| || |Ah, yes. I have such fond memories of the moment this photo was taken. Here I am in Cochrane, Alberta, with Über- agent Donald Maass of the Donald Maass Literary Agency and my author friend, Annette Bower. I made the twelve hour round-trip trek to attend a day-long workshop by Mr. Maass, hosted by the Calgary Association of RWA. It's not every day a literary agent of this calibre is anywhere near Saskatchewan, certainly not within driving distance. So when this opportunity came up, I didn't hesitate to register. I'm glad I didn't. Donald Maass was an amazing speaker who knows the book biz inside and out, and has unique insights into the market of novels and those who buy them. Mr. Maass made reference to his new release, Writing 21st Century Fiction, where the thrust of his advice and guidance is for genre writers and literary writers to open up and learn something from one another. The genre writers can learn the techniques of literary writers to master "beautiful writing" and literary writers can benefit from genre writer's understanding of plot and story. He went on to provide writing prompts where we were encouraged to add tension and an element of the unexpected in our manuscripts.
A major highlight for me was when he asked for a volunteer to offer up their manuscript for critique. I nearly jumped onto the table and fell into my coffee cup to hand him mine. The exercise was to magnify the "micro-tension" of our exposition. Mr. Maass read my narrative and asked workshop participants to offer suggestions.
Here is the before version of my manuscript:
For the second time in the past forty-eight hours, I thought of leaving town. An ache filled my chest when I thought of Adriana, and what Marcus would do to her if I wasn’t here to protect her. Leaving wasn’t an option at this point. I’d rather have my nails torn out from their nail beds, one by one, than put Adriana in harms’ way.
And here is the after version, with Mr. Maass's suggestions:
I spun my keys on my finger, over and over as I walked to the car. I hopped in and fired up the engine. It would take less than ten minutes to be out of here, all of these problems behind me. Then I thought of Adriana, and what Marcus would do if I was gone. I turned the car off and got out.
Wow. Powerful, right? Fewer words but so much more poignant. This is a fabulous example of the art of showing not telling.
With a new-found exuberance to polish up The Eve Genome and utilize all of the fabulous tools I learned at the workshop, I've attacked my manuscript with bat-shit maniacal zeal. I'm hoping to have the revisions complete and ready for my beta readers by the end of June.
So, what do you think? Do you think the after version is as amazing as I do? Have you ever gone to a workshop and left feeling like an rabid Twilight fan? Feel free to share, I'd love to hear!
It hasn’t been an easy, making the decision to change genres, but The Eve Genome
just wasn’t working out as New Adult. So I ploughed ahead and modified it to Young Adult.
What wasn’t working, you might wonder? The first issue was word count. After editing, re-working and re-writing, I ended up cutting roughly 25,000 words. That is A LOT of words! Fortunately, the story was much tighter, the prose stronger and the pacing razer-sharp. Unfortunately, the novel was only 63,000 words. Nowhere near the length I need it to be for an adult commercial fiction market. But guess what niche it does fit? Young adult.
The second reason for the decision was the overwhelming reaction by the agents I met in Chicago who wanted it to be young adult. I kept repeating “It’s new adult” and they kept harping “It should be
young adult.” I decided to open my mind and consider that maybe, perhaps, they might know what they are talking about.
It was easy enough. To be honest, when I began writing The Eve Genome
two years ago, it started out as young adult, eighteen-year-old's who were starting college. It later morphed into new adult when I wanted there to be more romance. But now that it’s finished, I realized the romance isn’t what I want highlighted. The story isn't a romance. There are romantic components, but it's not the main focus. So I took out some of the steam, and guess what? I think it’s better anyway.
On Friday I leave for Calgary, Alberta, where I will be participating in a workshop by literary agent Donald Maass
, put on by the Calgary Association of the RWA
. Of course, I’ll bring The Eve Genome
with me, just in case. You never know when you might get stuck in an elevator with a famous New York literary giant, right?
