Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Writer’s Guilty Pleasures

     I wanted to write something cerebral, but it occurs to me April Fool’s Day is coming up and I’d like to have a little fun, perhaps at my own expense. I’ve included one of my favorite memes; just substitute Facebook for solitaire, and you have one of my guilty pleasures.

     Little do people know writers have the best sense of humor, it comes with the thick skin and drinking problems.(You don’t have one? Whoops, I’ll just tuck my afternoon glass of wine away for now….)

     This is my short list of guilty pleasures, interspersed with favorite links, some downright decadent.

Are there really writers who hate to kill of characters? Hm, it gives me a thrill. Does this mean I’m a deviant? Don’t answer that.

Wearing sweats/pajamas to work everyday. Yes, I said it.


Craft books and blogs about writing:

Anything by Donald Maass

Stephen King’s On Writing

Kristen Lamb’s blog

Joy Held’s Writer Wellness

I enjoy long afternoon naps. Okay, I like to dream about long afternoon naps. Stephen King does it. Why won’t anyone listen to my reasoning?

Reading books, watching movies and calling it research. Score!

First drafts. Remember to write this one for yourself and you’ll know what I mean about guilty pleasures. Yes, it’s work, but the dirty stuff comes later, let this one spew forth.

Community. This has to be my favorite. I love to meet other writers, talk craft, pick up knowledge here and there.

Procrastination. But I have learned that I’m at my best when I let an idea baste in its juices until my subconscious gleans everything it can. These are some great links for the Intrepid Procrastinator:

What are some of your guilty pleasures? I like to call them “creative rest”. Please share yours, and any fun or helpful links you love as well.


Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Need a little motivation or inspiration? I have some of that for you.

The universe speaks to me sometimes. Most of the time it’s exactly when I need it, and when it isn’t, I will probably need. Sometimes it’s hard truth and other times it’s encouragement, something I needed a lot of this week.

Every couple of months I go through a few ‘I hate my writing, I’m a failure, I suck, I want to die’ days. I’m sad, in a bad mood, and not interested in speaking to anybody because this very important thing to me is being mean and making me unhappy.  Some of you are familiar with this? I thought so. Usually this only lasts a day or two, three max, and I’m over it. This is what my week has been like. I’m not ashamed to admit it and I’ll own up to it. As you’re reading this post, I’m already over my pity party and back to writing. And I’m loving every minute of it. I see my story’s potential, I’m aware of what needs to be fix and what I need to change, and I can’t wait to get up tomorrow and work on it some more.

Since this site is all about motivation and inspiration, I thought I’d share with you guys one of the main things that get me out of that self-pitying slump better than anything. Something that the universe sent my way when I really needed it.

How many of you heard/read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s RWA keynote speech from last year? I posted it on my blog so that I would always have easy access to it. These things tend to get harder to find as the years go by and I wanted to make sure that I could read it without having to spend half an hour searching for it. If you don’t know who she is, even if you don’t read/write her genre, it doesn’t matter. This applies to every single writer.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re not good enough, you’ll never get published, and nobody believes in you, do yourself a favor and read it. NOW. Her speech is one of the reasons that I’m only depro about my own writing for a day or two. I almost feel ashamed when I’m in a slump.

This woman inspires me. It’s a simple as that. It has nothing to do with what she write, I’m a fan of that as well, but it is her sheer determination even with all the odds stacked against her, that motivates me to do better. Work harder. Put more effort into what I’m working on, and most of all, not complain when things get tough. Because things will get tough.  In fiction/television/life we’ve learned that things get difficult before they get better.

So brace yourself, this is a long speech, but I promise it’ll be worth your time.  Here’s a link to where I saved it as well, for incase you want to save if for a later read.

Sherrilyn Kenyon’s RWA Keynote Speech

You know, I often joke with my hubby that one day he’s going to come home and I’ll have #1 NYT bestselling author tattooed across my forehead.

I’m seriously not joking. It is the most miraculous and surreal thing imaginable to me. Kind of like when they handed my sons to me after they were born and actually let me leave the hospital with them. What? Are you people nuts? I don’t know what I’m doing with this. OMG, it’s leaking out both ends! Help!

I wish I could say publishing was easier than parenting, but it’s really not.

I spent many years attending writers conferences as both a published and unpublished writer, sitting at big round tables, wondering… well A) will I ever be published and B) what would it be like to have the honor of being a keynote speaker.

I have to say it seriously doesn’t suck… but it is very scary.

And as I sat down to think of what all of you might want or need to hear, it forced me to walk back through my life and my career. Something I honestly try not to do because well… I always say there are two things you never want to ask me about. Publishing and pregnancy because I’ll scare you off both.

But the theme of being a writer is stories. Everyone has one and so I wanted to share mine along with some unvarnished truths. We are all the heroes and heroines of our own lives. And as Kalil Gibran once wrote “Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all.” Of course, he’s also the man who said, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Anyone who’s been in publishing for five minutes knows the truth of this.

You can’t look at anyone and tell what they’ve been through. Ever. The deepest scars are never the ones that mark our skin. They are the ones that mar our souls. Unknown and unseen by everyone, but felt deeply by those of us who bear them and we can never fully escape their wrath.

Like the characters in our hearts, they whisper in our ears as a constant companion. They tell us we’re not good enough. Smart enough. Talented enough. That we don’t deserve our dream. That we’re stupid. Fat. Ugly. Those voices are the hardest thing to let go of. Twice as hard when critics and others, especially those who claim to be well meaning, give an exterior voice to them.

Other people say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. What they never talk about is finding the courage inside you to pursue a dream when it seems like even heaven itself has conspired to keep it from you. When obstacle after obstacle is not only thrown at you, but dropped on top of you with such force that you feel like Wile E. Coyote. But notice, Wile E. never once stopped pursuing the Road Runner. No matter how badly squashed he was, he always dusted himself off and kept going after his dream.

If you take only one thing away from this speech today, I want it to be a belief that you can achieve any and every dream you hold in your heart. That you have the power to be whatever is it you decide.

Your living isn’t determined by what life brings to you as it is by the attitude you bring to your life. It is hard to make lemonade out of lemons. No one knows this better than I do.

But you have to keep fighting.

