So, I know I’ve posted before about writing sequels and how much it kind of sucks. The sequel I’m working on now, which is the sequel for the book I signed the publishing contract for 🙂 D :), has had four lives. One of these lives made it to page 220 before I decided the story was going in the wrong direction. The second lived to page 20, before a genius read it and said, “You need to flip-flop the events.” The third had a promising life. It was going smoothly, people in my critique circles loved it….

Then, the publisher accepted my first book and said: “The ending is a little lackluster. Can you spice it up?” So, needless to say, the first book got a new ending which ended the third life of the sequel. Now there were some people who were upset about the third’s brief life and quick death–and hey, I really liked that version of the story too.  But you know what, the fourth life was born about a month ago, and it’s been pouring out of me at rapid speed. It has almost reached 80 pages and, in those 80 pages, the plot has advanced further than 220 pages of the first version of the story. I’m actually in Act II. I’ve never gotten past Act I in the lives of the other sequels. Having to kill that last book is probably the best thing to happen to this story.

So, yeah, I’m having fun writing a sequel. I never thought this would happen, but then I’ve never felt this connected to a sequel either. Maybe it’s because I’m actually pretty comfortable about the events of the first story now, so moving on is something I feel better about doing. That being said, I might get the edits back from the publishing house’s editor that will nicely say: “Write it again!”

We’ll see. I’m so new to this. I’m actually excited to see red marks and wondering how much control I’ll have over the edits if I don’t agree to something. It’ll be interesting and fun.

So… here’s something I promised, some head-shots from my photo shoot a few weeks back. If you noticed, my profile picture has changed. That is head-shot one. Here’s another!

headshot 7

Thanks for reading guys! Happy New Year and take care!

 

 

mugshot cat

So, now it’s time to start thinking about how I’m going to look inside my book jacket and on author pages. I mean, I know some people selfie it up, but I’m not trying to have a selfie in my book. When you see pictures of authors in their books or on their pages, you can automatically tell when those shots are selfies. I don’t want people opening up my book and snorting at my blurry selfies.

I’m a member of a great Meet-up Group and the organizer is  a photographer who believes all women should have a great head-shot for professional purposes. She put together a few head-shot days at a discounted price and offered make-up services. I missed the first one, so when she put the second one I took that as a sign to get my picture taken.

Now here comes the dilemma. I’m infamous for taking mug-shots. I am one of those people who has to smile in all my pictures or I look mean. But you see all these great shots of people not smiling and looking all intense. However, when I try to do these looks, I can picture myself holding a metal plate with a number on it.  So, I went into the photo shoot thinking the pictures would be nice pictures of me, but nothing to write home about because, well, I just don’t take good pictures. I’m the person who runs and ducks and dodges the camera. If I’ve got something to put over my head or face when a camera flashes, I’ll use it.

So, I get to the photographer’s place with my wardrobe changes (excellent reason to shop for myself instead of buying Christmas presents, btw), ready for pictures. I get my make-up done and told how to pose and all the while there’s awesome music playing. I was so comfortable and had a blast singing and dancing and posing, and that blast ended up photographing really well.

I picked out some shots I liked (and those were all before retouch, so I’m really excited to see the end product), and I’ll see which ones I end up keeping. All in all I got some good head-shots today, and a couple of mug-shots, but those were too funny.

Today was great. I’m starting to feel more and more official. Now, I’m just waiting hear back from the editor about story edits. While I’m waiting, I’m still writing. I had to change the ending to the first book, so now I’m rewriting the sequel–again. But this new beginning is really working for me. I’m glad I started anew.

So, next time I post I hope to be able to make comments about the editing process when working with a publisher. Maybe I’ll have one of those head-shots to post too… (and maybe a mug-shot, some of them were hilarious!)

Take care!

 

 

 

 

 

minions celebrate

I don’t want to jinx it because the ink hasn’t dried, but I just signed a publishing contract.What does that mean? It means my first book is being published! Published! I will see my pen-name on a book cover. I think I’ll scream or maybe even cry when I hold the actual book in my hands.

Non-writers don’t understand. They cheer and pat you on the back and then look at you strange when you keep dancing on. I’ve been doing the running man, the MC Hammer, the cabbage, the twerk, and a couple of other dances I made up for the past few days. This is a life goal. This calls for celebration.

