Traveling Bookshelf!

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I can’t wait to go back to Texas!  <—-Words this Cali girl never thought she’d say.

Seriously. Growing up in California is like being raised in North Korea. We are taught that California is the BEST state. People born in other states are, well, unfortunate and sad. California is the most visited state in the union. Our economy is 4th in the word.

In. The. World.

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I’ll have some Sway Butter at the signing!

When a Californian ventures out to other areas of the country, we never plan to find anywhere close to being as cool as us.

This was my mindset. During the 90’s and early 2,000’s in San Francisco there was a HUGE insurgence of east coasters flocking to the west. The only reasonable explanation for this mass migration was clear. We rule.

In my mind and heart, there was not a single state that could hold a candle to Cali.

Then I went to Chicago.  In a lot of ways it reminded me of home. It was fall so the weather was good, but it wasn’t the “fly-over” state I assumed it would be. There was culture and shopping and a large body of water. I was impressed.

Chicago was okay in my book…until I went to New York.

Holy Shit.

NYC is like San Francisco on crack. Constant movement. Places to go. Food to eat. People to watch. Warm, muggy, dirty rain and trash filled streets. Broadway musicals, midnight pizza. New York was my soul mate.

Me, a california girl in love with New York city. What the fuck.

To date, NYC is still one of my top vacays ever.

Until fate brought me to Texas. Mother fucking Texas.

Flat land as far as the eye can see.

Good meat. Better Tequila. Really nice people.

It’s hot as hell. Not figuratively. Like literally.

Texas kind of rocks. It isn’t the night life or the food, or Bucee’s beaver nuggets.

It’s the people.

Texas people, the ones I’ve met, kind of rock.

They can drink, and sing. They have crazy accents and no appreciation for coconut milk, honey, or goat cheese. But I like them. Or as a Texan would say:

I appreciate you.

So, Texas; here I come.

 

Got Mine

I am so humbled by this review.

MI Book Reviews

“When his precocious daughter is accepted into a hipster private school – Theodore Sway sacrifices his ego, his morals, and his body hair so Lulu isn’t damned to a life of ramen noodles and broken dreams.

Theo takes a job at Trance; the city’s only women’s club, and soon becomes its star attraction. That still isn’t enough to pay his daughter’s tuition and the ever-rising cost of his San Francisco neighborhood. With the help of Rico, a fellow entertainer and part-time pimp; Theo earns extra cash through a series of hilarious side jobs.

Soon, Theo’s sexy stage persona becomes a liability and threatens his role as the world’s okayest dad. ”

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I got an ARC in return for an honest review on NetGalley.

Can we start on that cover. If that hunk is supposed to be Sway, no wonder all the ladies are going nuts for him. The detail of…

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New Release and Stuff…

It’s been awhile cause I’ve been busy doing busy writer shit.

That’s a joke…kind of.

New Release: I did finish the first novel in my next series. As per usual, it is nothing like I’ve written before. It’s a new adult sexy dad thing. Not quite a romance. Not really a comedy. Although the early reviews all seem to think it’s funny. I guess the public will decide. Check GOT MINE here.

Query Update:  I decided to send the manuscript that was kindly rejected, to an editor/proofreader. She is someone that has never read any of my work. I’m hoping that gives me a fresh perspective on my writing.  She came highly recommended and works with one of my fave writers.

Technically, she is beta reading. Beta reading is when someone reads your completed WIP and critiques the shit out of it. Beta readers don’t mess with spelling, grammar, punctuation. They get to the meat and bones of the story. In my case, I want to know the following:

  • Does the plot suck.
  • Are the characters likable.
  • Will the reader care?
  • Does it flow from scene to scene?
  • Does it need more romance, internal dialogue, story?

I won’t share who I’m using until the read is complete. Just so I can give an honest review of her work and how it has affected my work.

Fingers Crossed.