One of the family stories we have is about my great grandfather who ended up in a fight with another man who pulled a knife out and stabbed him. He ended up with an infection and was told that he only had days to live while the other man was virtually unharmed. At sixty-three years old, he snarled at the doctor, “Ain’t no man gonna kill me and live to tell it.” So he got up and went to the man’s house to continue the brawl. This time, the man tried to shoot him and in the scuffle for the gun, my great grandfather killed him.

He went on after that to live another thirty-four years.

If that’s not tough, I don’t know what is.

As a girl, I was never allowed to complain about anything. You have to remember, my father was a drill sergeant who believed that no matter how hard you worked, you could always do better.

And that was my sympathetic parent.

My parents had one basic belief. The world will not take mercy on you. Your enemies will not take mercy on you and I will not be doing you any favors if *I* take mercy on you.

That was from my mother which tells you a lot about my childhood. I wish I could say it was happy, but it wasn’t. It was the kind of childhood people use to justify criminal behavior.

But that which does not kill us… serves as a motivational speech for others.

Every statistic I ever heard or read growing up said that I was destined to be a teen mother. A drug addict. Drop out. Most likely end up in jail at some point after having relationships with men who abused me. Some people brag that they were the first in their family to go to college. I’m one of only two in my family who graduated high school. As I said, you can’t look at anyone and know what they’ve been through.

One of many things no one can tell by looking at me now is that I grew up with one of the worst speech impediments imaginable and I had a thick Appalachian drawl.

I was so mocked for my accent and speech by others over the years that I learned not to talk to anyone. And my husband can verify this. In college, even when class participation counted for an entire letter grade, I refused to speak in class. So when I say I’m nervous about being up here, it’s on many levels.

In addition to not being able to stand up here and speak, I shouldn’t be able to read… never mind write a novel. I am severely dyslexic. So severe that it even manifests verbally, especially when I’m tired. Another thing I was relentlessly mocked for and called stupid over. The only reason I can read today is because my older brother took me aside when I was in first grade and said, “I’ve already got one ignorant sister, I ain’t having another. You gonna sit there, girl, until you’re literate.” And with a crumpled up Spiderman comic book, he taught me how to read.

I became a writer as a small child because it was how I coped with the trauma of my childhood. There is no worse feeling than to be completely at the mercy of others and to have no way out. For those of you in this room, and I know some of you are here, who know what I’m talking about, I am so sorry that you do. I wish I could make that better for you. But I made a vow to myself that if I could, by some miracle, make it out alive, I would never put myself back in that situation.

Oh but Fate was never going to make that vow easy on me.

I wrote because in fiction, I could eviscerate all the evil in my world. I couldn’t fight the real bullies and villains in my life, but I could slay them on paper. And I did.

I still do.                      

When I was five years old, before I could even read a book, and back when I was already drawing pictures to tell stories, I told my mother that when I grew up, I was going to be a New York Times bestselling author. My mother looked over at me with a mask of disbelief that I can see to this day and asked if I even knew what that was. “Nope. No idea. But it’s on the front of a lot of the books you read, so I figure it must be good and since I want to be a writer when I grow up, that’s the kind of writer I want to be.”

She laughed, and she by far was not last one to do so.

But the one thing my childhood and family taught me was to fight for what I wanted.

You never could say to my father that something was difficult. If you did, he always countered with, “Girl, you don’t know what hard is. You try taking two bullets in the chest. One in the leg and then belly crawl over the bodies of men you call friends to get to help while enemy bullets fly over your head. It’d have been far easier for me to lie down and die that day in a blood soaked field than it was to get to the medics who were pinned down by gunfire and save my life. You don’t wait for others to come help you. You take responsibility for yourself. Life ain’t never easy. It ain’t supposed to be. But you do what you have to do to survive it. So don’t you dare tell me how hard you think it is.”

That battle my father talked about… he was one of only ten in his unit who survived it and he was only nineteen years old.

I think about that a lot whenever I want to whine about something. As my mother always said, as bad as you think you have it, trust me there’s someone out there who would change places with you in a heartbeat. My mother at sixteen gave birth to a daughter with severe cerebral palsy. The doctors told her that my sister wouldn’t live to see age fifteen and that she’d never walk. It took my mother nine long hard years, but she taught her to walk. Trisha will turn sixty-one this year and she’s walking to this day.

Sometimes impossible just means you have to try harder.

Growing up, I wrote through all the arrows outrageous fortune shot at me and by no means was I ever spared. And I was lucky, I published my first piece in a local paper when I was in third grade. And I made my first professional sale at age fourteen. I used that money to buy a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine. I was on the school paper and yearbook staff. Anything I could do to be published, I would do. I guess the experts were right after all. I was a junkie, but my drug of choice was publishing.

Contrary to all the experts and odds, I made it to college where I was the editor for our school paper, and one of the three jobs I had to hold down to pay for it was as an editor for a small SF magazine. By then, I’d made numerous sales to national magazines. But do you want to know why I don’t have a degree in Creative Writing or Journalism?

They wouldn’t let me in the programs. I applied three times to the Creative Writing department and even though I was already published, the professor told me that I didn’t write well enough to be admitted. On the third try, she told me not to waste her time by applying anymore as the slots in her program were reserved for students who actually had futures as professional writers and that my writing… well, sucked. I couldn’t make it in Journalism because they had a typing requirement and my right hand is partially paralyzed. I can’t type on a regular typewriter so I couldn’t pass that test and they wouldn’t let me in even though I was an editor for the paper and a magazine.

While you may be able to measure a person’s aptitude or even their talent, what you can never measure is a person’s determination and their resilience. As my brother so often said it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, it’s about the size of the fight in the dog.

My personal motto is: over, under, around or through. There is always a way to get to what you’re trying to reach… just ask any toddler who wants a cookie from the top shelf. The only person who can stop me is me and I don’t think enough of myself most days to let me be much of an obstacle.

At 20, I’d decided that I was going to finally write a novel and submit it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d written dozens of novels by that point and I do mean dozens. But I was an editor so I knew they reeked. I spent what little free time I had writing the draft. During Christmas break, between my jobs, I diligently typed those pages on a typewriter that I’d borrowed from my older brother’s roommate.

I will never forget when my brother, who as a teenager with a driver’s license, had spent his entire summer teaching a six year old how to read, came to get the typewriter. “I know it’s going to be a winner, baby. I can’t wait to see it in print.”

He died a few days later. Out of everything that had happened to me in my life, that was the hardest blow. He’d been my only light in many a bleak darkness. Needless to say, I trunked that book. I couldn’t stand to look at it. I chucked all my writing. I crawled inside myself and to this day, a part of me died with him.