And the book being published is a story near and dear to my heart. I’ve been working with these characters since the 6th grade, building them up and giving them story. The drafting process was not easy. There are so many different versions of this story on various disks and old computers. Heck, in old spiral notebooks, back when people used to hand-write things.This is the story that received no love what-so-ever when I work-shopped it in grad school. Give it up. Write something else. You’re not a good enough writer to write this story.

I shelved it for years after graduation and finally came back to it almost 2 years ago with a fresh new outlook and confidence in my writing that I had lost along the way. The publisher read the manuscript in a matter of days, gave me glowing feedback, and then made the offer. The contract came in a few days ago.

I did some research on what makes a good contract and what makes bad contracts and compared the articles and examples to mine. It looks great, but one of my co-workers has a fiance who knows legal people so he offered to read the contract over for me. He also offered to call in a second opinion from others who work in the creative property side of law.

Everything checked out… and so I signed! Whoooooo!!!! “Do the Humpty-hump. Do the Humpty-hump!”– Yeah I just dated myself, but whoooooooo!!!

So here is something else that’s amazing: one of my co-workers is also a writer, a fabulous poet, who is getting his book published as well. He was the one who pushed me to start seriously submitting my book and gave me a deadline. He said: You must have  published book in hand by December of 2017 when I retire. I said: You’re on.

So, we’ve been dancing together. Now, I wasn’t going to make the announcement to my other co-workers or anyone outside of my inner circle until the ink dried… but my poet co-worker went to the boss and excitedly told her: Eboni has big news, big, big, news, but she can’t tell you yet.

Well, at work we’re experiencing a staff shortage. People are getting married, having babies, and moving away. My boss kind of got a little freaked out, because she was afraid I was going to say I was getting married or pregnant. She approached me when I returned to work (after an awesome Halloween week with my sister), wanting to know my news right then, and I had to tell her. Not to worry, boss, I’m not popping out any little people and I’m not wearing a ring. I’m just getting published. 🙂

Published!

So, the contract is in, and now I’m making the suggested revisions with a deadline of November 18th. I can’t wait for the next part in the process.

Until next time!

Cat_Dog_01There is nothing like struggling for weeks to write one stupid chapter. You start worrying. What’s wrong? All the other chapters came out so fast. Am I running into that dreaded disease called Writer’s Block? Am I losing interest in the story–because, let me tell you, after a few weeks, you sure are bored with that chapter and you really are becoming disgusted with the whole project.

Then, it suddenly dawns on you. Maybe you’ve picked the wrong character to tell the chapter through. Huh. You start thinking it through, and then realize what you must do. You must scrap all 10-20, sometimes even 30 pages of crap you’ve been hammering out for weeks and start fresh in that new voice. You hate throwing stuff out (and I really don’t. I have a massive file for all my stories called: Cut Scenes), but once you do and start fresh, suddenly, you’re writing. Your chapter’s through in a matter of days and you’re happy and mad at the same time. Happy, because YAY you’ve got a new chapter that you like. Mad, because you wasted 3 weeks working on something that was never going to work.

This has been the case for me for the past month on not one but two stories. Because yes, I’m one of those people who writes real novels and fan fiction at the same time. So both of my stories were at a standstill, but hey, now they’re not. I’m glad to be moving forward, finally!

Why am I blogging right now? Because I’m actually writing right now and so amazed (and mad) at my discovery that I had to share it. I also have to share that I now have 40 plus pages of cut scenes this month.

On the publishing front–I’m still playing the waiting game. (Worst… game… EVER). But, hopefully, I’ll start hearing more from people soon. Most of the agents and publishers have a 6-8 window, and I’m approaching 6 weeks for some. We’ll see what happens.

Until next time!

gaston can't read!

That would be me! I’m the world’s biggest hypocrite. I’m always complaining about people not reading signs or directions and today, I was a repeat offender.

So, good news–I have sent out queries to fifteen different places, agents and publishers. I have heard responses from three, two said thanks but no thanks, and one said, go ahead and send us the full manuscript so we can take a look.

