Inspiration Image – Playing with Fire

Fire Inspiration Nettie

Due to some major plot holes and disconnects in my core theme, I have been spending several weeks rethinking Book 3’s direction. I am happy to announce that I am finally there, having worked out my main character’s heritage, occupation history, and most importantly, the location of the elemental portal for Fire.

Sera is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters to write. She is passionate about everything she does, and is able to keep up with the strongest of men. Her intended mate Logan already has my heart. He is wickedly handsome with an awesome sense of humor. While they may not agree on a lot of things, the one thing that they have in common is their loyalty to the people they love.

This picture found me right around the time I completed my revised outline, and it nails the image I have in my mind for Sera. I am so excited to bring her to life, and can’t wait to share her adventures with you all! If you are interested in updates on the series, please be sure to follow me!

 

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Writer’s write…

Roosevelt New day

Or do they?

For the past few weeks, I have been beating myself up over the fact that I haven’t written anything new in my work in progress (WIP). What I realized tonight, after drafting a blog post of over 1,000 words, is that it isn’t about what I am producing that counts…it is that I am producing at all.

In the past few weeks I have sorted out a major snag in book 3, outlined almost an entire prequel for my series, drafted three blog posts and lined up social media posts for a month. While this didn’t feel like writing (since I wasn’t working on what I really felt I needed to), it was still producing content.

So I’ve decided to cut myself some slack, realizing that I am building a diverse writing portfolio and that even when I don’t have time to physically sit at my laptop and write, I am still writing. The conversations in my head, the character descriptions I visualize, they all flavor my writing in a very special way that really should never be rushed. It is my hope that when I am finally able to put these tidbits to use, the end result will be well worth the wait. And for those of you who are patiently following my journey – I promise not to make you wait for long!

Upcoming Book Events

 

Rounding out the last of the season with these great events!  Will be there with both books in the Power of Four series, and signing them upon request.  If you aren’t able to make it, please remember that they are also available in digital formats on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.  Would love some reviews on either of those sites or even Goodreads if you are active on that site.

Please stop by and say hello if you happen to be in these areas on the following dates:

 

Local Author Fair – Hamburg Library – Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 11-2 pm

Location: 10411 Merrill Road, Whitmore Lake, MI 48189

Website: Hamburg Township Public Library

 

Local Author Showcase – Brighton Library – Sunday, November 12, 2017 from 2-4 pm

Location: 100 Library Drive, Brighton, MI 48116

Website: Brighton District Library

 

Holiday Bazaar* – Hamburg Senior Center – Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 9-2 pm

 

Location: 10407 Merrill Road, Whitmore Lake, MI  48189

Facebook: Hamburg Senior Center

*This event is held the same day as the Hamburg Library Used Book Sale!

 

Thanks to everyone who has supported me in this crazy journey, I sure can’t do it without you!  XOXO

 

 

How bad do you want it?

Balance Pixabay

While listening to the Sell More Books Show podcast the other day (I believe it was Episode #182), something one of the hosts said struck a cord. They were discussing life distractions, such as social media, and how at times they needed to tune it out in order to complete their projects. The discussion interested me, since I myself have been struggling with finding time to write among social media distractions and my other obligations. Then one of the hosts said, “How bad do you want it? Are you going to shut stuff down and get it done, or not? It’s up to you.” And with that, I realized that I need to get myself back on track – I need some balance.

There is no denying life gets in the way, I know that more than I would like to admit. But, when I think back to what I accomplished when I had way less time on my hands,  I shake my head in amazement and wonder how I possibly got it all done. I wasn’t all that much younger, although at my age five years can make a big difference, but my goal at the time was different. Writing my first book and seeing it in print was my focus, which I achieved in 2015. After that, I quickly realized that in order to support my passion, I needed to learn to market myself (aka: sell some darn books). Building an author platform has been my focus ever since, but it requires a ton of dedication and time, and leaves little opportunity for me to work on “fun” stuff. While the marketing and social media knowledge base was necessary, it does eat into my writing time which has been non-existent with the crazy summer we’ve had. The time I spent learning those skills was well worth it, but now I need to find the time to write as well or these stories inside me will never come out. Here is where Jim’s question comes in – how bad do I want it?

To work on fun stuff? The answer is simple, I don’t have a choice, I can’t live without it. I am a writer, and the words need to flow. If they don’t, they bottle up and eventually come out in ways that would make Stephen King cringe. So how bad DO I want it? Pretty DAMN bad. And what am I going to do about it? I am going to make a date with myself to write! In my mind it is no different than making a doctor’s appointment, lunch date, or finding time to watch television. If I can make time to schedule those things, I can certainly find time to write.

2018 will be a year of change for me, a year that I will take myself seriously and commit to learning my craft. It will also be a year that I will make dates with myself, and will learn to balance all my other obligations in a way that suits all the people I love. Balance must be my focus moving forward, so I can ensure that my creativity is allowed to breathe. It was handy that I found this amazing magnet while shopping the other day, which now has a prominent position on my fridge. It reminds me what to focus on moving forward, and is frankly the core theme for my Power of Four series.

