Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Then the deadline got extended (maybe everyone was as swamped as I was). And when I didn't get Fairy Godfather finished in time to pitch it, I decided to take the $20 dollars I'd paid to pitch and split it between two entries for the contest. I knew I had the beginnings done, at any rate. I felt confident about "Fairy Godfather", entered in the middle grade/YA category, and not so confident about "The King Killer" in speculative/sci-fi/fantasy, but they were the best ones I had at the time, so I sent them in. And forgot about it. I wasn't going to win. Not a contest where I was competing against others.
The ANWA conference was the highlight of my year so far. So many great classes, hobnobbing with other writers, sitting with Nikki at the Mormon Mommy Writers table selling our "Totally Cliche'" books: I loved every second of it. It went way too fast.
Saturday lunch came and I honestly had forgotten about the contest until I noticed the announcing of it in the schedule. I started to get a little excited (Maybe I'd win!), but I also knew the caliber of the writers I'd be up against. Many of them published already. So when they started the announcing, I kept my anticipation down. I felt genuine gladness for the other women as they went up to accept their awards. I'd even forgotten what categories I'd entered, exactly, since they covered more than one genre.
They announced speculative fiction 2nd or 3rd, and my good friend Jennifer Griffith won 2nd place. (Yay! Go Jen!) I didn't place at all with "King Killer", but I couldn't remember what category it was in, so I had to look at the critique sheets I got back to remember which one I'd chosen and lost in. ;)
They went through all the rest of the categories, and YA/middle grade was last. I HAD remembered that "Fairy Godfather" was in this category. The tension built as they announced 3rd place. "DeAnn Huff, for 'Master of Emotion'!" And we clapped and cheered as she received her award and posed for a picture.
Now 2nd place. "Tanya Parker Mills for 'The School of Guardians'!" And we clapped and cheered as she walked up and took her award and smiled for the camera.
It was now or never. Had the judges hated my book? I wouldn't be surprised. I knew I should have looked it over again. Tweaked something. Maybe chucked it all together. If I go screaming from the room, will anybody notice?
"First place goes to Megan Oliphant for 'Fairy Godfather'!"
I WON!!! I squealed like a six year old on Christmas seeing her Cabbage Patch doll under the tree as I rushed up to take my turn to smile at the camera.
Through out the remainder of the conference, I would randomly lean over to the person next to me and say, "I won!" I had to keep saying it out loud because I didn't believe it. But here it is. I even have a picture of it to prove it.
So yeah. I don't entirely suck. Maybe I do have something of worth to offer. I'm feeling very Sally Field-ish right now. (I wasn't quite this effusive, however.)
Well, now that my motivation has reached an all time high, I think I'll go write some more. :)
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Yet I know that I have been blessed with a talent that I must not hide from the world. Do not get me wrong. I am not claiming to be brilliant and masterful. I think that is what has been the hardest part of acceptance for me. I do write, I can write, but I'm not brilliant. There are SO many other authors who can writer circles around me.
When I came across the article "If Your Talents come Incognito" by Anya Bateman I was very touched and enlightened.
I especially loved this paragraph:
Recognize that there are different levels of development. Too often we decide we don’t have a particular talent because that talent is not complete or perfect. We forget that a gift in its beginning stages is still a gift. I remember feeling disgusted at my early writing efforts after reading a well-crafted article. But a few years later, after I had developed my talent further, magazines began publishing my articles.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
First, some news to get out of the way. The Wild Queen, print version, is officially LIVE on Createspace! I now have two, tangible, full length novels out in the world. And I'm kind of surprised that I'm not freaking out. It's probably because TWQ has already been published as an ebook, and has been out since last May. I think I'll be singing a different tune in the next few months when The Tyrant King goes live in print and as an ebook.
Now on to other news.
Last Friday, for my anniversary, hubby and I went to dinner. But--because I'm an author--it wasn't just any romantic dinner date. We went to a restaurant specifically so I could do research for a book I'm writing. Forget flowers and jewelry. The best gift a girl can get after 16 yrs of marriage is a man so supportive of her dreams he'll do anything in his power to make it happen. Ya, he's a keeper.