I’m really excited about that, but do you know I misread the directions on submitting to this publisher not once, but twice. The first time, I misread the instructions for labeling my files. The second time, I sent the manuscript to the wrong e-mail address. Both times I corrected my errors, but my gosh. I sure hope this publisher doesn’t think: Well darn, she can’t follow instructions EVER.

I want to blame it on excitement, and just being tired. I keep telling myself not to submit late at night, because I make dumb errors, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Sometimes, I have to submit when I can, or it just won’t happen.

I know I’ve said it before, but preparing materials for submitting takes such a long time. I almost wonder if it’s not harder than writing the book itself.

So, anyway, my full manuscript is in the inbox of a teen lit publisher. I’m crossing my fingers and praying that they like it. But you know how it goes when you send off a submission. Just yesterday you liked your story just fine, but now that you know someone else is going to be reading and scrutinizing it, you’re thinking: Man that story sucks. Lol!

Well, here’s to hoping they don’t think it sucks. They liked the query and the first three chapters (prologue included.) So, we’ll see. And hey, if they don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world. I will continue to submit. There’s power in pressing “send”.

So now, I need to get back to writing new material while I wait. It’s hard, you feel restless, but you can’t put your other projects on hold for months while you wait for responses.

Until next time!

now we wait

First off I want to start off by saying: “BWHAHAHAHA!! I blogged again this month.” Okay, I’m done. Next off I want to share that I’ve submitted 8 times in the past week and half to agents and publishers (one by snail mail). I am no longer lazy or procrastinating… or chicken. I’ve been hitting “send” on e-mails like I hit “purchase” on Amazon. No problem, NEXT!

Now what has been time consuming is getting stuff ready for different publishers and agents. I had a query letter all prepared for agent submissions, and suddenly, they all want cover letters. I had a one page synopsis ready, and they want a one paragraph synopsis… or one that is three to ten pages. They want pasted manuscripts with 1.5 spacing, they want attachments in Courier. They want my query letter to answer their particular questions. Why it’s almost like they want met to tailor my submissions to meet their requirements!–hah, I’m kidding. I just never thought it would take days to get each submission of the same material ready for send-off.

I’ve learned to take my time and to read all directions at least three times. Some agents are vaguer than others and leave a lot to creative interpretation, while some tell you to the letter what they want and what they don’t. It would really stink to get rejected due to improper format. I’d kick myself.

Oh, and tell me why, 200 reads later, I’m still finding typos in the manuscript. Even after other people have read and edited, new typos just pop up. I think a little troll comes in the night and deletes single words like “to” from every 14th sentence on every 15th page. Well, maybe not quite that often, but still. Every time I see where a word is missing from a sentence, I think: When did this happen? Has it never been there? Did I accidentally delete it while editing something else? It’s irritating, but then you think, if me and like fifteen other people missed this, then it’s very likely to be missed by fifteen more people. Hopefully whoever reads my manuscript won’t notice them.

So… now I’m playing the “Waiting Game”. The one where you want to check your e-mail every five seconds, though the agents and publishers say: Give me 6-8 weeks or longer. One says: six months. But it still doesn’t stop you from looking. You get all giddy thinking what if someone got my e-mail, opened it right away because your name sounds cool, read your stuff immediately because you’re awesome, loved it, and can’t wait to contact you. Whoo hoo! (And yeah, right.) If anything, when an agent responds within a day it’s usually an auto-reject. I know; I’ve gotten them before, lol.

Here’s the process I’ve decided on to keep me from going nuts. Since submissions take so long and I get so antsy waiting, instead of doing submissions every week, I’ll do them every other. I’ll submit 2-5 times a week, then take a week off to write new material and hopefully distract myself with what I love to do: write. I’ll still check my e-mail a lot, but I’ll have other deadlines to meet as well. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

Okay, random change of subject. I want to talk about this creepy book I’m reading. I run a teen book club for the library I work at. The kids voted to read The Diviners by Libba Bray. I’m listening to the audio book of it, because I had a free audible credit. So, I’m chilling, listening, enjoying it… then things in the book get weird and I flashback to being a little kid looking at Freddy Krueger. The narrator, January LaVoy, is awesome. This is officially one book I don’t want to listen to before trying to go to sleep at night because I’ll end up lying in bed seeing shadows and hearing noises. (It doesn’t help that my water heater makes noises like someone trying to knock the house down with a sledgehammer in the middle of the night for no reason.)  Anyways, I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far so good.

