Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Silver Phoenix!

Today is the day you've been waiting for. Possibly all your life.

Today, the amazing Cindy Pon's debut novel SILVER PHOENIX has been released!

Can I tell you how excited I am for this book? First of all, Cindy is a genuine, multi-talented, truly kind individual. To me, she stands as a compelling reason to keep a blog if you are going to be published. Because of getting to know her through her blog, I am buying her book.

But, even aside from that, the story sounds fantastic! As a former History major, with a fondness for Chinese History, I am very excited!

In honor of her release day, Cindy is throwing an amazing contest. The prize is a hand signed copy of Silver Phoenix AND one of her original paintings! DUDE. You know I've got to enter this contest. And you should to, on her blog. Go there anyway, and wish her congratulations on her big day!

Also, because I really, really want to win :) check out this amazing book trailer!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Heart Diana

So, I just got my first review back. It was from my twin sister, Diana. Yes, she's my sister. Yes, she's biased. But, I still can't help but feel light as a feather right now. I had to post, because I just feel to happy to sleep.

Now, I at least know that it works. Works for someone, anyway. See, I slaved, sweat, toiled over this book for seven months in the total dark. I had no idea if it was any good at all. I had no idea if the idea (which is kinda out there) would even fly. But, at least according to my lovely sister, it's a go.

Yes, family fan club, but still. So, thank you again Diana. You made my night. You made my whole week! I will sleep with a big grin on my face tonight.

P.S. That is my sister, not me. :) Although, wouldn't it be hilarious if I were so proud of myself that I photoshopped my own face in a giant heart and posted it? lol, but no, that's Diana.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Photoshop Friday

Short one today. Because I am officially on break. Why? Well, I finally finished the first round of edits on PAMR!!! So, I've titled this weeks episode:


It's only been about two and a half weeks since I finished the first draft, but let me tell you, these have been some very grueling edits. We're not talking about fixing typos. This was a full scale attack, complete with 35 individual changes that needed to be made. This is my brain. This is my brain on edits. Any questions?

But I finished at last!!
(Note the guy I circled. He looks awesome.)

So, you may ask, what are you going to do now? I'll tell you. I've passed my book on to the hands of my brilliant, gorgeous, insanely talented betas and now I'm stepping away from the action for a while. Battle on, you stalwart souls on the Get-Published front. Me, I'm taking a little break.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Photoshop Friday

Another post on my personal editing experiences.(Hey, you knew it was coming. Eventually the well was going to run dry.) I've creatively titled this episode:

More on Editing

As some of you may know, I am a big time note taker. (Moleskine! Love it. Swear by it.) I make notes on my books every day, through every step of the process. I'm a huge fan of lists. Maybe because I am a visual person. Maybe because if I don't get my thoughts down on a solid material, they will be consumed in the blinding jumble of my head. Whatever the reason, I don't have my notebook, I literally can't function.

Here's a peek from the pages I've written in the past few days.

Another huge part of my editing process is the stressing. The doubt. What novel would be complete without it right? Last weekend, I spent 24 hours thinking my whole idea for this book was complete garbage. I genuinely thought I was going to have to throw six months of work out the window. Not a pleasant day. Let me assure you. Felt something like this.

Good thing for friends and common sense.

So, yes, there are days when editing/Inner Editor makes me feel like this.

But in the end, I know it will turn out more like this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stop the Presses!

Remember this post, where I said I never won anything?

Well, looks like my ship has finally come in. I officially won a blog contest! Thank you, Sara! You rock! :)

My life is now fulfilled.

Monday, April 13, 2009

In which Renee becomes an Agent for a day, and learns a ridiculously obvious truth.

So, I'm sure others will blog about Nathan Branford's Agent for a Day thingy, but I'm gonna beat you all to it. Ha-ha!

The gist: Fifty query letters were posted on Nathan's blog at random times, and we "agents" were allowed to request five manuscripts.

Well, I decided right away that I was going to try and respond to all fifty queries today, just to give myself an accurate taste of the job. I met my goal, and let me tell you, it was no easy task. There were many, many lessons one could take away from participating in such an event. I learned a lot, and I feel like I better understand why agents do what they do. However, for me, the most poingant lesson was perhaps the most obvious one of all.

Querying is subjective.

I mean, duh. How many bajillions of times have we heard this, have we said it to ourselves? But, it was absolutely fascinating to actually see that.

Aside from the few just plain bad queries that made no sense, every single query letter had at least one person enthusiastically requesting a full. Every single one. And, even the most popular queries still garnered numerous rejections. Many people have been including their five picks in their posts, and most of them have not a single choice in common with mine. Everyone had different favorites. Everyone.