But fate wasn’t through with me. My husband who had been my boyfriend before my brother died returned to my life with a vengeance. I always three people saved my life and kept me sane.

My brother who will always be my hero. My best friend Kim who gave me a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and the Flower when we were thirteen. A book that gave me hope and showed me that a bad past didn’t have to define the rest of my life. God bless romance and Kathleen Woodiwiss. I shudder to think where I’d have ended up had Kim not introduced me to a genre that finally empowered me. That showed me I didn’t have to be a victim and that I could defy all odds. That even I could be loved by someone who would cherish me for who I was. Happy endings are possible even for those of us who don’t really believe in them.

And the last, is my husband who showed me that heroes aren’t just on paper. Real men are out there and they will stand by you and hold your hand through hell itself. And believe me, that poor man has been tested.

When I was moving in with him, he found my old notebooks with the manuscripts I’d written for years. He looked up at me and said, “I remember before we broke up that you were always writing something and plotting a new book or story. Why don’t you do that anymore?”

I couldn’t tell him then that after my brother’s death, I didn’t believe in dreams anymore and that I honestly expected him to abandon me at any moment like everyone else in my life had done or turn into a ferocious monster who abused and belittled me.

But that darn fate was still there and she wasn’t through with me.

Have I mentioned that I really hate that bitch?

Anyway, like most newlyweds, we struggled hard that first year and honestly many years after. But that first year, I couldn’t find a job even at McDonald’s. I’ve never felt more worthless, which given my past is saying something.

In my darkest hour, my best friend who happened to be an editor for a magazine did the most incredible thing of all. She offered me work. “Now I know you haven’t written in awhile, but if you’re willing to do it…”

Oh my God, are you serious? I can get paid and not take off my clothes? I’m so there.

I hung up and went to the closet where my husband kept his old typewriter. Then I sat down on the floor– we had no furniture in our apartment at that time- and the moment my fingers touched those keys the most amazing thing happened. Every character. Every voice I’d silenced on that cold winter night when my brother had died, came back with a screaming clarity. I had no choice but to write.

When my husband came home that night, he was horrified and I don’t blame him. He’d gone to work with a normal wife and come home to a stark raving lunatic. I was still sitting on the floor with tears streaming down my face and crumpled up pieces of paper all over.

“Um honey, are you okay?”

“Yes! I’m writing!”

In that moment, he saw his future and his nightmare. My husband has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. So to keep from killing me over the paper mess on the floor, he, who has never believed in using credit for anything, took me out that night and charged a word processor, rickety card table and a ten dollar steno chair that he set up in the living room of our two room apartment. It was there I wrote my first ten novels.

Contrary to what I wanted, they didn’t sell right away. But I joined RWA that year. I was finally going in the right direction again.

And I did what most of you have done. I entered contests and waited patiently by the phone, hoping some publisher somewhere would take pity on me. I wish I could say I’d finaled in the Golden Heart or Maggie or something, but I didn’t. As an unpublished writer, I only finaled and won one award and that was the Mara.

Those were long hard years. I always say that it’s easy to write a book when you have a contract. The hardest thing in the world is to write one when you don’t know if it’ll ever sell. At first, everyone’s excited for you. You’re writing a book- woohoo and then as time goes on and you don’t become Nicolas Sparks overnight, that support dries up. In fact, one of the last things my father said to me before he died was that I should spend the money I was wasting on writing to buy lottery tickets. At least with lottery you’d win once in awhile.

But then the miracle happened. On Feb 3rd, 1992, I got the call that every writer dreams about. Well okay, even that was backward. I’ve never done anything the way I was supposed to. Instead of the editor calling me, I called her to interview her for another magazine I was working for. She mentioned my mss and I quickly assured her. “I’m not calling about that.” I was terrified that she’d think I was harassing her.

“Oh, well I was going to call you later today about it. I want to buy it.”

I was stunned. Ironically that was the same book I’d typed on that Christmas break that my brother had been so sure would sell. And in the next year, I went on to sell a total of six books. When they came out, they hit bestseller lists and at my first signing, I sold through all of my books in under 45 minutes. They went so fast that the writer sitting next to me kept gaping and asking if I was someone famous. “Who are you?”

Like most writers would, I thought I had a career.

But keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final. As quickly as it came to me, it left. And that was hard. Harder still was the fact that most of my writing friends abandoned me too as if they were afraid that what I had was contagious and they might catch it if they stood too close.

And when it rains, it pours. I’ve noticed that whenever a writer has trouble in their career, they have it in their personal life, too. I was no exception. My father died just after my first book came out. My mother was diagnosed with the same cancer that had killed him. My son was born prematurely a few weeks later. I was told twice to pick out funeral clothes for my baby. And I remember standing in the NICU telling God he could take anything from me. My career, my house, my car, just don’t take my baby.

It was a bargain He accepted.

Because of the medical bills and the fact I’d lost my job due to the days I’d missed with him, we lost everything. I *was* homeless with an infant who had horrifying medical problems. While my husband was at work with our one and only car, my son and I would stay in the hospital waiting room, just in case, and because it was the one place you could stay for hours on end and no one thought anything about it.

When we were lucky enough to have a roof over our heads again, it was a roach infested apartment next door to drug dealers. I could not write this stuff, people. I wouldn’t do this to my worst villain. We’d sold everything we had except my 286 DOS computer with a whopping 24 MB hard drive that used a 5.5 inch floppy- this was 1997- I had that as my computer until 1999. The only reason we still had it was that no one would give us anything for it. We didn’t have cable TV. No internet. No phone. We couldn’t afford it. I’d managed to hold on to my RWA membership only because my family and friends would take up collections at Christmas and buy it for me.

Nietzsche said that hope is the worst of all evils for it prolongs the torment of man. At times, he’s right. And I was running out of hope. By 1998, it’d been over 4 years since I last sold a book. I’d tried every genre and every story I could think of. If a new line opened, buddy, I was there for it.

Desperate, I sat down and wrote the most marketable book of that time. A regency set historical romance. How could I lose? My critique partners at that time were NYT bestselling Regency historical authors. It had every element that had made numerous authors famous. My critique partners loved it. My agent thought it was one of the best books she’d ever read and she eagerly sent it out.