And, because I'm a mommy, I also got to go see my daughter in her first play that night. Pretty dang awesome. I know she's just got a chorus part, and is only on stage when the whole cast is, but they put her in a bright yellow dress so she stands out--and I watched her over the main players the whole time. She. Did. Amazing. And to see her glowing face after that final curtain was priceless. Despite the work involved, she may definitely have the acting/performing bug.
Considering neither my husband nor I could remember the last time he's been off work on our actual anniversary, I'm going to say last Friday was the BEST anniversary EVER. Dinner (author style) and a play (starring--not really but you know what I mean--my daughter). Priceless.
Stay tuned for next Friday's post. I have a super-secret-writing-project I'm working on almost nonstop but I'm totally stumped on a title and I need HELP. Next week I will post my plea for help along with a synopsis to help your brains turn in the right direction.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
MAYBE I'M CRAZY...
In the real world, I live in a squishy main floor rental with my handsome husband, three angelic children, and a spunky very social little beta fish named Donkey Kong.
My husband is a student, I run a small dayhome, and we enjoy regular trips to the library where we max out the limit on our card every time.
I have an insatiable appetite for books, I have a difficult time doing the dishes without daydreaming about my latest writing project, and I wistfully sigh at the sight of my cement enclosed back yard, dreaming up schemes of how to make plants grow from concrete.
It may not be the dream life I mentioned earlier, but you know what? I'm still happy.
Mabye I'm crazy, or maybe I'm just Mandi.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
What we also have to know is that those things don't come easily, or immediately. Sometimes they sneak in the back door and we don't realize that we have them until years later. Just recently, as we've slowly been going through boxes of stuff that have been boxed for years, my husband and I came across a list we'd made about 10 years ago, give or take. On this list were things that we needed or wanted. Things like a new washer and dryer. A home of our own. A new TV. Tangible things that we needed or wanted.
It surprised me to find that during those years, all of those "goals" had been achieved. None of them at the time I would have chosen, and none of them without sacrifice. But we had all those things. Even the new TV. :)
So I've learned the power of the positive, forward moving statement in writing in life. And so when I wrote THIS post, I knew that it would be a good thing for me to do, to yell out to the universe what my intentions were. And they were to get Fairy Godfather written so I could pitch it during the conference.
What I have to remember, however, is that these gifts from the heavens don't come free. There is a price for everyone of them. Especially when it's a personal goal, the Lord seems to say, "I can see that right now you really want this. It's important to you at this moment. But you need to be 100% sure it's what you really want, so I'm going to give you several trials. I'll help you know for sure that it's what you want before I give it to you."
So as soon as I said I wanted to have this book finished, all kinds of things happened. It's been challenging, trying to regain my equilibrium, but now that conference is around the corner, I have to share that I did not finish. But I have to be okay with that, and know that even though it was my timetable, it wasn't the Lord's timetable. It doesn't mean that I won't be finished eventually, but at a pace more conducive to reality.
So I withdrew from the pitch, but entered the Beginning Of Book contest (BOB) instead. I at least had a beginning I could share. :)
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
the moment a single man contemplates it,
bearing within him the image of a cathedral."
Antoine De Saint-Exupery
French Author, Aviator
While in the state of weeping a fox approaches. The prince wishes for companionship in the fox, but the fox says he must be tamed. The prince succeeds in taming the fox, and according to the fox; "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." The wise fox also explains to the prince that his rose really is unique and special, because he loves her and has tamed her.
There is other insightful messages the prince learns and shares along his journey. But today I have been thinking about the rose loved by the prince.
There are many stories out there. The world is flooded by them. This does not make them common or unneeded. We are writers because we are taming our stories. They are unique and they are loved. You are responsible for the talent with which you have been blessed. Use it wisely. Craft your stories and share them. Where one may see a rock and walk by, you may craft a cathedral.
Monday, February 20, 2012
So, as you all know, I got my first rejection this month. That rejection inspired this post, which in turn inspired something I'm calling Manuscript in Motion Mondays. Read on and I'll explain.
