May 26, 2010

Hump Day

There are only two things that happened today that are really noteworthy. Okay, maybe three.

First, I removed stitches from a patient today. It is really not as exciting as it sounds, but it was my first time on a real human so I was pretty jazzed about it. The only problem I had was that the sterilized scissors and tongs were built for a right-handed person so they were difficult for me to use. It may sound foolish, but really it makes things difficult. The scissors have a pointed side and a hook-like side, so it really matters what side if facing up and what side if facing down.

Second, I joined weight watchers. I get 25 points a day. Seriously weight watchers, no wonder people lose weight. I might as well be anorexic. 25 isn't enough for a bird. I used 42 today and I am still hungry and thought I had a good day. Oh well. Today has been a steep learning curve. My husband, who is about 60 pounds heavier than me, used 15. Goodie for him. He gets about 35 points a day, so it's too bad he couldn't give me some of his.

Third, I got my first critique back from one of my critique partners and she seemed to like it. She had lots of great suggestions and I am feeling pretty fortunate to have met her at Pennwriters. We had another girl in our group but she had to bow out so she could concentrate on finishing her book. She wanted to get to the end before she began critiquing the beginning. Totally understandable. I have another critique partner but I am waiting on her first submission. This partner also writes YA and we have similar tastes in books so I am looking forward to reading her material.

Other than these things, not much else to say. I am helping with immunization parade tomorrow as well as wart parade. Oh, in case you don't know, our military likes to tag 'parade' on to a lot of things. It basically means, 'anyone welcome to come without an appointment at specified times.' So, basically, not as fun as it sounds.

May 24, 2010

The Long Weekend

I'm back at work tomorrow, and I can't get my ass in gear. One of the lovely things about being in the military is that my shoes have to be polished and my uniform lint-free and spectacularly ironed. So, I can't just haul my ass out of bed and throw on what's clean like I do when I'm in school. Getting my uniform ready at night takes me a good hour.

I had a productive weekend, writing the first couple thousand pages of a new story that's taken root in my brain, and editing three chapters for my requested full. I have decided on a name too; it is now called 'Sip the Magic.' Originally, it was called 'Five Islands' and then briefly, 'Fairy Blood,' which was the title I pitched and received several eye rolls for. Oh well. You can't win 'em all. Feel free to blast the new title if you think it's worse than the last.

May 18, 2010

Back in Nova Scotia

Home again. My house is a mess, I have about 22 chapters to review and revise and someone stole my flip flops from the front compartment of my luggage. Who steals used Flip Flops? They were Columbia Flip Flops and expensive, but still. Gross.

My goal is to have my book ready to send to the agent that requested my full by June 15th. I was told by a couple of authors at the conference that waiting a month to revise would be an acceptable timeframe to wait before submitting.

Now, before I attack my jungle house, I just wanted to give you the names of a few authors you should check out, partly because they're good and partly because they are awesome, helpful and encouraging: Cyn Balog, CJ Lyons, and Maria Snyder. Also, the most approachable agents that I met this weekend that I should be so lucky to have represent me: Janet Reid and Jenny Bent. They are now my top two agents.

And now, for the amazon...If I don't blog again it's because I was eaten by a wild animal or poisoned by leftovers sitting on the counter.

May 16, 2010

The End of Penn

Yesterday was both a good and a bad day. I found the courage to anonymously submit my query for critique by a panel of agents. So, in front of my peers, it was read allowed. They stopped reading the query before it was even finished so this should tell you something.

It sucked. They said it was stiff and didn't reveal my character's motivations or enough of the plot. Fantastic.

I had a pitch appointment later that day with one of the agents on that panel and was feeling pretty crappy about it since she had already made her opinion known. Since I was her last appointment for the day, I asked her if she wanted to skip meeting me so she could leave early since she'd already rejected my query, but she said no, that we could meet and talk.

I met with her a couple of hours later and she asked for a written copy of my query and the first couple pages of my novel. I gave them to her and then we started chatting about my book. In my book, I don't tell the reader why the protagonist is kidnapped until much later in the book because I wanted to add some suspense. In reality, failing to write this in my query left my antagonists without motivation. I realized it was essential to include it in my query, especially since she seemed to like the hidden motivation for the plot.

So, here's the good news. She asked me to change my title and my query (didn't like either) and resubmit it to her, along with--dun dun dun da--my full ms. I am going to frame the little piece of paper she wrote her email address and instructions on. So, now I am tweaking and re-tweaking before resending. I am going to take all the information that I learned this weekend about plot, dialogue, showing v. telling, etc, and try to make my ms the best ms I can possibly make and then attach it to an email and send. Oh, and wait with crossed fingers hoping that she bites.

May 14, 2010

Day 1 at Pennwriters

I'm in Amish country!

Day one of the Pennwriters Conference is mostly over; I have a group dinner with James Rollins this evening which I'm looking forward to, followed by a Sci Fi/Fantasy read and critique which I am moderating. Go me! Hopefully, I don't make too big of an idiot of myself like I did this afternoon--whole other story.

So we're in this workshop and an editor is talking about the Sci Fi/Fantasy market right now. We start talking about the 'next big thing' and venture into zombie territory. Someone mentions Pride & Prejudice and Zombies--which for the record I hated because P & P is a classic and one of my favourite books and don't think people should be messing with it. Foot-in-mouth-me says that I thought it was horrible. Low and Behold this particular editor's publishing house is publishing the graphic novel. Oh, and did I mention I am moderating this editor's critique session this evening? I need to learn to stop talking.

By far the best session I had today was 'Pitch Perfect' with CJ Lyons. It was in this session that I started really thinking about my query letter and ways to create more interest in the agents that read it. CJ was also kind enough to meet with a few of us afterwards and listen to our pitches and offer suggestions. So, here you have it, is 25 words or less, my pitch:

A kidnapped girl falls for one of her captors, who also happens to be a giant.

At some point, I am going to post the first chapter of my book and invite all of you to read and comment. I like brutal honesty, so don't be shy. The more brutal, the better.

May 07, 2010


So back to Charlaine Harris's Dead in the Family...

Although it wasn't one of my favourite books in the series, I still really enjoyed it. My main beef with this book was that I was hoping that the focus would be on Sookie and Eric's relationship, and although this was one of the major subplots in the book, it really wasn't enough of a a focus to satisfy me. You can only leave your readers hanging so long before they start to get a little annoyed. Will I buy the next book? Abso-freakin-lutely. So maybe, she kept me hanging just enough.

On life and writing...

One week until the Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster, PA! I have a pitch session scheduled with Jenny Bent from The Bent Agency, the only problem with this is that she has since rejected my manuscript with a form rejection so I have no idea what to do with my ten minutes. I have another manuscript almost finished that I could pitch, but it is no where near polished enough to query. Or, I could pitch the same manuscript in person and see if she bites. Perhaps it's my query letter that sucks and pitching in person might help me get past this. Who knows? I just really don't want to waste her time. Anyway, lots of time to think about strategy. My main goal for the conference is to network and perhaps find a writing group to belong to, and above all else, learn something so that I can improve upon my writing.

May 04, 2010

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

So excited! I've been waiting for this book for months. I'm fifty pages in and looking forward to tucking my kids in so I can continue reading. I just want lots and lots of Eric and so far so good. I'll give you a full report when I've finished, which should be this evening. The books in the Sookie Stackhouse series are some of the few books that I will read into the wee hours of the morning because I refuse to put them down. If you've already made your way through it, no spoiler comments!!!