Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Twitter Bonanza :: Manuscript Wish List :: 2015

Last night I was in a lot of pain, so I had trouble sleeping. Hubby woke me up around 5:30 to say goodbye as he left for work, and I was in too much pain to go back to sleep, so I relocated to my office and began the "daily rounds" online. I had my wip open, wrote one scene, then went online to check my Twitter, FB, and Neopets - yes, really.

I ended up on Twitter first and saw all my writerly people buzzing about #mswl. I had no idea what it was, so I investigated. It's an event where editors and agents tweet what their manuscript wish lists are. That's the gist of it. No pitches allowed.

Instead of being productive or going back to bed, I sat through the wishlist from pre-event til well after it was over. I made note of things I thought my friends might be interested in, so I could pass the info along, and I was also looking around for places to submit my latest novel. I didn't find a single taker for vampires, and very few for general paranormal. There were a few horror calls, but as exciting as that was, the event was kind of a bust for me. A treasure trove for the YA / MG set, though.

For a complete archive of the event, you can go to twitter and type #mswl in search, or you can go to ManuscriptWishList.com  I posted the crib sheet version on my Facebook page for any friends who couldn't be there due to work or school. I'll add the images below. Click 'em to make 'em larger.

I had really hoped to find someone looking for more paranormal/supernatural/horror/crime/urban suspense, but the end results were very limited. I did find two interesting agencies I may send my novel to, but in the meantime, I'm going to keep searching. 

As I said above, the event was largely middle grade and YA focused, but I kept sticking around to try to get the biggest variation of information possible. If YA or MG happens to be your genre, you're in luck, because almost everyone there was wanting some form and fashion of it. I highly recommend going to the #mswl thread on twitter and poking around, or go straight to the website and start doing searches for your subgenres. There are a lot of submission opportunities out there. 

Now that the day is done, I'm going to take a pain killer, write another scene, then curl up in bed and watch a movie. Until next time... ♥♥♥

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Passion at the Center

If you find that you start a number of stories or pieces that you don't ever bother finishing...it may be that there is nothing at their center about which you care passionately. - Anne Lamott 

Does anyone else have at least a half dozen unfinished stories on their computer? I have at least a dozen unfinished projects on my laptop, and whenever I pull one of them up, I end up giving myself the third degree. "Why didn't you finish this? When are you going to finish this? What was the initial idea you fell in love with? How do you get back to that?" I run through a list of stock excuses, then I feel guilty and develop a sudden craving for ice cream.

Last week, I was filling out a worksheet, and one of the questions happened to be "What are you passionate about?"  I stumbled. For, like, half an hour. I couldn't come up with anything other than a predictable answer. Of course I'm passionate about hubby, about my kids, my pets, my home life. But I knew that's not what I was being asked. I mean, a lot of people are passionate about their family and pets, but they don't blog about it, they don't hold sit-ins over it, or devote themselves to the study of it. They retain outside interests like geneology, photography, astronomy, political discussion, or collecting rare coins.

Well, I am passionate about writing. It gets me out of bed in the morning. I like to discuss craft with other writers; I like to read books on the subject. Writing gives me a place to think out loud, but...what's at the center of that? The act itself doesn't necessarily set me on fire with mad passion, although I've read plenty of books that hit that mark within me. They made me care.

So what am I passionate about? I'm not really sure. Animal welfare, maybe? Aside from signing petitions here and there, and sharing images of pets for adoption, it's not something I actively put myself out there and get sweaty over. Know what I mean?

When it comes down to it, I have a lot of interests, but I can't think of a single topic right off hand that inspires me to great passion. I like to learn new things, so now I'm trying to figure out where my passion lies. Why?  Because I want to write about it, warts and all, whether it turns out to be quirky people, saving the ocean, or recycling tin cans. ♦

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Seeing Stars: Over the 60k Mark

I'm officially over the 60k mark on the new novel. *confetti* I still haven't recovered my files from the Acer, or that count would be much higher. There's nothing to be done for it at the moment, though. I have to wait until I get paid so I can buy that sata to usb enclosure to put the old hard drive in. By then I will have pretty much rewritten the lost parts from scratch, so I might as well just keep going and write it through to the end. C'est la vie.

Anyway, I've been writing this book in little bits and pieces, and at the end of the day, I take the scraps and notes and turn them into scenes and chapters. Once I get it down on paper, I go dump everything into a Scrivener file. The draft is a hot mess, but the potential is there. Thankfully, Scrivener allows me to swap the scenes around with ease. For now, I'm letting the story be what it wants to be, which is a dark romantic suspense. Hmm. It may even be more in the territory of a crime story, but with a strong romantic elements. It doesn't really strike me as a Cora Zane type book, I'm thinking about publishing this one under a different name. I haven't decided yet.

This afternoon, I sat down and sketched out the ending of the novel. Up to this point, I had only a very loose idea for an ending. Okay, I was flying blind toward an event that had no name. I didn't have a tangible end target at all, and didn't realize it until I took a break this morning to read an interview.  After thinking about this story in a general sense, I realized I didn't have a target to hit so I'd know I'd reached "the end." So, I sat down in the writing cave with a pen and paper and began writing out all the possible endings to my novel: the good, the bad, and the ridiculous. I'm happy to say one ending stood out amidst all the others, and now I'm back on track.

So now it's 30k or bust. This book needs to be at least 85k, preferrably 90k; I still have a lot of words to work with. At least from this point on, I have a better idea of where the story is going to end up.

Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, 
to work to play, and to look up at the stars. - Henry Van Dyke

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Moonlight and Shadows :: Available Now at Smashwords

Woohoo! Moonlight and Shadows is available now at Smashwords. 

