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I Am My Worst Critic

And (write)fully so!

I decided to review We’re Family…Right? ten months after shelving it, thanks to that full request I received during my break. Dare I say…I was appalled…by the word structuring, word choices, hell…the writing as a whole.

I can’t believe that a year ago, I believed that I submitted “a work of art”.  Boy…reality can be so cruel.

Today, I learned the real meaning of “You’re not a true writer until you’ve written several books…that you’ve filed away to never see the light of a publishing house.” Ok, that may not have been the exact quote, but its many variations can be read across the web. And you know what? It’s true. “Why” you ask? Because simply put – the more you write, the more you learn, the more you grow and a better writer you become. That was one reason WFR wasn’t great (IMHO, of course), but it’s also because I realized that writing in a certain style doesn’t suit me. It was the second novel I’ve written in first person. :: face palm :: I thought it was the only style for me that allowed me to project more emotion into my writing. Oh, how wrong was I. Like Yesterday is in third person, and I can [prematurely] say that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I am not only able to share the feelings of one character but several. It gives my MS an added dimension that my first two MSS lacked. I have more freedom with sentence structure as the narrator takes on a different persona than the characters without restriction.

So, what do I do w/ WFR? I’ve always had the intention of converting it into a family saga, but rewriting it? I don’t know if I even have the slightest of care. I do want to produce a family saga, but I’m not sure if that family is the way to go. We shall see. Like Yesterday is my #1 priority right now. Perhaps if this “work of art” (lol) lands me an agent and, subsequently, a publishing deal, then I’ll make that call.

 

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Happy New Year

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Wow, that was one hell of a break! I didn’t expect to take so much time off, but apparently, my life knew otherwise. In case you haven’t noticed (ahem…*whispers* look at the WIP meter), my fingers and creative mind have been busy. I can’t believe that I’m over halfway to meeting my 80k goal. :: cues music :: It started off with me just slipping to the side to get a week worth of writing done, but then…I couldn’t stop. It’s still going strong, and I’ve grown even more excited about this project. So, hopefully you guys haven’t deserted me. Eh…it was the holidays, so I’m sure you all have been swamped as well.

While on break, I received a full request…for We’re Family…Right?…to a query sent…almost A YEAR AGO! I was so taken aback that I didn’t know if I should send the MS immediately, do some editing and then send it, or reject her request since that project has been shelved for a while (and good riddance since I’ve learned SOOO much from writing Like Yesterday that WFR needs some major edits). I understand that agents are busy people, like the elves at North Pole on Christmas Eve type busy, but a year later seemed so bizarre. However, she did request and thanked me for being patient. She could be insanely slow at checking her email, lost internet connection for the year, been consumed in the careers of her current clients, or my query could’ve been filed in the “maybe” pile until she had time to reconsider. Who knows, but I still appreciated the request, especially since she’s an agent known to sell my type of book to large publishers.

This literary industry is so unpredictable but often times offers the best surprises. Albeit a year later, that email was just the pick-me-up I needed. Merry Christmas to me! 🙂

 

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Looking for a Beta Reader…or a few

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That’s right! I’m looking for a beta or a few to give We’re Family…Right? their attention and offer feedback on the plot, characters, voice, flow, continuity, etc. For those who aren’t familiar with it or need a refresher, you can scroll through my categories in the right-hand column and select “We’re Family…Right?” to retrieve past posts about it. ORRRR…why don’t I just make it simple for you and provide the easy link for you here? I’m the one seeking help; you would think I would make the process as painless as possible.

Although there’s somewhat of a romance element in WFR, it’s certainly not centered around that relationship (her marriage), so there are no sex scenes. (Ahh…boo…whaa whaa whaa! Just shut it already.lol)  It has minimal profanity and an interracial component.

NOW…if I get a couple of betas who feel like WFR could use a sultry scene or 2 (or 4 or 5) to give it that commercial edge, then hey…I’m here to listen. Just don’t go turning my contemporary fiction into an erotica, mkay?