Then one by one, the rejections rolled in again. Until the day my agent sent the worst one of all. And if any of you ever get a worse one, dinner’s on me. That rejection? “No one at this publishing house will ever be interested in developing this author. Do not submit her work to us again.”

Yeah. It devastated me. But you know what? I am grateful to this day for that editor and for those words. ‘Cause I am Southern, y’all. The best way to fire me up is to try and kick me down. As my uncle Carlos so often said. We are Cherokee and we don’t run. Sometimes we want to. Sometimes we ought to. But we don’t run.

I decided right then and there that I would rather be a first-rate version of myself than a second-rate version of somebody else. If I was going to fail at this, I would do it on *my* terms and I’d do it writing the books *I* wanted to write. I have never since that day chased a marketing a trend and I never will.

So after I unpacked the 286 computer I’d packed up in the box and swore I’d never touch again, I started writing the book I wanted to write for the first time in years. Now I knew that thing wasn’t marketable. It was a pirate book set in 1791 and this is long before Pirates of the Carribean. I sent it to my critique partners who read me the riot act and I don’t blame them. They were right. No publisher had bought a pirate novel in years and even when they did none had been set in 1791. Was I out of my mind?

Well, of course I was. I’m a writer.

But that’s never stopped me before. I sent it on to my agent who promptly reiterated everything they’d said and that I knew. More than that, she told me that we’d had a good run but that it was time to go our separate ways. I don’t blame her. She was a great agent and she’d stood by me longer than most.

But without her, I had no way to submit. I couldn’t afford to. Plus, my supportive hubby had become burned out after almost a decade of a fizzled career. And he had every right. I’d wasted a lot of money chasing a dream that kept eluding me at best and at worst, kicking me in my teeth. How could I take another cent from my family for this stupid dream?

I was through.

Until one fateful day when I pulled the RWR out of my mailbox. In it was a market update with a name I knew. Laura Cifelli had been added to the HarperCollins staff and was looking for submissions. My heart started pounding. I knew Laura. She’d been an editor at Dell, and for two years had tried to buy one of my books but couldn’t sell the unusual Dark-Hunter idea to marketing.

But I’d promised my hubby that I wouldn’t waste anymore money. I debated and agonized and finally decided that I would give it one more shot and one more only. If Laura said no, I’d never, ever try again. So I sat down and wrote the most pathetic query letter you’ve ever seen. It actually started with, “You probably don’t remember me.” Laura had been my agent years back when I’d been selling and I was her first client. But I had no ego. I still don’t.

In that query, I pitched her two novels. The pirate book everyone had told me would never sell and the one she’d held on to for so long about a Greek general who’d been cursed into a book that I’d written in 1994 as an option book for Daemon’s Angel.

I’ll be honest, I actually stole a single stamp out of my husband’s wallet. I didn’t dare take two because I knew with his OCD, he’d know they were missing and he’d know exactly what I’d done with them. Not to mention, if it was a rejection, I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t think I could take another one.

Three days later, I was changing my baby’s diaper when my neighbor came running over. “There’s a call for you on my phone and it’s someone in New York.”

I think I had a small stroke as I handed my baby to June and ran to catch it. It was Laura. Since the paranormal market was completely dead and Laura knew Julian’s book was tied to a vampire series- something no one would touch back then, she passed on Julian’s story. But she wanted to see the pirate book. I was too afraid to even hope. Not to mention, I didn’t have the money to submit a partial.

But June was kind enough to offer to loan me the three dollars I needed. I worked on it all night long, after my hubby went to bed, and sent it off the next day with a lump in my throat.

Laura called back to offer me a three book contract. To this day, I’d throw myself under a bus for her. And that book with that pirate that I was told wouldn’t sell. Is still, thirteen years later, in print. For one twenty nine cent stamp, my entire life was forever changed. Sometimes our lives are defined not by the big decisions we make, but by the small chances we take.

And for the record, my husband forgave me for raiding his stamp and I did pay June back.

Laura did so much for me. She helped me to get a great agent who did an awesome job, but who didn’t want to handle the paranormal stuff. For one thing she’d never handled it before and for another, it still wasn’t selling. No one, other than Anne Rice, had hit a list with a vampire novel in over twenty years. She asked me why I wanted to write the same stuff I’d been writing when my career tanked.

But I believed in those Dark-Hunter books. And I finally wore my agent down after much begging. She began submitting them and again, over and over, rejection from every corner. Until Jennifer Enderlin at St. Martins saw it. When I heard Jen was willing to buy those first two books, I sat down and cried. There was no market for paranormal. No one was writing it then, no store wanted to carry it and everyone was convinced we wouldn’t sell more than ten copies.

Against all odds and expectations, ten months before Night Pleasures came out, it had an overall Amazon sales ranking of #6. I was the first writer to take a paranormal novel to number one on a major list. I was the first one to take a historical paranormal novel into the top ten of the New York Times and thanks to my wonderful, incredible fans, I have since placed more at number one than any other paranormal author currently writing. I am the first genre author to put an SFR novel at number once since Johanna Lindsey did it in 1993 and I put two of them there last year and they were books out of the first series I’d ever sold. The same series that tanked my career on the first go round.

That being said, I am also the first author in RT history to get a one star rating- they used to only go down to three stars. As my luck would have it, they dropped all the way down to a 1 the very month my first book was published. And in spite of the successes I mentioned, and having placed over 50 novels on the NYT with twenty percent of them being number ones, I have never received an RT career achievement award.

I’ve never once finaled for a Rita. The closest I came was an anthology I was in where every writer in it finaled, but me.

And I’m really okay with that.

I only bring it up to show that careers aren’t perfect.

I live my life by one principal. Do no harm.

Unfortunately, others don’t share that and in this industry, we come across them a lot. But don’t you dare let them win. Don’t let them hurt you or stop you from going after your dream. The one thing I learned from my family is that there are people out there who can never be happy for someone else. They’re only happy when they spread misery and attack others.

I could go on all day about writers who have tried to ruin me. I have been plagiarized, betrayed by people I thought were my friends, and very publicly ridiculed and attacked by some of the biggest writers in the business for no reason whatsoever.

Too many people think that the only way they can rise is to tear someone else down. But it doesn’t work that way. No publisher ever stopped buying an author because someone new came along. No reader stops reading an author because a new one is published. They stop reading an author when that author disappoints them. One person’s success has no bearing on anyone else’s except to say that a rising tide will float all boats. We have a paranormal genre today because a tiny handful of us carved it out when it didn’t exist. We proved it was viable and we opened the doors for many others and I am proud to be a part of that.