About the ebook: 
Two Werekind packs teeter on the edge of war. Someone has killed the Istvaan alpha, and Sylvie won't rest until justice is served. Forced into a meeting with her greatest rival, she's shocked to discover her mate is none other than the Dartega pack assassin, Erik. 

Sylvie realizes she'll never be able to claim him as her own, but there are other, more important things to do than mourn a broken heart. The mating moon is rising in a few days, and someone is trying to kill her. She needs to lie low, but Erik is on her trail. He has waited a long time to find her, and pack affiliations mean nothing to a man on the hunt for his one true mate.

Moonlight and Shadows is an expanded rerelease for readers 18+. Contains violence and graphic sex. Genre: erotica / paranormal romantic suspense

Reviews for Moonlight and Shadows...
Moonlight and Shadows - "...fast paced, erotic, and action packed..."  - Tanya, Joyfully Reviewed

Praise for Moonlight and Shadows. "Ms. Zane's werewolf stories are always impossible to put down, but she has really outdone herself with this one." - Maura Frankman, The Romance Studio 

Moonlight and Shadows - "sexy shifters with a meaty plot" - L.T Blue, 5 stars from JERR (Just Erotic Romance Reviews

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

So, I gotta tell you about this awesome writing guide...

If You Can Talk, You Can Write: A Proven Program to Get You Writing & Keep You Writing, by Joe Saltzman

So let me tell you about this little reading adventure I went on yesterday. While browsing a writerly website, I found out there's a rare chapbook sized collection of essays from an author I greatly admire. After some searching, I found out the book is only available in print as collectors editions upwards of a hundred dollars on Amazon. I can't swing that, so I decided to purchase an ebook edition instead. I googled my brains out and found a copy available for purchase on Scribd, but I'm not a Scribd subscriber, so I paid a fee of $8.99 for 24 hours worth of access, which allowed me to download the essay collection to keep. 

Since the essays were a collective 40 pages, and not as indepth or impressive as I'd hoped, I decided to browse for more books to get my money's worth out of that 24 hour access. Boy, did I ever get it when I stumbled on If You Can Talk, You Can Write by Joel Saltzman. 

This book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while, so I thought my 24 hours access would allow me to at least check out a couple of chapters to see if this was a book I'd want to purchase for my keeper shelf. I should've known this would end up as a binge read, but whatevs. 

Right away I was drawn in by the author's humorous voice and wise advice. I stayed up reading this book until two in the morning, because it was fun, informative, and inspiring. I couldn't put it down. Yes, I'm saying that about a writer's guide. It's about 190 pages, with a few wise quotes and silly multiple choice "tests" thrown in for good measure. (They're test questions that you can't possibly get wrong no matter what answer you choose. They're a hoot!) Anyway, I really enjoyed this writing guide and will definitely be buying a keeper shelf copy in the near future; I loved it that much. I also gave the book 5 stars on Goodreads. 

Who do I think this book would be best suited for?  Anyone who wants to write, presently writes, or thinks they might want to write. Any author or writer struggling to inject their own personal "voice" into their fiction. The guide is meant to get you "talking" on the page. It's such a smart, down-to-earth concept, I really can't brag on it enough.

Who the book is not for? If you're looking for a hardcore guide to tell you the hard and fast dos and don't dos of writing for publication, this one isn't going to be "rule based" enough for you. You won't find hairsplitting advice for sorting out writing elements: plot, character, setting, etc. Nor will you find any hairsplitting over grammar, or learning to write query letters, find an agent, etc. It's not that kind of book.

If You Can Talk, You Can Write showcases a "progress not process" method of writing that will get your creative juices flowing and your fingers flying over the keyboard. That's the gist of it. It's a fun little book written in a humorous, conversational tone for folks with chronic writer's block (like me), or for those who simply don't know where to start. The author shares practical techniques to get the words flowing. No more staring at a blank wall and saying you have nothing to write about. 

I give the book two thumbs up, and highly recommend it for the creative writing section of any home reference library. 

About the book [taken from Amazon.com]...
When we talk, we tell stories and present ideas rarely with much anxiety. But think about writing something and panic sets in. Overcome this crippling response by learning how to talk on paper. Joel Saltzman tells it like it is with compassion, humor, and the uncommon wisdom of famous writers, artists, and musicians. Based on his popular workshop for the UCLA Writers' Program, this is a program with proven results. You'll discover how to: Conquer the killer Perfectionism, Paralysis, and Procrastination. Silence your inner critic. (Shut up, already. I'm trying to write!) Stop worrying about the rules of grammar. Get inspired when you don't feel inspired. Write with conviction, not apology! This best selling book gives you the daring and freedom to talk on paper without worrying whether it's good or bad or what it's going to be the kind of writing that's creative, energetic and, most of all, truly your own.

Buy Link:  [Not an affiliate link. I receive zero compensation for clicks.]

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Writing Guides Geared Toward Category Romance

Hi, all. The title pretty much states the obvious. This is meant to be a fast and dirty list of writing guides that focus on category romance craft, or guides that have large sections (more than 20 pages) that focus on the mechanics of the genre.

Category romances tend to take a lot of crap from people who don't read romance, but the reality is it's not easy to put together a short romance, and category series writing is one tough market to break into. But you know what's even harder? Finding quality craft books that focus specifically on category romance writing. That's my aim here. To list the books I've found helpful when researching the genre.

I welcome suggestions and recommendations for the list, but I won't add a book until I've had time to read it cover to cover to verify what's covered. This will help keep the list from becoming watered down. Feel free to recommend books in the comments, or via email. (There's a contact form on my website www.corazane.com)

Featured Guides for Writing Category Romance: 
Note: A couple of these books are in the Kindle Unlimited program. If you're a KU subscriber, you'll be able to read them for free.