What I’m looking for: Not a critique partner [not yet anyway]. Someone(s) who is an avid book reader. (IOW, don’t request to be a beta just to get a sneak peak. MAJOR REJECT stamp all across your forehead for that!) A hard [yet respectable] ass! Someone(s) who is reliable. Don’t have me doing this…waiting for you to respond…

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Yeah, WFR has been submitted to a few agents, but I know that now is better than never to give it a fresh pair of eyes. :: singing ::I’ve been looking for you

If you’re interested, you can leave a comment on this post, contact me via email, or hit me up on Twitter.

Thanks, ladies & gents!

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NaNo—What in THE hell was I thinking?!

In case some of you haven’t noticed, look over there to the right. Yeah, where it says Na No Wri Mo in those little colorful circles, and underneath it you’ll see a calendar with how many words I have written so far in November.

Just totally unacceptable and darn right shameful. (Quick reminder: The goal of NaNo is to write 50,000 words by Nov. 30. Um…yeah…it’s Nov. 26.) I had high hopes and determination [for like the first 24 hours] b/c I know that I am a MAJOR…like the chief…procrastinator. I was hoping that participating in something like NaNo would force me to crank my butt into gear. But nope…even my butt is stubborn.

Most of my procrastination stems from lack of motivation. Yeah, yeah…I know…

Well…damn that! No amount of pep talking is going to recharge my energy levels. I’m also too involved in the querying process of We’re Family…Right?. It was only a few months ago when I slapped the “Finished” seal on it. How others just jump right into writing another book is nothing short of miraculous and commendable.

At first, I thought that perhaps I had no motivation b/c I didn’t particularly like what I was writing. But then…more ideas and a more scandalous plot just hit me, and I continued typing away. That, however, didn’t last long. 😦  I once again became engulfed in my 9 to 5 workload, and the typing stopped. I still wholeheartedly believe in my new story, but right now, my creative mind needs to rest. Once enough agents tell my current novel in submission to Go straight to hell; do not pass Go; do not collect $200, then I’ll happily shelve it and move on to nurture my latest baby.

So yeah…ignore that calendar over there. It should depress me, but it doesn’t. It’s just a reminder that it’s okay to be exhausted; it’s okay to take a break. And the great news is…I actually started a new work-in-progress! :: drops it low :: :: break dances :: :: springs to my knees :: :: pirouettes :: :: death drops ::

Oh…I also have another author interview coming soon. So, be on the lookout for that! 🙂

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First Three Chapters Available

Let me be the first to announce (well, who else is going to announce it?) that I have completed the manuscript for my second novel, We’re Family…Right?. (Yes, you can cheer, do cartwheels, and go streaking while painting the town red. Okay, maybe not so much the last one.) It has been a long journey but gratifying task to complete the novel with life’s interruptions and challenges tripping me up along the way. I just picked myself up and kept racing to the finish line, without jeopardizing my novel’s quality of course.

Because I love all of my readers almost more than I love chocolate (sorry, y’all—you just can’t trump the orgasmic flavor and effects of chocolate 😉 ), I have made the first three chapters available online for your reading pleasure and review. (Link is provided at the bottom of this post.) Tell me what you like, but feel utterly free to tell me what you don’t like. I do write what it’s in my heart and in the direction my fingers type, but if I don’t write what interests my readers, then I need to stick to writing in my depressing journal. Since that, of course, is not what I want, your reviews [positive, constructive, critical, praised] WILL be read and taken into account when preparing my manuscript for submission.

For those who don’t enjoy it, no worries; you only had to endure three lousy chapters. For those who do, pass the word along. There are 18 more chapters available, and by popular demand only, they will be available soon enough.

First Three Chapters of We’re Family…Right?
(click “read the book” in right-hand column)

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I’m a Mommy!

That’s right folks! It’s the most exhausting, trying, grueling, and diligent job ever known to man (or shall I say WO-man 🙂 ), but its rewards cannot be outweighed. Whether it’s at a 3am feeding or a 2pm diaper change, my disdain for the “job” immediately transitions into pure love and devotion to her, my daughter, Leah. I always knew that I would love her once she arrived, but let me tell you, I have never known a love like this before. I literally cry red tears at the thought of someone harming her. Her smile can melt the heart of a soulless man. Her laugh…oh her laugh…is hypnotizing; the sound of it erases my negative memories from the day and replaces them with memories of just her. What an indescribable joy she is!