But unfortunately, no matter who you are or where you are in your career, someone is going to be jealous and they will attack you. They’re going to say hurtful and mean things to you and about you. But don’t despair. Just remember this old Japanese proverb. If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy float by.

My entire career has been built on the island of Long Shot. Believe me, no one is more stunned to see me standing here than I am. In fact, the first time I hit a major list, I was the one who called my editor to tell her. She actually didn’t believe me. And she was stunned that I wasn’t lying.

No, it’s not easy for any of us at any level. But you know why we do this?

We do this… well mostly because we’re insane. But we do it for those characters who live inside us. Only you can give them their voice. Only you can tell that story. Don’t let them down. They’re depending on you.

And we do this for all the readers out there who mean so much to us. Books saved my life. They gave me laughter when I needed it and they were my haven through many storms. And I want to pay that forward.

There is nothing more wondrous than having a reader tell you how much your story meant to them. If I could have one wish, it would be for all of you to have an easy rise straight to the top of the lists and to stay there until they engrave your name in that #1 slot. You can do it. I know you can. Remember that “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”


I hope the best seller fairy moves in and leaves you gifts constantly. But until she does, remember, it’s not the hare that won the race. It was the ever diligent turtle who didn’t stop for anything.

Never give up. Never surrender.

For every career that was built overnight and skyrocketed to the top, there were dozens more that took years to build and that list includes a writer named Dan Brown.

We Cherokee have a saying: There are many paths to the same place. The important thing is to make yours the happiest trail possible.

Thank you all and good luck. Now go write those books! I always need a good one to read!


Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Inspiration, Motivation, Support


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Who Cares About Writers?

A few weeks ago my mom stayed for an impromptu dinner at my house. Even though we live fairly close to each other, it’s difficult to get together as much as we’d like with our busy lives and all. When we do get together, there’s a lot of catching up to do. Mostly I talk about my family since taking care of them is where my pride lies. Sometimes I’ll tell her a bit about my work. Oddly enough, even though writing is a huge part of my life and claims an hour or two of my time each day, I never bring it up. I guess I’ve been so trained over the years that my family isn’t really interested. I’m sure you’re no stranger to the lack of eye contact when the topic of your latest story comes up.

But then something wild happened. My mom actually asked me about my writing. She said–and I quote–“So are you working on anything right now?”

At first I was so startled I actually had to stop and think about it. Am I working on anything right now? Well, yes, of course I’m working on something right now. Hurry, thing of something interesting to say!

Once I finally got started, I probably went overboard and scared her. I was just so thrilled that she had asked me about something that means so much to me, yet never feel comfortable enough to bring up myself. I was on a mission to prove to her how much writing meant to me, how much her interest meant to me, and that all the time I spend noveling isn’t some crazy pipe dream.

You see, I can count on three fingers the people in my life who are not writers that actually show interest in my writing life: my husband and two of my close friends. And I suspect my husband only asks because how well my writing went that day is the gauge of what kind of mood I’ll be in for the rest of the night (only half joking). Everyone else in my life seems to be oblivious to the fact that I write, or will give the obligatory “huh” if I happen to slip a writing comment into our conversation.

In a silly moment, I posted on Facebook how shocked I was about my mom’s question and I got an astounding response from other writers who feel the same way. I had always known that we faced this difficulty but what really hit me is how much we’re dying to share this part of our lives. And how deep those little cuts go.

As a writer, I’m always trying to look at the other side, take the other perspective, but sometimes it’s hard to be understanding when I feel like such a big part of me is being ignored. I think we take it so personally because to writers, writing is who we are. If our friends and family don’t acknowledge that part of us, how can they possible know us? I wish I had the answer.

The only answer I’ve ever found is here. With you. On my blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, during NaNoWriMo and with my local writer’s groups. If there’s anyone who “gets” writers, it’s other writers. We can only hope that one day our families will begin to understand how much their support means to us (and hopefully it’s some time before we hit the Bestsellers list). In the meantime, cherish those rare times when they do ask and know that you always have an interested party here.

How do your family and friends react when you talk about your writing? How does it make you feel? Where do you find your support?

Photo by Jane Machado


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Dear Luck: A Letter to Luck

Dear Luck,

It’s been a while since you last visited. I know you have a lot of people to see. You’ve always been a popular one.

A part of me really misses you, but I’ve been really busy, too.

I visit with your partner, Mr. Hard Work, on a daily basis. We’ve grown rather close. He assured me he’d tell you, “hello!” next time he sees you. We hang out with Ms. Opportunity every time she passes by. She’s been a dear friend to me over the years.

But that’s not why I wrote. I wrote to tell you something, something you may not want to hear.

I have some news. You know I’ve never been one for patience. I got tired of waiting for you, wondering if and when you were going to call or stop by. Every time the phone rang, my heart soared at the possibility that your voice would be on the other line. This may hurt, but you need to know. No one can replace you, Luck, but I couldn’t wait for you any longer. I just couldn’t. So Mr. Hard Work and Ms. Opportunity set me up with Mr. Pay Off. We’ve been seeing each other for a while now. He’s really good to me, and we’re pretty serious about each other. Most importantly, I’m happy.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to see you every now and again. But it’s only fair to let you know that I don’t want a long-term relationship, or any type of commitment. Nothing more than a short visit every now and then to let me know you’re thinking about me. The door is always open for you, but I won’t always be waiting for you on the other side.

I’m sure we’ll see each other out and about. I’ll wave to you when you’re paying my friends a visit. They all deserve your company, too.

I won’t be a stranger. But I need to focus on me and nurturing my relationships with Mr. Hard Work, Ms. Opportunity, and especially Mr. Pay Off.

It’s better this way, Luck. I promise.




Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


Dream Big and Never Give Up: How I Landed a 2 Book Publishing Deal

“We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.”
Woodrow Wilson

I feel like I’ve just won the lottery.  My Debut novel, Pretty Dark Nothing, is being published by Month 9 Books on April 23, 2013 with a sequel due out April 22, 2014

Am I Really Going to Be a Published Author?


Yes, I really am.


It’s been two weeks since the deal was announced in the trades and I’m still pinching myself. I can’t tell you how surreal and amazing the last few weeks have been. Like the Woodrow Wilson quote, I have nourished and protected this dream, nursed it through bad days and after 26 years of dreaming, it’s finally come true.