Book Signings:  Here is my lastest signing schedule. I’m hoping to add a few more. One in Seattle and on in San Francisco.   I’d love to meet up! (ticket info below)

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Authors in the OC: http://bit.ly/2tkEKvz
Traveling Bookshelf: http://bit.ly/2toSqWH
For the Love of Books NOLA: http://bit.ly/2tl0OGw
For the Love of Books Boston: http://bit.ly/2shMJd1
Book Bonanaza: On sale July 31st.
For the Love of Books Phoenix: http://bit.ly/2tp7Wlo

 

 

Query Quest 2017: Go? No go?

I’m sure all my readers are eager to know how my query quest is going. For those that don’t know what the hell is going on I’ll give a brief synopsis. <—- that’s a query joke.

In March I sent a query to an agent, cause that’s how you query. waiting

I waited 6 long weeks for her reply. (Six weeks is standard for query replies)

 

During that time I read my MS and realized it wasn’t really the best it could be so I sent it to someone else to read. She agreed. SO, I prepared myself for the standard boiler plate rejection.

To my surprise…..(drum roll)…. I didn’t get a standard rejection. I got a personalized one. As someone that’s received more than two dozen boiler plate rejections, I gotta say, the personalized one feels much better.

My next dilemma:  The agent asked if I would consider rewriting it as a YA book. If I do decided to rewrite, she said I can resend her the MS in six months.

What to do….What to do…..

Hello! I’m going to rewrite the mother fucker as a YA! It’s almost YA now. I was trying to force the NA tag on it cause I was trying to get away from YA. But maybe YA is my thing. I can write the hell out of some YA.

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So, after I get through the edits on The Lunam Deception (book 2 in the Lunam Series)
which is WAAAYYYY behind.

And I finalize the edits and release for Got Mine. I will sit down slice open a vein and rewrite Alee.

Stay tuned….

 

Query Quest 2017

I sent a query to an agent. I realized after I sent it that I didn’t mention anything about being self-published. It bothered me at first, but now it’s like, whatever. Does it really even matter? My first book bounces around in the top 100,000 on Kindle’s paid list. It’s better than the top 500,000, right? I wondered if my self-published success or failure would impact an agent’s desire to work with me.

After I sent the query I started stalking websites of other agents I might query. Here’s the thing. This agent’s literary agency only takes children’s books. Well, children’s, MG and YA. My book is more like new adult without high sex content. So, why did I query her?

  1. She asked me to.
  2. I have a solid excuse as to why she can’t represent me should she pass.

Excuses. Excuses. I need these to keep me from slipping into a hole filled with donuts and french fries. A hole that will take me hundreds of hours on the treadmill to dig out of.

On my quest to find other agents should this agent pass I realized something.

Not all published books do well.

Agencies liked to list books they represented. So, I looked up a few and found they have less reviews and lower ratings than indie books in the same genre.

I started thinking why am I torturing myself? Why do I stand in front of the class in my underwear. Landing a lit agent might not amount to anything. Why am I setting myself up to fail?

Because what if I don’t.

What if this agent loves this book and knows the right editor who happens to be looking for this style at this time. What if that publisher wants to buy my book?

I have to believe that every great accomplishment started with what if.

What if I build a computer?

What if we make these wheels round?

What if I add cream to this coffee?

What if I look back on this post and think, “What if I never sent that query?”

 

 

 

When Books Come to Life.

Like most book snobs of the early 21st century, I’m not a huge fan of books I love coming to life in the form of movies, television shows, or Lifetime Movie Specials. (eek) These days, people (cough, millennials, cough) need visuals. Instant gratification, meals prepped and sent to their homes. Millennials also like copycat movies, television shows, clothing. Taking something as sacred as book and stripping it of its soul in order to make it into something you can watch in 30-minute doses on your cell phone because you’re totes busy – sounds like a fucking horrible idea!

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I have a confession (hee hee); when I heard Colleen Hoover’s book Confess was turning into a show I was actually excited. I tied my high horse to a fence post and joined the hoedown. (Confession #2: I just googled the word hoedown, cause that just doesn’t look right.)