To sum up this post: I’m all over the place, but doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m submitting, I’m going to be writing new stuff soon, and I’m keeping organized (somewhat). I’m anxious to hear some feedback, always ready to hear positive things, but hey if I don’t, there are many other agents and publishers out there that I’ve yet to try!

I will blog again soon, I hope. And maybe I’ll have some news :).

procrastination

 

…a procrastinator.  You know what, never mind. I’m not even just a procrastinator. Maybe I’m just chicken. So, I’ve got two manuscripts that I could be submitting. I get all excited and maybe submit once or twice, never hear back from an agent, and then start editing again. At some point you just have to stop and say: I’m done. I’ve said “I’m done” so many times, but this time I really mean it. I’m done.

I have set a goal for myself. I’m going to submit my manuscript 3 times a week, 2 agents, 1 publisher. I’ve been doing my research, I’ve been formatting manuscripts and query letters and synopses to fit what each place wants. And most importantly, I’ve been hitting: send. We’ll see what happens. I’m excited, but not disillusioned. I’m not expecting to get wild and crazy acceptances from everyone I send to. I’m not expecting to hear from them all and get detailed feedback. Hell, I’m just happy to be able to put entries in my Submission Log, lol.

Okay, so on from that, let’s talk about what I’ve been up to: throwing parties… left and right. Baby showers, bachelorette parties and going to see The Lion King the stage play. Let me tell you that play is amazing: the costumes, the dancing, the music, the story. It was like watching the movie in the theater back in ’93 when I was a kid. It was nostalgic but at the same time, it added new elements to the story. Characters and relationships were deepened, I was in love… and then “Be Prepared” came on. Scar started singing and the hyenas came out…

So, I think they told every male dancer who auditioned for that play, “If you do not have an 8 pack and do not glisten when we rub on oil on your chest, you need not apply.” The hyena troop stomped out on that stage… and yes, they had amazing technique, but the rippling muscles distracted me from that just a bit. Adult Simba was no slouch himself–lucky Nala! I wanted to leap into Simba’s arms too.

Needless to say, it was such a great time I went to see it twice, and they did not disappoint.

So… when my writing buddies ask me what I’ve written this month, I say: Um… It’s all Simba’s fault for being so fine–I mean–talented! But I am getting back on track. I’m going to do something I did a while back and create a writing schedule for myself. I need designated times for editing, writing new original material, and writing other things (fan fiction, my guilty pleasure). Last month, I’d taken to kidnapping myself after work and going to a coffee house with my laptop to write. I ended up getting a lot of new material that way. The only problem with that method is that I ended up at coffee houses filled with cakes and cookies and pies every other day. My willpower is only so strong. (Sigh) So, new pages and tighter pants.

New revelation: Writing is fattening, lol.

Okay, so today is October 4, 2015. Mark this date, because it’ll be another year before I blog again. No, I’m going to blog again this month. In my designated writing time schedule, I am going to plug in a time for blogging too. So, here’s the challenge:Blog more than once a month. We’ll see what happens, lol!

Until then!

 

i'm not dead pink

I can start this entry off with more promises of blogging more frequently, but I know I’m lying. I love the idea of having a blog, I love the way it looks, and sometimes, great things happen and I want to blog. I just don’t. It’s like lying on the couch with a bag of snacks staring at your treadmill, thinking: I want to use that thing. But do you? Nah. Requires you to stop doing nothing and be productive, lol. We can’t have that, can we?

Ironic that this post is actually about how productive I’ve been these past few months :). Here are some accomplishments:
1. Had my annual review at work– Got a gold star.
2. My novel was 127,000 words– edited it down to 99,000 words.
3. Started my own weekly writers group through Meet-up– It’s been 6 months and still going strong, and sometimes is Wait-list only.
4. Went to the San Francisco Writers Conference 2015 and rubbed elbows with agents– Four out of five agents said send me that novel (or some of it).
5. After weeks of being a perfectionist (editing like crazy, again)– I sent my manuscript off last night (bye, bye Mommy’s baby, have a good first day of school… **sob**)