The whole experience kind of made me smack my forehead and think, "It really is subjective." And for that, I want to thank Mr. Bransford. Overall, the contest was a blast. Very, very, very interesting. What a swell idea, Sir!

P.S. It's still going (until Saturday, I think) so go over and give it a try!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Photoshop . . . um, Saturday

How to Edit a Book in Three Simple Steps By. Inner Editor

So, you just finished a book, eh? I bet right now, you are feeling something along these lines.

Well, ~News Flash~ your book is far from perfect. You need to whip that sorry piece of kilobytes into shape! But, never fear, Inner Editor is here to help.

Step 1The first thing you need to do is iron out the plot. Make sure it's consistent. Make sure that Mr. Sprinkles, who you killed off in Chapter 3, doesn't show up in Chapter 27. (In fact, just cut out Mr. Sprinkles altogether.)

Step 2Comb through that baby until every typo and unnecessary word is gone. Be relentless with yourselves.

Step 3Find yourself a good Beta. Make that, several good Betas. And be sure to LISTEN to what they say.

And remember . . .

Inner Editor is always watching.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Don't send a frantic email to Blogger!

I haven't posted Photoshop Friday yet, that's all. I know you guys are probably beside yourselves with worry. I apologize. It's been a busy day.

No fear, I'll post it. I have the idea and everything, I just need the time. So, it might be a Photoshop Saturday. Just as good, minus the snappy alliteration in the title.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Condoning the Copycat

Normally, I find Ni Hao Kailan to be a cute little cartoon show. Every episode has a theme and one theme song that is sung over an over again throughout (brainwashing the message into the viewers mind.) Well, this morning, I was letting my daughter watch TV as I shot off a few emails, and I couldn't help but listen to the theme song of today's show.

"If you make something special, *cute little music*
and your friend copies yoooou *cute little music*
It's just because your friend
loved it toooooooooo!!"

Does anyone else find this troubling? That an entire episode of a show, aimed at extremely impressionable preschoolers, centered around the notion that it is okay if your friends copy you, because it just means that they really liked it?

Kay, to me, that's not cool. Maybe I'm overly sensitive because I was always a very creative child and other kids ALWAYS copied me. I mean, I guess it's a reality of life that creative children need to know how to deal with, but still. Somehow this felt like it was passing along an okay to the copiers, almost encouraging copying. What's this world coming too?!

*takes a breath* Okay, rant over. Carry on with your blogging.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Well gang, I finished my WiP! WOOOOOOO! I'm feeling so . . . so loopy. I mean, just look at the time this was posted. Says a lot. Here is a sample of what will make Renee laugh loudly when it's two in the morning.

However, it's also how I feel! Happy dance! I'm done! Yes, yes, yes.

That said, don't pop the DP bottles yet. I've got a big old list of things to do before I send this baby out to betas. Can we say Tweakfest 2009?? (However, if you are interested, I'll be glad to pass it along in probably two weeks.)

Anyway, I need to go to bed. (This post makes very little sense.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Photoshop Friday

I didn't announce on this blog, but in early February, I entered Miss Midas into the Amazon Breakout Novel Contest. I figured, what the heck? I've yanked it out of the query system. This can be Midas' swan song.

Well, I made the first cut, the top 2000 out of 10,000, but then got axed as they narrowed that down to the 500. I shrugged it off, figuring that since I had to enter my YA novel in the General Literature category (there was no YA section, so I had no other choice) that I probably got reviewers who were expecting Love in the Time of Cholera, but got a light, cutesy YA story instead. But yesterday, for a lovely birthday present, I got the reviews of my excerpt back.

Let's just say, now I know why I didn't make the cut. Two "expert" Amazon reviewers (otherwise known as Amazon customers who do lots and lots of reviews) scored my excerpt and then wrote a response. One was quite enthusiastic, the other . . . I'll show you. (Bear in mind that these two were my only two judges for the second round. So, yeah, this one person pretty much ruined my chances of going on.)

I've titled this post: Oh no she didn't! A Catharsis.

From the first line, I knew I was in for a good time. And I quote, "Usually, I address a work's strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, I have nothing positive to note about this excerpt."

So, I've actually gotten one, my first Amazon 1 star review, complete with all of the snarkiness and insults we've come to know and expect. Aside from one, generic suggestion on how to improve (tighten up the grammar.) The rest of the fairly lengthy review consisted of the numerous reasons why my writing was so bad it was "an insult to teens," "ridiculous," "annoying and sloppy," or, my favorite, the review called my use of actual product names (Coke, Xerox, etc) a "horrendous faux pas."

It looks like my fears were confirmed. I think, perhaps the most telling line of the review was this, "When I was at YA age, I was reading Achebe (as were all my friends)." Kinda says it all.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An April Fool's Day LOL

Hilarious on so many levels.