 'cause I'm going to need it.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Saturday :: Catching Up

Let's see. I've been away from the blog for a few days. A lot has gone on, so where to start? I guess by saying Isaac sprinkled a little rain and high winds on us when he came through, but we were lucky. No power outages, or any other inconveniences. I'm totally grateful for that.

The picture is from the morning Isaac rolled in. We were getting warm and cold crosswinds, but not much else. Other than that, the clouds churned, and later on in the day, we were hit with sprinkling rain. It didn't storm until after dark, and even then, it was mostly winds.

The guys went to bed early. We all anticipated the lights going out, so I stayed up to keep an eye on the candles we had burning. I worked through the storm mostly. There are a few subscription podcasts I listen to every week, so while the guys were sleeping, I made my way through a list of literary lectures I hadn't been able to get to until a little down time presented itself.

I also worked on The Butterfly Prince. The story is currently on my desktop with track changes on, and oh man, the manuscript is marked up to hell and back. But, I've definitely made progress. No denying that. The story is now divided into chapters and flows much, much better. Overall, I have it at a point where it's "readable". Still, I imagine there are several more passes with track changes to sit through before I'm ready to send this one to an editor for a final clean up. Ho hum. {scribble, scribble, erase, scribble}

I'm currently reading Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson. [Kindle Edition] What a great little book! I'm at the 50% mark on Kindle, and I've taken a ton of notes so far. It's a short book, apparently, but there is a lot of smart advice in this one. When I have a few extra bucks, I'll probably buy the print version of this for my keeper shelf.

It's already 1 a.m., so I'm probably about to go to bed. Happy dreams, y'all. I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!