Monday, February 26, 2007

Back from Miami

What I'm reading: Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein

What I'm writing: cover letters for agents

Fun in the Sun in Miami was a good conference. Friday afternoon they opened with workshops and a booksellers' panel. Very interesting to compare the big chains with the small independents, and what works for each, not to mention how authors can help get noticed.

Workshops all day Saturday, although I had to miss a couple because of agent appointments. I met with three agents, and all requested at least a few chapters of Rescued Hearts (although I'm still working on a more compelling title. It was my first conference as a published author and although I still don't have anything in print to sign, I got to see my own promo materials on the tables.

I enjoyed the workshops on brainstorming and secondary characters, the latter especially since my characters seem to want their own books when I finish a manuscript. The agent/editor panel on Sunday morning gave a real wake-up call to how hard it is to make it in this business. There were 2 page cold reads and the agents gave their honest reactions to the works.

On a more personal note, my husband came along to make sure my birthday was special (he done good!). We also took the 'long way' down to the turnpike on the way home and marveled at how much has changed since we lived there. Of course, that was about 20 years ago, but the conference hotel was in an area of high rises that didn't exist when I used to hit the mall with the kids.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

February Contest

There are a few days left to enter my web contest for a free copy of "Romancing the Geek."

Go to my website and email me the answer to a simple question and you'll be entered in the drawing.

It's been fun having my week on Cerridwen Press' home page as a new release. Time to turn over that honor to the two new authors. Meanwhile, Finding Sarah is getting lots of positive comments. You can find the book here.

Remember--a free prologue, not part of the book, to anyone who asks for it. Email me with "Prologue Please" in the subject line. Tell me you saw the offer here.

I'm off to Miami tomorrow for the Florida Romance Writer's Fun in the Sun Conference.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

On Settling Down

What I'm reading: The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King

What I'm writing: Chapter 26 and edits.

"Romancing the Geek" has been sitting on top of the Wild Rose Press' overall bestseller list since its release. (I'm sure now that I've said something, it'll disappear.) It's also been top in the Champagne Rose (contemporary) line overall, as well as the Miniature Rose (length) category. For my website contest, I'm giving away a free copy - go to my website to find the simple question to answer to enter the drawing.

And for Finding Sarah, I got the nicest message in my inbox this morning.

Hi Terry,

I just finished Finding Sarah. I feel like I just ran a marathon. Don't worry, I always feel that way after finishing a truly great book.

It was smashing. Fabulous! Thank you!

Those little notes from readers really go a long way in keeping spirits up when so much of the business seems to be dealing with rejection. So much time is spent waiting; it's good to know your work has brought someone at least a modicum of pleasure. All I wanted to do when I started writing the book was to create something to occupy a reader on an otherwise boring airplane flight.

And, with that little ego-boost, it's time to deal with Dalton and Miri once more. Get in on the page first, fix it later.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Special Day

What I'm reading: Injustice for All & Trial by Fury by J.A. Jance

What I'm writing: Chapter 26, scene two; edits for 22-25.

Not a lot of writing over the past few days. On Friday, I was "List Mom" at the Cerridwen Chat Yahoo group, and that tied me up until our houseguests arrived. Yesterday, half the day was spent getting my new car (Yay!) and getting ready for my party at the Jack Kerouac House.

Oh, and frequent visits to the Cerridwen Press home page where I'm right there!

The party was great-- I got to see my old critique group again, a bunch of people from my RWA chapter dropped by, and there was plenty of champagne. I did have to read a scene from Finding Sarah, which terrified me. Darlyn, the hostess and writer in residence at the Kerouac House is a poet, and she and her groups do long stretches of reading all the time. But for the most part, they read poems or short stories. I figured anyone listening to my stuff MIGHT be able to last for 10 minutes, which is about how long it took to read the first scene. I printed it in a nice big "no-glasses-needed" font, put back all the punctuation my editor removes "because e-book readers don't like a lot of commas", and finally decided that if I read it the way I used to read to my pre-schoolers, I might get through it. Of course, there were no pretty pictures to turn and show the group, but I survived.

When I finished, my husband came up and told everyone that he was proud of my success, AND he gave me a little velvet box, an early birthday present he and the kids had collaborated on. I know he read my short story, "Romancing the Geek." Maybe the last line sank into his subconscious!

Darlyn's poetry book, Red Wax Rose was released that day, and I was more than proud to be the warm up act for her readings and celebration.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Everything at Once

What I'm reading: 'Tis the Silly Season by Roxanne St Claire

What I'm writing: Chapter 26, scene 2

First: Two more days until Finding Sarah is released! Check my website for a chance to read the prologue.

Yesterday was one of those days you wish you could spread out over at least three others. It was a gloomy, damp and drizzly day, so I thought I'd work on productivity. I took care of enough normal household and real-job tasks to allay any guilt about writing for much of the afternoon and into the evening. I'd finished 1000 words, which I felt good about, since it's at one of those turning point scenes, and I'm not 100% sure I've done quite enough research. I've asked the experts, but haven't heard back yet.

I get the word that the Wild Rose Press anthology is set, only my story has been separated from my local writing buddy, and we were counting on being in the same volume to make things easier for promotion. The editors there are fantastic, and they shifted my story with another one in record time. Of course, now Second Chance Rose is hanging with the more erotic stories. I don't mind. Rose has been around the block a few times, so she won't mind the company she's keeping.
Hope my mother doesn't. I know she'll love it--but will she recommend the book to her friends?

Then, around 9 pm, I get a phone call from Tokyo. It seems someone has used my AmEx card number to book a flight from Japan, and their security department flagged it. Between the not-so-clear international connection and the English-is-not-his-first-language issues, it took a while to figure out what was going on, and what I had to do. In the middle of three other calls to various departments of AmEx, for which my husband also had to be on the line, my sister-in-law IMs to say her husband's uncle's funeral is Saturday, and they'll be flying in on Thursday. Instant houseguests. And I'm without plastic until I can get a new card!