I read this quotation the other day and I thought, “That’s a good question. What would I do if I knew I could not fail?” The answer was obvious: I would be a published author.
Then I thought, “Well how do I know I will fail unless I try?” and “Why can’t I be a published author?” The answer?
Yep. That’s why.
Writing and getting published is hard. It’s time-consuming. It’s not always fun. Sometimes it downright sucks. (Can I say ‘sucks’ on here? Well, I am ‘cause it does.)
Which is the reason this is so true:
I firmly believe that the biggest thing standing between me and my dream of becoming a published author is myself.
After contemplating these quotations this week, I decided I needed to do this:
What does that mean for me? It means I need to stop acting like a stay-at-home mom who has a pipe dream of someday becoming a published author and start living the life of a published author and doing the things published authors do.
What do published authors do? They write! Consistently. Not just think about writing, not just daydream about seeing their future bestsellers on bookshelves but they roll up their sleeves, put on those overalls and get to work. Turns out I can’t be a published author unless I write a book first. Duh, right?
Which brings me to Manuscript in Motion Mondays. If you're like most want-to-be-published writers, you have at least one manuscript, maybe the beginnings of more, and they're lurking on your computer. You know they're there, but maybe you've pushed them aside, convinced you don't have the time/talent/patience/etc. to finish them.
Recently, my WIP, a YA novel, had become something of a monster under my bed. I had pushed it aside, and the longer I stayed away from it, the scarier it became (I don’t look good in overalls). I had convinced myself that I couldn’t work on it anymore because it was too hard. Big, scary monster under there. Yikes. Well, this week I took a big deep breath and put on my brave face and crawled under the bed in search of that monster.
Turns out he wasn’t so scary. He was like a cute little furry guy. In fact, I took him out and gave him a little hug. I realized my WIP was just fine- the problem was ME! I jumped right back in and started clicking away and pounded out another 1000 words in less than an hour (during my son’s gymnastics class, actually).
It felt AMAZING! I felt like an author, overalls and all. I think it's time we all became friends with our little monster manuscripts, and so I am creating Manuscript in Motion Mondays!
Here's the deal: Each week we're going to have something of a writers group therapy session here at Mormon Mommy Writers.
- Each Monday I will post a topic of conversation or a writing challenge, and you, as readers and fellow authors and bloggers can write your own post about it on your own blog.
- Then, come back here and grab a button from the top of the right sidebar. Copy and paste the html code into the html for your post so your readers will know you're participating in Manuscript in Motion @ Mormon Mommy Writers.
- Come back here and add a link to your post using our Mr. Linky tool so that we and the others participating can check out your Manuscript in Motion Mondays post on your blog.
- Each week I will read through the links and choose one participant whose post was particularly inspiring, funny, insightful or interesting and share all or part of their post in my Manuscript in Motion Mondays post the following week.
Fun, right? I think so! This is also a great way to get your blog out there- all of our readers will see your link and you may get some new followers out of the deal (I know I always do when I participate in blog parties with my Beautiful Thrifty Life blog).
So, now that this post is in itself nearly the length of a manuscript, here's your challenge for this week:
Take out your little monster under the bed- that manuscript that you keep seeing on your computer whenever you're looking for other files and you keep thinking you should get back to but the very thought of it makes you cringe- and pull it out. Write a sentence. Edit a sentence. Do SOMETHING with it! Then write a post about it- how it felt to work on it again, share an excerpt, brag about your word count, whatever! Just drag that little monster out and tell us about it.
*Note: I used a link to my other blog as a test for this post and now I don't know how to get rid of it. Just ignore that. ;-)
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Please join me in a HUGE welcome to Lisa Mangum, editor at Deseret Book!
Ally’s book stood out to me because the voices of her characters were strong and individual, and I immediately fell in love with her writing style. Jason’s book stood out because it so perfectly captured the spirit of Christmas in an original way; the fact that it had a built-in marketing hook (book + Christmas Jar=the perfect gift) was an added bonus. Kay Lynn’s book stood out because when she sent it in, the manuscript was 600 pages—and after I read all 600 pages I realized there was an amazing 300 page book inside it. She cut it in half, we said yes, and the book spent four months on the Deseret Book bestseller list.