Balance Pic

So now I ask you, what is it that you want and how bad do you want it? And, more importantly, what are you going to do about it? I hope your answer is to make time for your passion and to follow your dreams… and don’t forget to keep everything in balance! I know that will be my focus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Authors – 4 Different Pitches

Meeting Pixabay

Recently, the Muse Crew attended a writer’s conference during which four of the members pitched to attending agents. This was a first time experience for each of us, and even though we each write in different genres, the feedback I received from each member had common threads. I thought others might be interested in our experiences, so I summarized my questions and the responses below:

  1. What type of genre is the story (or stories) you pitched?
    • L – Historical Fiction
    • M – Psychological Fiction
    • S – Literary Fiction
    • D – Fantasy Romance
  2. What type of genre was the agent looking for?
    • L – Various, including Historical Fiction.
    • M – Various, but thought my novel might fit better under Women’s Fiction.
    • S –  Various, stated that Literary Fiction was a “hard sell”
    • D – Fantasy, Romance, and stories with diversity.
  3. What was your “elevator” pitch, or one line “hook?”
    • L – Did not narrow pitch down to one line.
    • M – “What would you do if circumstances made you question reality as you know it?”
    • S – “Mordy is the world expert on a strange Amazonian language. When he goes to the jungle to study the language, he finds himself caught up in the indigenous resistance to the oil companies.”
    • D – “If fate gifted four unsuspecting women with the powers of the elements, earth, air, fire and water, how would it impact their lives and the lives of the men who love them?”
  4. What was the one question you felt was important to ask, and what was the response?
    • L – “What type of story are you looking for in Historical Fiction?” – Agent shared what she needed to take it to a publisher. The more I learned what she was looking for, the more I saw how my own story matched her needs. Once I shared this with her, she was much more interested in my story.
    • M – “If you’re not interested, can you recommend someone who would be?” – Agent agreed to pass on the submission to someone she thought might be interested.
    • S – Did not pose a question.
    • D – “If I have already self-published the first book of a series, would you be interested in my writing?” – Agent shared that while the story sounded like something she would be interested in, she was looking for something that hadn’t been previously published.
  5. Did the agent ask for a submission? If so, what was the outcome?
    •  L – Yes. Stated could be sent whenever it was ready, even if 6 months or a year from now.
    • M – Yes. Agent arranged to have it forwarded to others she thought might be interested. She stated she personally wasn’t in the market for novellas.
    • S – Yes. Submission was sent but was not picked up.
    • D – No. Stated she would not want to see already published work/series, but offered to look at my next piece of work should I chose to submit it.
  6. Was the overall experience positive?
    • L – Yes. It was positive to have a submission requested, and I feel like I understand the process better now.
    • M – “I highly recommend doing this! It forces you to practice describing your work in a concise way, it gives you an idea if your story ideas are interesting to those who market them, and after it’s done, you realize that you need to be able to describe all your works clearly, which in the end, helps you sell books!”
    • S – “Instructive, at least.”
    • D – Yes. The entire process was well worth participating in, even if the outcome was that only my next body of work would be considered. This also gave me a contact whom I have now met, that I can submit to in the future.  The process forced me to think about the core of my story in a simple and impactful way.
  7. Now having experienced your first pitch, what advice would you give a writer preparing for their first?
    • L – “Pitch to an agent in your genre. Research your genre to find out what is currently being sought after, then consider how your story matches. Think of it like a job interview – find out what they want, then share what you have to offer and how you can meet their needs.”
    • M – “Do your research and pitch to the right person for your book. Also, practice that pitch! Don’t wing it. Also, remember agents are people too. Know your book and pitch it in an interesting and concise way.”
    • S – “Keep in mind that they can’t really tell without seeing the work. I think agents misunderstood my genre, and that’s sort of my fault.”
    • D – Practice, practice, practice! Say your pitch until it flows from your tongue naturally and without thought. Also, check out the agents/editors ahead of time and research what they like to represent. Their websites will list what they are looking for and other authors they represent, which will give you an really good idea if you would be a good fit for them. If you have time prior to the pitch, download and read books by authors they partner with.
  8. Any comments or helpful suggestions?
    • L – “Consider what other popular authors in your genre, have a similar writing style to your own. Often agents will ask you about your favorite author or if your writing is similar to any well known author. Agents also like to know if you have published anything else, if you are working on anything else and whether your story is more plot driven or character driven. Be prepared to answer these questions.”
    • M – “Think about where your book would be in a bookstore. What authors would your book fit between (if it wasn’t alphabetical).
    • D – You have less than 15 minutes to shine, so put your best foot forward. Make sure your pitch nails the core of your story in a clear and concise way, and keep the tone conversational. An agent is someone that you are looking to partner with and ultimately you both have to have the same belief that your book is something special. Even if the answer is no, be prepared to ask questions so that you can learn from the experience.

If you are planning on pitching to an agent, the Muse Crew wishes you the best of luck! When you pitch – remember to breathe and have fun with it! And keep in mind, each experience brings you one step closer to your author goals, so be sure to get the most out of everything you do!

For more information on developing your pitch, check out one of my recent posts here.