So, friends, bloggers, readers, will you still read my work if I hop genres and move to young adult? Will you still enjoy the worlds I build and the stories I spin, even if there’s less steam? I hope you will. Let me know what you think!
| || |I never know how much of my writing struggles I should share publicly for the world to see. The last thing I want is to sound whiny, self-absorbed, and negative. Especially since everything posted on the internet is there forever. Yet, I can't really present myself as Pollyanna, perpetually happy as I stare at poor sales stats or negative reviews.But the truth is, being a writer is a difficult journey, full of manic highs and crushing lows. I saw this image on Facebook the other day, posted by a friend and fellow writer, Jefferson Smith: This is so true. I don't know what the trigger was, that pivotal inciting event that caused it, but on Wednesday, I was going to quit writing. Walk away. Done. See ya later, don't-let-the door-hit-you-on-the-ass-on-your-way-out, quit.There were a number of factors that caused this all time low. I had just given one of my books to a friend, who gave it back the next day and said, "I can't read it. It's just not my genre." I was like, WHAT? You can't give it to a friend/neice/the mailman? You had to go to the effort of giving it back to me? I acted cool and collected, but the truth is, I was emotionally affected.The second major factor is the lukewarm reception I am getting with Silencing Breath. I worked super hard with book one to cultivate a readership, but so far, this has not helped with sales. I know it is still early in the game, but I am definitely disappointed in how this book is performing.So, on Wednesday morning on my commute to work, I thought out a plan. I didn't want to leave my readers high and dry, so I planned out the steps I needed to take to quit. I would finish book three so the Stealing Breath series would be wrapped up for readers. Next, I'd finish The Eve Genome and shelve it indefinitely. Then, I'd complete my blog tour for Silencing Breath. After that, I'd call it quits. Easy peasy.At some point during that commute I thought of a friend of mine. Nikki Shah, a fellow writer who loves my books, has given me fabulous reviews and has hosted me on a fan page she manages, had offered to give me an angel reading. Her name popped into my head, out of nowhere, and I made up my mind to contact her.To my surprise, she'd emailed me that very morning about a promotional spot on her fan page. I replied, and asked for the angel reading. When I got it back later that day, I was absolutely stunned. One of the two cards she'd pulled was the Angel Adriana. You are probably wondering, what the heck is so significant about that? Adriana is the name of my heroine in The Eve Genome. Are you spooked yet?Adriana's message: I am leading you toward the answer to your prayers. Please listen to and follow the steps I am communicating through your intuition, thoughts, and dreams. I'm listening now. Believe me, I'm listening.What is spookier still is the fact that something very similar has happened to me before. When I was doing research for the Stealing Breath series, I went to a psychic for a reading so my psychic scene could be more authentic (the scene was later cut). When I was there, she pulled four angel cards. One was the Indigo card.
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Again, you are wondering, why is this significant?
Because my heroine in Stealing Breath is an Indigo Child.
I don't know about you, but I'm inspired. I can't explain such phenomenon, and it is just too freaky to be a coincidence. So I'm choosing to believe that these cards were presented to me for a reason.
What's the reason?
I'm on the right path. I can't just quit and walk away. I was born to write.
What do you think? Coincidence? My mind reading into things, desperate to find a reason to keep writing? Or is it something far bigger? Have you ever had an otherworldly experience like this? If you have, I'd love to hear about it!
The Silencing Breath blog tour has officially begun! Not quite the same hoopla as having a blog tour company host it, but nevertheless, this self-planned book tour is going to be exciting, just the same.
Today, I had a lovely review of Silencing Breath from Tammy at her Books, Bones and Buffy blog: "sexy, disturbing, violent, and full of nail-biting tension."
Oh, man. Does it get any better than that?
I have a confession. I have a thing for superheroes. It started early on, when I had my very first crush on Superman (Christopher Reeve), after that, I've never been able to shake my love for the boys in tights.
Last night I watched The Dark Knight Rises
. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, since I'd heard bad things about Christian Bale and then the whole movie theatre thing... Well, anyway, guess what? I freaking LOVED it! Of course Christian Bale is my current fictional crush once again!