Thanks Lisa! I find that I can now think the word "query" without the immediate onset of heart palpitations.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
This was a real book. And by real, I mean the characters lived and breathed, and now occupy a home in me. And Smithport is as much a character as the quirky but well rounded people who live there when Jennifer, against her mother's wishes, goes to visit.
I would tell you what happens when she gets there, but then that would ruin the beautiful pacing of this book. The book begins with the revealing of her mother's secret, and as Jennifer continues to spend time in Smithport, she discovers that everyone has secrets, even herself, that take time and trust to reveal as everyone learns to spread their wings and soar, if only for a moment.
This was a lovely book, one that will remain with me for a while. My only quibble, and it's a small one, is that I had wished that there had been more of her interactions with her mother before the discovery of the photo. It made the character of her mother less sympathetic, and I wanted to love her as much as everyone else apparently did.
"On Little Wings" is available at Amazon, both in Kindle and paperback. Go check it out...it's just an amazing journey.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
"The relationship between husband and wife is the linchpin in the whole family relationship." - James E Faust
Monday, February 13, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
FYI...Perilous is FREE on Kindle for a limited time. Get your copy now because this great offer is only good until Monday!!!
Hmmm...well...I've become less confident? LOL.
Friday, February 10, 2012
As hind sight is 20/20, I'll admit the "universe" had given me some clues this would happen. Since I've been mentally preparing my back up plan for months I really feel at peace with their decision. They are a company and, ultimately, in the business of making money. Decisions have to be made. Some have to be "yes" while others have to be "no."
There's rather a cruel review of The Peasant Queen on Goodreads where the person says my book is proof that Cedar Fort will publish anyone and everything.
Apparently not. :)
After receiving the email yesterday, I sort of had to breathe for a minute or two. I won't deny I was kinda hoping for a yes. But, as the day wore on and I started realizing what this really means, I got excited.
I'm self publishing The Tyrant King. It's still going to have a professional cover, professional edit, and a professional interior design. But *I* get the final say. On everything.
It's sort of freaking me out that I get so excited by rejection. I mean I was literally dancing in my house. Skipping. You're probably glad you missed it.
Of course, it didn't take long for the rest of the mantle to settle on my shoulders. Everything is up to me. Advertising, promotion, trying to get it into bookstores. Everything. Oh, carp. And, the same will go for the final book, The Lost Princess, which I plan to publish next year. So, ya, I panicked a little bit.
Ultimately, though, I'm incredibly at peace with this decision. Research and the experience of other authors has shown no publisher picks up a series in the middle. It won't do any good to try and push TTK around to other publishers. This is the best decision for this series. And it hardly means I'm now going to self publish all my works. I'm still looking for that balance.
And, right this minute, I'm more excited than scared. :)
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Now, I am going to try to answer the questions about self publishing that were asked.
1. What are some of the major differences between e-book and printed book formatting?
There are a few differences. For e-books, the formatting has to be as basic as possible because each type of digital format your e-book gets distributed through will have differences. Plus in e-books, the reader can pick their own font so the font you use is just a basic one. For e-books, you have to take out every formatting thing except spaces. Plus, page numbers are fluid. You can read a e-book and say to yourself, this story starts on page 5, then when you come back to it the next day the story starts on page 10. So simple is the key with e-book formatting. Printed book formatting gives you a little more room to be creative, but it also comes with alot more choices. Everything you do for the print will be printed that way exactly! So you have to choose what font and size you want on the title page, do you want a picture on the title page? What font and sizes do you want on the copyright page? What about the table of contents? What page does each chapter start on?
When I first did the print version I ordered a proof copy and realized that the font I chose for the title page and the chapter headings looked good on the computer but lacked something in print. I made some changes then liked it much more.