The dream sparked to life when I was ten. I was sitting in my 7th Grade English class. Insetad of working on my spelling assignment like I was supposed to, I spent the class writing the first chapter of my first novel. I wanted to be a real writer with a real book on a real book store shelf. I imagined the smell of the freshly printed pages, and what it would feel like to hold my book in my hands. I wanted it. I spent months working and writing in my notepad. No, you can’t read it, I’ve buried the manuscript in the middle of the desert and it’s gaurded by a three headed dingo. Yeah, it was that aweful.

The years flew by. When you’re that young, it’s hard to hold onto a dream, hard not to get distracted. Life got in the way. So did middle school bullies, hormones, boys, and surviving high school. I channelled my angst in poetry and short stories that never saw the light of day. The idea of being a published writer became overshadowed by other goals. But no matter how much I pursued other things, writing never left my soul, it haunted me, tapped me on the shoulder every now and then to remind me that was my gift and I shouldn’t waste it.

At the age of 22, I was working as a receptionist for an IT company, unhappy and lost in my life. A magazine had been left on my desk by my boss on her way into her office. Bored, I started flipping through it. I’ll never forget seeing that ad for The Institute of Children’s Literature. It spoke to me. It dared me to take a chance.  I tore out the page and decided it was time to get serious. It was the first step to get myself back on the write path, of really learning the craft, learning discipline, connecting with other writers, and developing confidence so that I could achieve the goal I had set when I was a child.

That was 14 years ago. In that time I’ve written picture books, short stories, poetry, and magazine articles. Some came close to publication, but ultimately, none found a home.  Seven years ago, I had an idea for a YA paranormal novel. Writing a full length novel scared the crap out of me. I had never ventured to write anything that long before, but they story, the characters nagged at me, urged me to write. Something clicked. I knew I had finally found my voice. The words poured from me. Euphoric. I was in love with my characters. I worked hard for two years. I wrote draft after draft, polishing and working it until I thought it shined. Then I crossed my fingers and sent it out into the world. After several rejections, an editor with one of the big six asked for the full. I could hardly contain myself. This was it. It had to be. I waited nine months for a decision only to be dissapointed when they ultimately passed.

I felt discouraged. I wanted to cry and scream in frustration. There had been days when I wanted to give up before, but this rejection hurt more than all the others put together. It took me awhile to pick myself up again. But I had a fire in my belly. I couldn’t let go of my dream. I started several other books, but none of them excited me as much as my first one. My main characters wouldn’t let me go. They nagged me, kept me up at night, told me not to give up on them. They wouldn’t be ingnored. I finally gave up and took another look at the manuscript. It had been three years since I’d read through it. I started reworking it. It had potential, but I knew it could be better. I worked harder, I tore the manuscript apart, I threw half of it out and started fresh. I spent eight months rewriting and reworking the entire manuscript. Time to cross my fingers and send it out again. I expected that rejections would come, just as they had before. And then something amazing happened.

On March 2nd 2012, all the dreaming, the rewrites, the determination paid off.  I opened my e-mail to an offer. My YA paranormal, Pretty Dark Nothing, had sold in a two book deal to the amazing Month 9 Books. I couldn’t believe it. I read the e-mail over and over, pinching myself each time. Me? A two book deal?  I felt like the luckiest girl on the planet. I thanked the ten year old me for setting that goal 26 years ago. Wow! That’s a long time to carry a dream with you. But I’m here to tell you that it can happen. If you’re willing to work at it, if you’ve got the vision, the passion, the fire in your soul to be a writer, if you can’t imagine doing anything else in the world, your dream will come true.  When you least expect it. When you feel like it’s never going to happen, just remember to pick yourself up, get back to your laptop, keep striving for your dream every single day, and don’t let anyone tell you you’ll never get there.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~Confucious

It takes work, vision, passion, determination, persistence, and most of all, it takes patients. I look back over the years and think to myself, why now? What’s different about today than the other times I’ve submitted my work? And I can honestly say that the timing of this opportunity is perfect. I wouldn’t have been ready before. I have never felt so in sync. I love my publisher and feel like we are a perfect fit. My editor is amazing and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I am exactly where I’m meant to be.  I’m ready in a way I wouldn’t have been earlier in my life.  I’m ready for the work, I’m confident in my craft, I know how and what to sacrifice to feed my passion.

So in the words of Henry David Thoreau – ‘’Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Write on. Live the dream. Never give up.

Has writing always been your dream? How long have you carried it with you?


Luck of the Irish?


Hope you all had a wonderful and safe St. Patrick’s Day! Being that our theme this month is St. Patrick’s Day, I had to think about how I wanted to incorporate that into a post. There are so many fascinating things about Ireland and it was hard to narrow it down to just one subject. At first, I had my writing heart set on talking about the Blarney Stone and the gift of eloquence it’s said to bestow. That was my plan up until a few hours ago when I went for a walk and found a four leaf clover.

Luck. How much is luck involved in writing and how much is due to talent? It depends on who you ask. There are some people who say that it’s all a matter of who you know and the connections you make. There are others, who believe that with determination and hard work success will come and that luck plays no part. What do I believe? Depends on the day you ask me. I have days where I whine about not having a dear old friend who became a literary agent and wants to sign me immediately. But then, after my little whiner party, I shake my head and go back to work. I’d never be happy if I was signed by a friend. I have to know my work is good enough.

I read agent’s blogs like they’re going out of style. I read the craft books and try to put everything I learn into my work. I can’t afford the workshops and retreats, but I put everything I can into learning. I may go slower than others, but I’m okay with that. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not solely one or the other – luck or talent. It’s a mixture of both.

You see, I’ve figured something out. After all the blogs, articles, books and interviews with agents, publishers and editors – there’s no one sure fire way that guarantees publication. No one really knows what magical combination it’s going to take for you to see your book on the shelves. I think for each person it’s a different equation. A certain amount of luck mixed with a certain amount of talent and determination.

Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep taking classes and going to whatever retreats and workshops you can afford. Keep getting your work out there and reviewed and critiqued. It’s hard. No one said it was easy, but it’ll be worth it – if you stick to it. In the end, I think that’s one of the big factors in whether you get published or not – did you keep writing after facing all the negativity a new author endures or did you give up? Were you able to keep your head above water in the face of all the things life can throw at you? Or did you close your computer, promising to come back to it – someday.