Between my finding out that I was w/ child to my actually bringing her into this world, many of my works have been put on hold—not permanently, I assure you. Ironically, she’s now the reason that I’m jumping back forehead first into the game. My first course of action was to let my readers know that I’m alive, well, and ready. I do apologize for leaving you hanging for so long, but a year was nothing; it went by faster than you could have asked, “Where did she go?”.lol

The next thing I must do is finish off my book. It’s going in a different direction than I originally planned, but it’s still in a direction that I’m certain would please most [if not all]. I’m nearing the end, and I hope you all feel the anticipation that I feel; it’s invigorating!

So, stay locked, everyone. I’ll be spending the remainder of the year focusing on my works and completing my second novel. Beginning January 2012, I will resume my author interviews in hopes of opening my readers’ eyes and minds to new, fresh talent.

Oh yeah, before I seal this post, I am also changing my pen name to reflect the writer I am today and not who I was 10 years ago. Keep your eye out for that announcement, along w/ a new brand/logo and maybe a new color scheme for my blog. Love you guys!

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I’m still here

Yes, my folks…I’m still around. I’ve just been so involved in some other projects, including my 2nd novel. I’m trying my best to please my fans as well as prospective new ones, so I’m giving this one more of my attention. I have no idea where or how this novel is going to end, but I’m excited to learn. The words have been flowing pretty smoothly and with little hesitation. I have been getting quite a bit of inspiration while listening to some pop, rock, and techno. :: raises eyebrow :: Yes, it’s weird, but don’t ask! 🙂

To tickle your fancies a little bit, I have included below a snippet of the chapter I’m currently writing. It’s the [very] raw edition, so it will definitely change before the final product is published; I’m even thinking about changing the characters’ names. However, the essence of the content will remain the same, so no worries there. In the meantime, enjoy.

I trek back down the hall to my room—the room I have called my home for almost 30 days. Will I even recognize my old home? The halls now seem different; it’s quiet. When I first came here, I felt wrath and depression. Now, all I feel is sorrow, sorrow for the souls who must remain here long after I’m gone. I also worry about Lisa. She may only have two more weeks, but within those two weeks, will she regress? Who will she call to pick her up when she’s discharged?  Will she and Todd remain in touch?

Once I entered my room, I struggle to make the sound decision to begin packing. Twenty-eight days ago, I imagined this day a little differently. My bags would have been packed a week ago, and I would be sitting on my stripped bed, waiting with my sealed bags by the door. Nope. The course has changed. I sit here with my legs dangling from the side of the bed while my empty duffle bag rests on the floor beneath my bare feet.

“Hey there, roomie.”

“Damn it, Lisa! You scared me. I didn’t even hear you come in.”

“That excited to be leaving, huh?”

“You betcha.”

“Good. But you have a phone call.”

“A what?”

“Yeah. I was on my way back here when I heard the lady at the front desk ask an orderly to come get you ’cause you have a phone call. I told them that I would tell you. So, you better hurry up.”

“Wow. Thanks, Lisa.”

It’s been about a week since my last phone call. Phone calls around here are like fresh water in a desert. I sprint to the front office in lightning speed. I’m sure that the person, who’s probably Dana, has been waiting for a few minutes now, and I don’t want to miss her call.

“Hi, Ana. I was told that I have a phone call.”

“And who are you?”

“Um, it’s me, Sicily.”

“Like I’m supposed to know every nut in here. Yeah, you got a call. Wait a second.”

What a bargain basement, slum village bitch! She passes me the receiver as if she has Rheumatoid Ass-ritis in her elbow and shakes it in my face like I can’t see it. I don’t have all day, witch. Then she proceeds to press the “hold” button like the Ass-ritis has spread to her chalked knuckles.

“Hi, hello. This is Sicily. Dana, is this you?”

“No, sweetheart. It’s Taylor.”