2. How long does it take to publish a book? What is the process?
How long it takes depends on you for the most part. Let's say your book is finished and been edited by everybody you could nail down. You're ready to publish. I'm going use Createspace as the example because that is what I used. First you make an account on Createspace which is free to do. Then you give the title information, including a summary of the book. Next you pick which kind of ISBN number you want. I picked the free one. Then you load the text or interior of your book. they will run it through their process then you will get a document that you can open in your software, that will have everything set up the way it will look in the book. That is the document you get page numbers from and check chapter breaks, etc. Then after you've made all the changes you want, you upload it again. Next you upload your cover. I'm afraid I'm not much help with this portion. Jenni James did the front cover for us, and my hubby had to figure out how to do the rest for me. Next, you review your files and make sure they were approved through Createspace. (They will try to let you know of any potential problems they see.) That part usually takes 24 hrs if I remember right. After everything has been approved, you order your proof copy. It does cost a little but this is a very important step! Then you pick the channels in which you want to sell your book. Some channels require you join their pro plan for $39. It also enables you to make more profit on the other channels. I ordered two proof copies in all before I felt it was ready to get out there. The proof copies take about 1-2 weeks to get to you. So it depends on how many proof copies you feel you need to get it the way you want it. It took me over a month to make the print copy happen. But I've been very busy and didn't have a lot of time to spend on it like I would have liked.
There you have it! All the mysteries of the universe have now been revealed to you! Ok well maybe just my universe! I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. This was fun!
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
I feel bad for my struggling marriages to my other Works in Progress. While this new love is still fresh, new, with no insurmountable flaws, my other marriages languish.
I have so many projects that have reached the murky part of marriage where the kids are young, I'm tired all the time, and just facing the day can seem beyond my capabilities. The house is messy, the meals are just barely nutritious, and yet my WIP wives call for me from their separate homes in my head. Sometimes in whispers, or whimpers, or screams.
I try to tend to them all, hoping that someday they'll somehow resolve themselves, their plots unwind, the corners of their psyches revealed in the sudden illumination of the miraculous words: THE END. And all without too much work on my part.
Finally I can't take their nagging any more and have to take a break. I take a walk. I find the club where all the sexy new ideas hang out. I think, "I'm just going to peek. Just a little. It won't hurt to see what else is out there."
And then it happens again. I see that little story idea, or a character peeps at me through her lashes and I fall hard. I am putty in their hands. And after a whirlwind courtship, I am married. Again. And before I know it, another corner of my brain has a house and a fence and a pregnant work in progress begging me to just FINISH the dang thing so she can have this baby. I won't tell you how long some of these WIP wives have been pregnant. It's indecent. And embarrassing.
I know that eventually all these WIPs will give birth. They may be barefoot and pregnant for a decade, but eventually, they will share our efforts with the world. Maybe. If I can stop letting myself be tempted by the easy bride.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Just this Saturday while I hung around cyber space, I found myself stumbling upon The Writer's Dojo. They were hosting an Online Writer's conference. If I had known about it beforehand I would have let all of you know. I learned a lot and came away all riled up and ready to dive into my writing.
Luckily, for those who were not as fortunate to stumble upon the Dojo before or during the conference, you can still benifit from all of the wonderful knowledge that was presented.
If you were one of the ladies looking for a query critique, from Elana Johnson in our January giveaways and you would still like some advice, go visit the session held with her. She maps out her querying genius for everyone.
Or if you have always wanted to analyze JK Rowling's Harry Potter, for its writing merits, visit S.P. Spinal's session.
I was able to shove so much information in my brain that it really looked like an episode of hoarders inside my head.
Hop on over and shove as much info into your head too!!!
Monday, February 6, 2012
- Tap into Spiritual Power- read your scriptures, say your prayers. You don’t know what His plan for you is unless you’re communicating with Him.
- Stay True to the Direction You Receive- ignore the naysayers. This is between you and God.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Act- You might make mistakes, but that’s okay. Find joy in the journey. Keep moving forward.
- Stand by Your Post- Be patient and wait on the Lord. Keep true to what you know, and don’t abandon your post. Stand steadfast and the Lord will make all things work out for your good. (Translation for writers: Keep writing, and the world of publishing takes FOREVER. Don't give up.)