Don’t give up. Open up that old document and blow the dust off. Only you can tell the story inside you. it may take time, but as long as you keep writing – you can get to where you want to be.


On another note – is there anything you, as a reader or aspiring writer, would like to see a post about? Feel free to comment and let us know!


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St. Patrick and the Writer’s Trinity

     St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. Born in England, he was captured and made to serve as a slave in Ireland. He did escape to his home country, but God sent him a vision and he returned to the Emerald Isle to convert its people to Christianity. The shamrock was revered by the Druids, thus St. Patrick made use of the symbol. He explained the Trinity, the belief of three divine entities- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- encompassed by the one God. St. Patrick’s Day, considered a holy day by many, is celebrated around the world, with twice the number of people around the world claiming Irish heritage(myself being one) as lives in Ireland.

     Today’s popular culture considers the shamrock a good luck charm. I don’t believe in luck…Okay, maybe a little. I do believe when it comes to a writer’s life, there is a sort of triad involved that has nothing to do with luck and a lot to do with our commitment to the perilous undertaking of our craft.

     What does it take to make a commitment work? When we began to write, we entered a relationship.(Some of us entered into many relationships, but that’s another post). Like divorce rates and foreclosures, promising writers end up on the sidelines, become statistics. What will it take for you to keep your commitment?

      One writer’s “trinity” may be different from another’s. I’m sharing mine with you. I think the following three are the essence and fire of true commitment:

     Vision:  I refer to The Dream. They vary-from success with indie publishing to signing an agent, or the published author’s hopes of hitting the NYT bestsellers list. Why is it vital to commitment? If you’ve received a rejection letter, or struggled with your story, you will understand this: 

     “Dissatisfaction and discouragement are not caused by the absence of things but the absence of Vision.”


     Passion:  There is some debate about passion vs. commitment. I believe passion, if we understand our desires and purpose for what we write, is conducive to commitment. Let your passion, not only for writing, but for whatever makes you smile, infect your work. Each writer and artist has a free spirit inside.

     “Passion is the genesis of genius.”

          ~Tony Robbins

     Dedication:  Set goals. I joined an online writer’s group that’s sole purpose is goal-setting and accountability. This helps tremendously. As a mother of three, one a two-year-old boy, I know life happens. I dedicated fifteen minutes a day to writing, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I’ve written while dinner cooks or with the kiddo clambering in my lap. “Think big, start small” is a great motto.

     “The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.”

     ~Cecil B. DeMille

     Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all our readers and a toast with none other than a frosty mug of green beer.  🙂

Images courtesy of


Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Inspiration, Motivation


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What’s in a name? No, no. What’s in a color.

This month’s theme is St Patrick’s Day, or whatever we want to talk about that can relate back to St Paddy’s Day.  I considered tackling writer/author jealousy, but I’m not in the mood for something so serious, then mulled over the meanings of the color green but at 9am on a Monday morning this didn’t appeal to me either.  So decided to have a bit of fun with it.

Last Thursday I emailed a couple of my writer friend and asked them the following question:

What is the first thing that jumps to mind when you think about the color green?

I had some delightful responses and I still stand by my statement that some of the best people I know are writers.  We have the best conversations, online and off, and it’s mostly a bunch of nonsense.  But nonsense is good for the soul.

Green represents a lot of different things for me.  It signals the start of something new. New beginnings, now hopes, new dreams, new ideas.  I’m a winter person through and through and believe summer was created to punish me for crimes I haven’t committed, so summer green does not count. Winter is my reward for making it through the heat.  Feel free to argue, I know most people are summer inclined.  Spring I love for its show of promise and potential, and Autumn I adore for all the stunning colors and what it leads to. It’s like the world goes into hibernation for a few months. I do too. I write more. I read more. So I guess you can say that green leads me to some of the things I love the most. Green is turning into a pretty awesome color. How have I missed this all these years?  Funny how you can sometimes discover something’s true, and undiscovered, worth when you write down the things you appreciate about it.

Here’s what some of my writer friends had to say. I love all the different answers.

Juliana said it reminded her of lush gardens and money. I probably would have mentioned money as well, I didn’t because here in SA each of our notes are a different color. Her husband was nice enough to contribute and his answer was the Green Lantern. You can’t go wrong with superheroes.

Ladonna thinks of envy(we think alike, see first paragraph). Here’s something interesting for those who didn’t know: apparently, in either Chicago or Pittsburg, there’s a lake that turns green during the day. I’d love to see that.

I love Jocelyn’s answer, it’s so very writer like:  “I know this is so predictable and boring, but I always think of grass when I think about the color green.  The springy blades that tickle the back of my legs when I sit in it.  The crisp scent of a fresh cut lawn which just smells green to me.  I also think of a “game” we used to play when I was young, where we would hold out our arms, look down at the grass, and spin and spin and spin – the whole world would become one big green blur until we’d fall down laughing ourselves silly.”

My good friend Tracy had the following to say:  “The very first thing that came to mind was the bright brilliant green that’s typically used by the dept of transportation for highway markings and exits, even on stop lights. It makes me think “proceed, go, continue, carry-on”. It’s this inviting, warm color that tells me to “keep going, the path is clear”. Maybe that’s why green is one of my favorite colors? Because it’s been instilled in me from an early age to associate it with these moving forward actions. I hadn’t really given it much thought before now. I like it.” I like it too! This is such a positive answer. How can you now look at anything green and not think optimistic thoughts.

Beth doesn’t know it but she’s one of my Megans:  “The color green reminds me of Spring. The season when England starts to get some color again from the dull, lifeless, grey winter. It reminds me of the grass of the fields with baby lambs and the leaves that start growing on the trees once again. The flower shoots poking up through the soil and buds appearing on trees and hedges. It also reminds me of my childhood and Orville the duck, but you’ll have no idea why I’m going on about.” You’re right, I have no idea. So I Googled. I have to say I’m a little disturbed. Orville would have given me nightmares if I had to watch him while younger. That’s really creepy, Beth. It’s a green duck wearing a diaper. I still like you though.

Craig:  “When I think of green I think of rolling green hills, Julie Andrews, and Slimer from Ghost Busters chasing her down and giving her massive sloppy kisses, but seriously my first thoughts were the Green Goblin and the Hulk. They would make a pretty decent super villain duo wouldn’t they?” More superheroes/villains! I approve of this.