In addition to this book being well-written, funny, and romantic. It also contains seriously kick-ass art by Danny O’Connor.( DOC Art ) Do yourself a favor and look him up!  I have the print below hanging in my office.  It’s my favorite piece from the book.

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“I’ll love you forever, even when I can’t. “

In the last decade, there have been a lot of great books that turned into really good movies and a couple of decent TV shows. (Confession #3: I didn’t read Me Before You because I heard it was being made into a movie.)

Although we love the image of the book boyfriends we make up in our head; we sure spend a lot of time looking for shirtless models to match the fantasy. And when you hear about one of your all-time fave books being cast – you’re less than thrilled. Scared even. I was there for every second of the Twilight casting. It was brutal. Then you have the 50 Shades debacle. Is it Charlie Hunnam or isn’t it!!

In the case of Confess I have to say, they nailed it!

This is Owen Mason Gentry (OMG, yes OMG)

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This is Auburn.(no last name)

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And this is the famous OMG gnome.

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And this is the link to watch the trailer. OMFG!

Quest to Query 2017

Good news!  My query is done! Cost: $50

After a slight delay, I finally hooked up with my editor/query godmother. She asked me to send her what I had. I wasn’t sure what that meant. So, I sent her a bunch of random notes and jibberish. I sent her a big pile of crap. This editor had already edited the first draft of my book, so she had some insight. This was the starting off point.

First Draft: She sent a great letter back, it was clear and concise, but it was written for a different story. I forgot to tell her that I did a lot of rewrites since the original draft. Although her query was great, the story had changed.

You must have a clear understanding of what your book is about. If you don’t, you cannot write an effective query.

First Edit: I attempted to rewrite the query using her outline with the updated story facts. I pinpointed every god forsaken “big” moment in the book. Explained why things happened. Where things went. It was long. So long. I turned my query into a synopsis. Good news is, I know how to write a synopsis.

The query should consist of 2-3 paragraphs outlining major plot points. Do not include backstory or explain character relationships in detail. 

Second Draft: She sends back notes on the difference between a query and a synopsis.

A query is a brief explanation of your book. It does NOT disclose the ending. You want to hook the agent. Make him/her want to read your book.

A synopsis is an outline of your story, it can be 2-10 pages depending on the genre you write. (Fantasy requires more detailed explanation than romance.) It should disclose all major plot points, twists, and the ending. This is also an opportunity for agents to get a feel for your writing. Don’t take synopsis writing lightly!

Second Edit: I cut the synopsis down to just facts, no details, and made it a query again. A cliff notes version of the cliff notes version of the story. It’s the hook. The one line under the book at a bookstore. It’s the elevator pitch.

A query should answer the question every writer hates: What’s your book about? 

Final Draft:  She sent the letter back with a big “I love it!” She made no changes, it was just a matter of cleaning up typos etc… Which were many.

Please. Please. Edit your letter! If you have typos and grammar errors in a query, many agents will not even open your manuscript.

 

In the end, I probably wrote 90% of the letter myself, but I never would have gotten from point A to B without her help. I just needed a push or the comradery. The deadline. Volleying back and forth with her was worth every penny. It helped me put my thoughts in order and her knowledge of editing kept the letter clean and professional.

For most of us, writing is a solitary endeavor. Editing shouldn’t be.

 

This one time at a writing conference I stuck a pencil…

Today I want to talk about writing conferences. Two things to know before you go:  Are they worth the money? Will the information they provide help my writing?

Unfortunately, the only way to answer those questions is to go and find out for yourself. Everyone is different. This is just my opinion/review of the conference I attended.

San Francisco Writers’ Conference. Attended 2012, 2013, and 2014 – The first thing I will say is this. I initially loved this conference. The information I learned in 2012 and then in 2013 made me the writer I am today.

In 2012 I only took two a la carte classes. Cost: $99

  • One on how to query which is where I learned that I was a complete and total moron. I shudder to think of the query letters I sent to agents before I took this class.
  • Second class was with an NYT best-selling mystery writer. This 3-hour class taught me SO much. Story arcs, setting up plots, sub-plots, how to layout a story in general.