So, after Number 5, I wait for responses. I opened up my dusty, agent submission log (started in 2011 and not used since then) where I enter in the queries and manuscripts I send out to agents, looked at my long list of submissions (2 agents) and see that one of the agents I’m sending to this time around is the same agent who gave me my first rejection letter.  It was a nice standard issue form letter that came within a few hours of my submission. I told myself (to make me feel better) that I must have committed a formatting treason and got an auto-reject. The agent couldn’t possibly have read my work that fast and hated it, right?  Haha. Well, years later, I find out that it WAS an auto-reject! (Not that she might not have rejected it anyway, but still… HAHA, I was right!).  Anyways, at the conference, when the agent gave me her card, she said: Make sure you put my super secret code in the subject line or else you’ll get an auto-reject. I don’t read unsolicited manuscripts from new authors unless I meet them at a conference.  I swear I heard the “Patty Mayonnaise” music Doug heard whenever puffy-headed Patty entered the room, when I made the connection. (Oh yeah, I revealed my age right there in that comment. Nick-toons were the best in the 90s.)

So, I’ve got 10 pages in the hand of one agent, and an entire manuscript in the hands of another.  I’m excited, nervous and relieved at the same time.  Excited, because I’m finally submitting, for real.  I’m ready for my 100 rejection letters! Nervous, because “Oh no, it’s baby’s first day at school, what if someone is mean to him or steals his lunch money?”  Relieved, because I did it.  The manuscript is out there.  When people ask if I sent it off yet, I can say “Yes!”  So, now I have to keep myself from checking my e-mail every hour, like a mama checking the nanny-cam.  My logical brain knows that I’m not going to hear anything for weeks, and that if I do hear anything back this soon, it’ll be “BWHAHAHAHA, how dare you send us this crap?”  But knowing all that doesn’t stop me from constantly checking.  I’m even annoying myself with it.

To take my mind off of it, I could do something productive, like write something new. Hey, I could work on revising the sequel to the manuscript I sent off.  That’s a great idea… or I can lie on the couch with a bag of snacks staring at my exercise machine or laptop and think: Man, I should be using that thing.  Couch and snacks sound good, but nah.  Been there, done that.  Maybe I should research some more agents that I haven’t met and get some more submissions sent out.  But my question is, should I wait to hear back from the agents I just sent to?  If they don’t like the manuscript, maybe they might offer some good feedback as to why and I might get some useful edits made according to it.  But then again, what if the things they hated about the book another agent loves?  At times like these, I wish I had Jean Grey’s powers to not just to read a mind, but to change a mind: My baby is the cutest, smartest, most awesome baby in the world. You like him.  You want him.  Lol.  About 50 submissions from now, I’ll be laughing at this entry.  I’m such a newbie, but ah well.  Gotta start sometime, and I’m way past due.

Okay, so I just wanted to get an entry in here and let WordPress know I’m not dead… “just floating”, being lazy, procrastinating, so don’t cancel my subscription–especially since you already took my money for it. I can’t promise when I’ll do another one of these. I always enjoy writing blog entries when I finally get around to doing them, it’s just the “getting around to them” part that’s so hard.

Until next time–and hey, maybe by then I’ll have some interesting news, or good news, or a new place to live, or a new man, or…  Ah, whatever.  Take care!

 

“I’m not dead… just floating”–Pink, I’m Not Dead.
Mann, B. and Pink. (2006). I’m Not Dead. [Recorded by Pink]. I’m Not Dead [CD]. London, England: Zomba Music Group.

2014-09-07 18.37.44

Hahaha! Okay, yes, I am not dead. Just incredibly, incredibly lazy! But oh-so-much has happened in my life as well. So, I’m no longer in Florida. After a year and a half, I accepted a new position in California. I always told myself I was going to be a California girl, and now it’s happened. It’s hard to believe sometimes, but hey, I’m here and I love it.

I love my new job, I love my new place, my car loves driving through the hills and mountain routes. I’m still trying to make myself a niche here. Finding writing groups nearby is a little difficult, and the things I like to do with groups I’d love to join are often far away. But hey, I try. It’s not exactly torture making a two hour drive to do something fun when your end destination is San Francisco ;). Beautiful city.