Monday, February 12, 2007

On Sloth Days

What I'm reading: Until Proven Guilty by J.A. Jance; Ladies, Start Your Engines, by Kimberly Raye

What I'm writing : Chapter 26 - sort of

Every now and then, research hits a snag and I need more information for a scene/chapter/entire plot direction. Yesterday being a pleasantly cool Sunday, I did edits, a little promo, but mostly laundry. My word count ended up about 71 words higher than the night before, far from a normal writing day.

However, I sat in front of the fire (a rare enough opportunity here in central Florida), sharing popcorn with my husband and felt nicely recharged. Today it's damp and drizzly; I just might read another book.

I still have to wait for someone to answer my questions, but with Finding Sarah coming out this week, I have plenty of "writing related" things to do. And the offer of a free prologue still stands. Just email me with Prologue Please in the subject line, or leave a request as a blog comment.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bits and Pieces

What I'm reading: Foxfire, by Carol Ann Erhardt

What I'm writing: End of Chapter 25; maybe time to start 26.

Mixed feelings about a special meeting of our RWA chapter today. We hosted a tea for booksellers and librarians. Although I fit the definition of a published author, with only e-pubs at the moment, I wasn't their target market. However, once the Wild Rose Press anthology is released, I'll have something in print and might even make a book-signing. Meanwhile, everyone wants to be Roxanne St. Claire, who just finished her 17th book. If she wasn't so dang nice, it would be easy to be jealous.

The tea was followed by a hilarious lesson in developing empathy for your characters to help stress show, don't tell. We worked in pairs. One was blindfolded while our speaker described a scenario and the 'sighted' partner helped act it out. For the first, the 'victim' was told she had to seduce someone wearing poisoned lipstick (which the partner applied to her lips) and then couldn't let her lips touch or she'd poison herself. To pass a test, she had to eat live grubs (gummy bears), and then there was a shooting (bubble wrap). For part 2, the partners reversed roles, and this time is was the day after Cinderella married her Prince Charming. The kicker was when we were running our hands down our handsome prince's chest, traveling lower and lower until--the partner placed something in our hands. Nothing like touching a Vienna sausage while blindfolded.

The workshop did drive home the point of trying to get deep into your characters' senses and emotional responses and try to convey that to your readers. And it also showed us how differently each of us responds to the same stimulus, based on past experience.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Counting Down to Finding Sarah

One week from today, Finding Sarah will be available from Cerridwen Press.

To celebrate, anyone who emails me with "Prologue Please" in the subject line will get a link to the prologue I wrote for the book but never included. Get a sneak peek at some of the characters and what happened before page one. Or, you can leave a comment--just make sure it's got your email address so I can find you.

This offer is good until next Thursday, Feb. 15th.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More Galleys

What I'm reading: Dust, by Martha Grimes

What I'm writing: Chapter 25

Doesn't look like I've made a lot of progress, although I'm half through both the book and the chapter. I got the galley for Second Chance Rose, the short story that will be coming out in The Wild Rose Press' spring anthology -- in print, no less! It arrived shortly before we were leaving to meet a friend for dinner, but I did get through it before going to sleep.

I also had a request for an 'autographed copy' of Finding Sarah for a fund-raiser auction. I explained it was an e-book, so she said, "Oh, sorry. Well, if you ever get published, we'd still like a book." I AM published. Just not in print. Cerridwen and Wild Rose are both "real" publishers. You have to submit, someone has to offer a contract, and someone other than your mother edits your work, and if it's a full length work, you get an ISBN and everything. And you don't pay anyone. They pay you. I did my best to explain it without gnashing the keyboard.

I also spent too much time setting up a bare-bones My Space site, because I've been told that's where the e-book reading population tends to hang out. I'm still not sure I grasp the concept of having to have "friends." On this blog, anyone can read and post, and I'm happy with that. For me, it's a marketing thing, so I guess I'll go with the flow. Somewhere, I think I've got a Yahoo 360, too.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sarah's First Review!

I got the first review for Finding Sarah, from Romance Junkies.

I think it's a relief to have the first review out of the way--kind of like getting that first little ding on a new car. You can relax. And having a positive review first gives my ego the boost I'm sure it will need should others not be quite so glowing. The best part is knowing that at least one reader "got" my characters.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

On Edits and the Language Barrier

What I'm reading: Dust, by Martha Grimes

What I'm writing: Chapter 25

Yesterday morning I found the Final Line Edits for What's in a Name? waiting in my in-box when I checked my email at 7:15 a.m. The editor requested that I do everything within my power to get them back to her same day. Of course, this was the day I had to be doing a tutor training workshop for the Adult Literacy League, so nothing could happen until I got home, which was about 2:30 p.m.

After fixing the comments left by the FLE editor, I felt compelled to give the manuscript one more look, especially when I found a missing word in a paragraph above one of the comments. How many more might there be--those little typos and glitches that seem to appear when you shut down the computer. My husband, bless him, took care of the majority of dinner prep and let me keep working. By 10:30 p.m., I'd done all I could and sent them off to Australia for my editor's approval.

I discovered a style convention I was unaware of when it comes to breaking a single line of dialogue with a beat. Normally I'd use dashes, but the publisher prefers nothing at all.

My editor and I are also having a friendly discussion about the use of "all of a sudden." She says there's no such thing as half of a sudden, and therefore, all of a sudden makes no sense. She's the editor, so she killed them. I believe she left two instances of the expression in the other novel that's just going into the FLE queue. We'll have to see if the FLE editor allows them to slide by.