I left that class on a mission. A mission to complete my book and to attend next year’s conference.

In 2013 this is what the conference was about. Cost: $650 (plus $50 for the speed dating with agents)

  • Classes were geared towards basic writing methods, building your writing skills, figuring out how to tell your story.
  • I learned about POV, story structure, why backstory is bad, and the basic elements of fiction writing.
  • I sat in on panels with authors and agents speaking about the current market. The genres that were hot, what was not.
  • I was told that self-publishing was the kiss of death if you ever wanted to get an agent.
  • I went to a class on platform and building a social media presence. This was very helpful because I was clueless when it came to Twitter.
  • RL Stine spoke at the conference he was funny and so cool. And also very inspiring.
  • Bella Andre, a successful self-published author spoke about her experiences with being published and self-publishing. We were told she is the exception, not the rule.
  • At the keynote luncheon, a panel of agents sat on stage saying if you self-publish we won’t even open your manuscript. Unless – you sell 10,000 books.
  • I speed dated with agents. I pitched 6 agents. 5 of them asked me to query them.

I left this conferences with such a huge boost to my ego and a very positive outlook on my writing career. The conference takes place over President’s Day weekend which was also Valentines’ weekend. My husband and I had loads of fun and the hotel is beautiful. The next day I crashed my car. I spun out in the rain and hit a light pole, it fell on me and totaled my car. It was a very scary and humbling moment in my life. I felt like the universe was trying to tell me something. It turns out, I’m just a really bad driver.

In 2014 this is what the conference was about. Cost: $680

  • Classes on how to use Smashwords, in fact, they were a sponsor of the conference. They spoke about their website and how to use it to self-publish.
  • I attended a panel of self-published authors that said don’t listen to the agents in the other room. You can publish your book online and be successful without them!
  • I listened to a panel of agents and publishers say do not listen to those self-published authors. I guarantee you they are trying to get an agent at this conference.
  • Every other workshop I attended was just like the one I went to the year before.
  • At the keynote luncheon a panel of agents, most of the same ones from the previous year sat on stage and said – We’d love to work with you and help you decide if you should self-publish or traditionally publish. WTF?

I left this conference conflicted. I learned nothing new. Agents seemed to be turned on their head when it came to self-publishing. With the success of 50 Shades of Grey, indie authors were on the rise. During 2013-2014 indie authors like Colleen Hoover and Abbi Glines were signed to Atria Books (a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster the largest publishing house in America).

The only place you will find someone snubbing their nose at a successful self-published author today – is a room full of literary agents. Self-publishing makes their existence obsolete.

For the sake of this blog – I looked up the latest SF Writer’s Conference agenda. I didn’t find one class on actual writing. The majority of classes are focused on marketing, promotions, how to self-publishing, how to make money. Lots of classes on money, it’s all about the money. It’s almost embarrassing to read the agenda. They call it a writers conference, it should be called a “How to make money” conference. The registration is now $750!  The agent list hasn’t changed, it’s still 75% the same agents as the last 4 years. The keynote speakers are “best-selling” authors that I’ve never heard of. I looked up one of them, Heather Graham, some of her books have less Amazon reviews than mine!

My final thought on the San Francisco “Writer’s” Conference – SKIP IT! You will learn more googling than at this conference. Unless you’re all about the money, then I suggest you keep your $750 and invest it in a good editor!

One very important tip I want to pass on: At the conference, they really encouraged us to follow the agents we wanted to query on social media, specifically Twitter. So, I did. It didn’t take long to realize that I didn’t really like the agents I was so desperate to work with. They complained – a lot. Some were even writing their own novels in the genre that I was writing. (Hello, conflict of interest) A few just weren’t good people. I realized that I didn’t want someone like her to represent me or my work. She would be in charge of my future, and she was a cunt. This was the agent that all the other agents were like, “She will love your book.” Long story, short. I never queried her or any of the 5 agents that asked for my book. Nobody can represent me better than myself.

Spoiler Alert – I self-published it.

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