Your turn. Have some fun with it. What do you associate green with? Anything goes.


Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Just For Fun, Motivation


Being Green: What It Means to Be a New Writer

I have something embarrassing to admit. Before I wrote my first novel, I thought you had to be a chosen one. Seriously. I thought it required a fancy degree or some special certificate or maybe an old man in a wizard’s hat came out to your house, interviewed you, and gave you a learner’s permit if he found you suitable. It seemed like such a daunting task that surely an average girl like me could never do it.

About four years ago, in my infinite quest for an excuse to give it a shot anyway, I came across the National Novel Writing Month website (is this where I apply for my permit?). Would you believe there were thousands of average people, just like me, writing novels together every year? People who weren’t even writing outlines or trying to get published? People who were writing novels purely for the enjoyment of it? I was so surprised, it took me reading the entire website and a full twenty-four hour’s contemplation to sign up for an account. I assure you–this is a long time for me. That November I wrote my first novel and it was all over from there. I was hooked. I was a writer.

No Longer “Aspiring”

Since then, hardly a week has gone by when I haven’t written something. I’ve completed another full length manuscript, started two more novels that have yet to be completed, written dozens of short stories, and penned hundreds of blogs. I think I would have made that old man in the wizard’s hat pretty proud.

When deciding to take the leap from thinking about writing to actually doing it, starting is the hardest part. There’s so much to learn, so much to practice, so much to grasp. More than that, though, is the lack of confidence in yourself. Before you complete your first work, it seems impossible. Sure, other people do it, but that’s just published authors, right? There’s no way I could write a novel, or short story, or article, or even a blog.

But here’s the thing: You can.

Know It Will Happen For You Too

If I could whip together a license or a certificate for you, I would. But I assure you, you don’t need it. Published authors weren’t always published and there was no fairy dust sprinkled on them at birth. The only magic trick they’ve come to master is writing when it’s hard, when it’s noisy, when the kids are nagging them, when they’re working overtime at their day job, when the spaghetti sauce is boiling over, when they’re in so much pain they can hardly think, and on those rare occasions when they finally get some peace and quiet for five whole minutes. The only secret ingredient is perseverance.

If you have yet to complete your first piece, keep writing. Have faith in yourself against all odds. I’m not sitting here telling you it will be easy. What I’m saying is it will happen. As long as you put your fingers to the keyboard or your pen to the paper every day, no matter what, one word will build onto another until you have sentences and paragraphs and pages. Until you have a story. Typing “the end” will be the greatest feeling and the greatest confidence builder you can ever imagine. Because once you know you can do it, you’ll also know you can do it again.

And then you’re not new anymore. You’re a writer.

Photo by Scott Robinson


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Questions to ask When Hiring an Editor

You’re finished. The End has been written, and you’ve tweaked to the point that if you look at it one more time you’ll curl up in the fetal position with your hands wrapped tightly around your knees and weep.

After you’ve given it your best, you decide the next thing you want to do is hire an editor. If you Google “freelance editor,” a million searches will overwhelm you, threatening to send you back to the fetal position. Finding someone to work with can be a scary task. There are many editors out there with different areas of expertise. You’ll want to ask different editors about their speciality in order to pick the right one to work with on your project. Be aware that the different editors often use different names for the type of work they do. I’ve included those in this post. Here are some questions to keep in mind during your search.

  • What types of editing do you do? Like I said earlier, different editors have different areas of expertise. There are developmental editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders. Developmental editing (sometimes called content editing) is pretty extensive and comes before copyediting. This is when an editor will look over your work for the overall picture. They’ll analyze the characters, their motivations, the flow of the story, plot holes and inconsistencies, sometimes rewrite and restructure the work, and look for any other major big picture problems. A copyeditor (sometimes called a line editor) focuses more on grammar, style, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. and comes before proofreading. A proofreader is someone who looks for anything a copyeditor would miss. Their skills lie in looking over a piece that’s already pretty polished. They will look for grammar, punctuation, and misspelled words. All of these different types of editors are important, but make sure you choose the right kind for your project.
  • Do you have references? Most experienced editors will have references. Ask to see them. You’ll want to look at what their previous clients said about them, and note their strong points. Ask yourself if they match what you want for your project.
  • Do you edit my genre? Crucial question. You want someone who is familiar with the type of writing you do. Some editors work on multiple genres, and that’s fantastic. But someone who edits primarily adult romance may not be the right pick for your young adult fantasy, and someone who edits mostly children’s picture books may not be the right fit for your adult thriller. You get what I’m saying.
  • Do you offer a sample? A lot of editors offer a sample, even if it’s a small one (and honestly, that’s still generous. It takes me an hour to perform developmental edits and hard copyedits on 4-5 pages). I am highly favorable of this. This gives you the chance to see what type of editing the editor sees for your manuscript, and it gives the editor a chance to preview your work to determine what type of editing they recommend. Both are important. Once you receive your sample, go over it. Is your writing stronger? Were they thorough?
  • What can I expect from you? This is important for a variety of reasons. You’ll want to know what their communication style is like, what is offered with the editing package, how long it will take them, and how they go about giving updates on your work. Everyone has different communication styles. Some people prefer email, and others prefer Skype calls. Find out what your editor likes and decide if it fits with your style. The editing package will vary for every editor. Some will offer a consultation, others may not. Find out what is offered and decide if it’s best for you. It’s important to know how long it will take them because you’ll need to make sure the editor can meet your expectations or deadlines. I’m pretty confident that most editors are aware of how stressful the writing/editing process can be. Most are mindful of this and will give updates to make sure you’re comfortable with how things are going. Ask the editor when can you expect to hear from them. Will they contact you once a week? Will it be the same day every week? What will they provide in an update? Don’t expect them to take a ton of time to go over things they’ve done that week, that’s a waste of your money. Just ask them to check in, and maybe include where they are in the project. Figure out if this works for you.
  • How much will it cost? This one is tricky, and it will definitely vary. Some editors will be more expensive than others. You have to decide what’s best for you. The most expensive editor may not be the right one for your particular project. The cheapest one may be what you need. Just make sure you’re not choosing someone strictly based on price. As long as you’re educated in your decision, you’re probably making the right choice.

Make sure you ask these questions, and you’ll probably think of more. Like I said, the best decision is an educated one. Have you worked with an editor before? What questions did you ask?


Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Craft, Uncategorized, Writing


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