So, here’s the story for last weekend. So, I joined a Harry Potter community that had a Start-of-the-Year Feast in Golden Gate Park on Sunday. Members were encouraged to dress up and bring a potluck dish in the tradition of Harry Potter. (I brought healthy cucumber sandwiches because it looked like everyone else was bringing sweets–which were delish btw!) So anyway, I did some impromptu karaoke, wandered some nature trails, saw some sights, met some new people… and got my car locked underground in a parking garage.

Yeah, you read that right. I parked my car in a garage that said it closed at 7:00 pm. No problem, the picnic would be over by six. So, anyway, picnic ends early, My friend and I, plus a new guy we met at the picnic, goof off in the park for a while. Then my friend and I make our way back to the parking garage only discover villainy. The entrance to the parking garage must have closed behind us, because… WHERE IS IT? We wander around, retracing our steps for almost 30 minutes. By the time we figure out how to get back into the garage, the doors are locked and the gate is barred. We sit outside the gate, staring at my beautiful red car through the metal rungs. What to do? There are no phone numbers to call. My genius friend Googled (gotta love Google) the parking garage and we get the number for management. A guy with a thick accent who sounds like he’s singing Italian opera while he talks answers and says he’ll be there to let us in, in a minute.

The man pulls up in a sedan, lets us in, we jump in the car and follow him out to pay the garage toll and head home. As we pay, he then tells us: “Good thing you called when you did! We charge people 450 dollars to park here after seven. Hahahahaha!”

“Hahahaha” my foot, but I kinda think he was making that up :D.

So anyways, that’s what’s been going on life-wise. Writing-wise, hey. I finished yet another novel draft and am making good headway on a sequel to that novel. In a month or so, I’m going to go back and do a full body edit to the draft and have a group proofread it.  Then, it’s back to querying. I would love to attend another writers conference and personally meet with some more agents. So, I’m always on the lookout for conventions in the Bay Area. (Hah, I’m Bay Area now :D.)

So, yeah, I’m back, better than ever… and hopefully, it won’t take another almost two years for me to blog again!  Take care!

So… April 10th has come and gone…

I celebrated a happy ___ birthday (Whoo hoo!) I got a shiny, new car as a gift to myself, but today I’m going to have to part with my old one. I’m really kinda sad about it. My old, green car is the first car I bought myself. He’s seen me through ALL of college (hoo boy), ALL my first jobs (ha!), and through multiple states (Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Lousiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida). He’s even been to Disney World (well, close enough to it, we went to Universal Studios 😛 ).

So, today I say, “Goodbye J’son II.” (J’son I was my R-13 clarinet I sold my senior year of high school). I’m taking him to Carmax where he will be appraised and maybe even put on the market. May he find a terrific second owner. But is it wrong of me to hope he breaks down and can’t be driven anymore? I hate to think about a stranger driving MY baby. If I was still in Texas, I would have given him to a family member. If I had a house, he would have been the car that chills in the garage.

Siiiigh… Okay, after all that car talk, let’s get on to the writing business and why this post is called Epic Fail, lol.

Back to my opening statement, April 10th has come and past and I didn’t complete the Stephen King Challenge. I have come to the decision that while I do think Stephen King is wonderful and a novel can be finished in a month… that plan usually works best for people who don’t work full time at jobs that require overtime. If I was still doing a part-time gig, or teaching and had my summer off, I think I could have done it :).

BUT… and this is why the Fail is not Epic, I do have a good start to the novel. I’ve got 70 pages, and over 16,000 words. I’m still excited about the material and moving forward. I still want to challenge myself and set a time period for completion, but a more realistic one. I have a good writing buddy who suggested a book to me called: The 90 Day Novel. Well, I have done the first 30 days, right? So, I’m giving myself 60 more, starting today!

THE NEW CHALLENGE: FINISH FIRST DRAFT BY JUNE 12, 2013.

What is great about that is June 12, 2013 is also the kick-off of the library’s summer reading program, and I’m going to be extremely busy after that date. So, it’s on! I’m ready, and hey, this time, I think I can do it!

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for, I said if I failed the Stephen King Challenge you all would get to throw bananas at me. So… let ’em fly. (Oh, but not at face… or the hair… let’s just avoid the head, okay?… um… okay? …crap.)

watch out for flying bananas