Right behind him is Stephen Amell, The Arrow.
I watched two episodes of the TV show on a flight from California last week, and I definitely want to see more. Stephen does a great job of this character - just the perfect mix of concern for others mixed with a need for revenge.
Then there is Iron Man
. Who doesn't love the most arrogant, cocky superhero of all? While Robert Downey Jr. isn't quite as pretty as say, Stephen Amell, he couldn't be more perfectly suited for this badass role.
How about Thor
? Not my first pick in a superhero, in fact, I hadn't heard about the character until the movie. But like the predictable flake I am, I instantly loved Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Who wouldn't? The man is built like a brick sh*t house!
And right back to my first love, Superman. Henry Cavill looks to be a very promising new Superman. The gorgeous looks, amazingly jacked physique and that straight-laced kind of persona, perfect for the Man of Steel
So there you have it. I love them all equally. What about you? Do you have a particular superhero you are particularly enamoured with?
Okay, I think I'm officially done fiddling with this book. With my updated cover, I wanted to also make sure the title was most suitable for the book. I realized it may have given the impression of vampires, so I added the subtitle, The Witch's Snare, to ensure a taste of what was inside. What do you think of the new subtitle? Do you think it will help entice a potential reader?
I've been doing some thinking about the cover art and title of Forest of the Forsaken, wondering if it looks too much like a young adult novel when in truth, it is more erotica than YA.
I became somewhat concerned about it the more I thought about it, because I realized the current cover could be somewhat misleading to a book buyer. I would like people to immediately know, by the cover and title alone, that this book is an adult novel. That way there will be no shocked or horrored surprises.
What do you think? Does the new title and cover better reflect the genre of the book?
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I've been meaning to do it for a while, and being shut-in for a snow day (on the second day of spring), I decided to put my short story, Gone
, up on Amazon
for .99 cents. I once again used PicMonkey for the cover art, and I've been very lucky with the fabulous royalty-free stock images I've been finding lately on Morguefile.
The Gone cover was inspired by the beautiful cover art by PhatpuppyArt
for Kami Garcia's
short story, Red Run
. Isn't it pretty?
Here's the blurb for Gone
On the summer solstice of her birthday, Litha’s attempt on her life rouses Sam, her wolf spirit, to appear in human form. Sam is, and always has been, the love of her life. The blissful connection between them is short-lived when Sam is torn from her fingertips moments later.
Litha searches for answers and learns the veil between the living and spirit realms are closest at the moment of death. There is only one way Litha will ever see Sam again.
Now Litha must decide: life without Sam, or risk death for a chance to be with Sam forever.
To purchase Gone, click here
One of these days I'm going to learn Photoshop. Because when I look at these images, I'm absolutely amazed by what can be done with photo editing. It started when an author friend of mine, Wendy Russo, found the Reincarnate book cover that has the same stock image as Silencing Breath. I could hardly believe how different the two book covers looked! I think in Reincarnate, the cover doesn't stray far from the original stock image. The colouring of the model's hair is brown, the landscape is neutral earth tones, and there is little in terms of colour. Compare it to my cover, where the model's hair has been changed to blonde, there is a completely different colour scheme to the background, and there is all kinds of highlights and special lighting effects. Brilliant!Today I came across this before and after of a pre-made cover by Amygdala Design, using a stock image of the same model that is featured in Silencing Breath and Reincarnate. Again, the colour palette is neutral, the hair light brown, the overall image very flat. Check out the second image, where a completely different background has been edited in, the girl's hair is nearly black, and the overall tone is a glowing, vivid blue. So pretty!
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You may already know I've tried my hand at cover art, with the self-made Beautiful Death
cover. This was made entirely with an online editor, Picmonkey
. If I could only be patient enough to sit down and learn Photoshop, there would be so many more possibilities!What do you think? Should I go for it and try my hand at Photoshop? Or should I stick to what I know and focus on writing?