Monday, March 12, 2012

In which I share my insomniatic ramblings...

Yeah, it's a word... Maybe. Ok, no.

I've just plotted through my second act of my WIP. I am a self-proclaimed pantser to the very end. Thing is, I already pantsed it in my had, so I'm just storyboarding it so I can remember when I have time to write. I love all of my characters and I'll probably think this about every WIP, but this one is special. The characters are angsty and snarky (not at all like me), but also deep.

People keep asking me how I could just sit down and write a book. But it doesn't really happen that way at all. Ever since I can remember, I've existed at least 50% of the time inside my own head. Stories just happen in there, either based off of things that are happening to me at the time, or just craziness out of nowhere. Back when I was a kid (but older than I wish I was), I would use things like dolls and toys to help work out the story. It looked like I was just playing make believe like a regular kid--but I was most assuredly never a 'regular kid'. At times I would even have a cast list with full names (first, middle, and last) for each of my characters, and I would write down major plot points while I was working them out. I could do that for hours but, eventually the story would collapse in my young mind, and I would get frustrated and give it up for days at a time.

While age may have tempered my imagination a bit, it has allowed me to be able to work around the inevitable collapse of the story. Once I was able to do that, I just started writing them down. I really can't say why I felt capable of being able to put it on paper (so to speak) because I have no formal training and no background in writing, other than having been good at it in school. Most of my knowledge of writing comes from, well, reading. But that is a valuable resource for a writer--possibly even an underestimated one.

The coming week, and most definitely the coming month, will be bringing about many exciting changes for me. I've got some things to sort out on the business end of things, but it's quite possible that I may be getting published in the near future. While it's so exciting and so freaking scary at the same time, it makes me feel a lot better about my WIP. Kind of hard to pour yourself into a sequel if there's a chance the first might flop.

In other news, I am trying to convince my friend Amanda Sue Paige to come to New Orleans with me for (up to) four nights of Tab Benoit and other musical greatness. Woo! Until next time y'all.

ETA: I have my hair pulled back with a twist tie. Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A week in the life...

...of a reluctant housewife, apparently. I've just completed my first week of not working, and it is definitely different. While it's nice to have some time to get things done that I never used to have time for, I don't think I'm cut out for the whole stay-at-home thing. However, after speaking with former coworkers, it's clear that I made the right decision.

In other news, two agents are currently reviewing my first 50 pages. This is an awesome thing! I don't want to get my hopes up too high, as they both might hate the writing... but it's encouraging that people like the concept. It may be within the realm of possibility for me to get representation. That's only half the battle, but it's arguably the hardest half. Once you sign with an agent, you have someone in your corner for the rest of it.

I'll keep everyone updated! Until next time...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sure looks good to me

So don’t rain on my parade
Life’s too short to waste one day.
I’m gonna risk it all, the freedom to fall
Yes it sure looks good to me
- Alicia Keys
I have finally taken the leap to do something about my unhappiness in the last few months. With respect for the fact that this is a public forum, I will simply say this: I was unhappy at my job and disagreed with a lot of the things that went on there, so I resigned.

James and I kicked the idea around for months, because it was definitely a scary thing, willingly going down to one income. I also struggled with guilt, because I know there are many people out there who would kill to just have steady paycheck. But I finally realized that me being absolutely miserable didn't affect anyone else's job status. It just put one more miserable person in the world.

Life is too short to spend any large amount of it dreading getting up in the morning. Eventually, the choice to leave became no choice at all, but the only option. I expected to work a two weeks notice, or perhaps train a new hire, but I was immediately released. That makes it so much harder on the other employees which I regret, but I was honestly relieved.

We have a very concrete plan as to how we are going to get by. I already have one interview set up, and I am glad to have the opportunity to slow down and find something that is write for me. I've also gotten a request for some sample pages from another literary agent, so I'm hoping to find representation soon. On top of all that, I'll hopefully be doing some freelance graphics as well.

So this is a very, very good thing for me. I'll miss my friends at work, but we weren't allowed to talk to each other anyway, so as long as we keep in touch, nothing should change. I'm excited for this new chapter in my life. Until next time....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Theme Song Monday!

I've totally found a theme song for book two and, quite possibly, my life from here on out! Check it:

Bush - "She's a Stallion"
Fave track off their new album.

That is all.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Excerpt Sunday!

Here is an excerpt that may give away a little more plot/genre than I originally wanted to, but I love this scene. I am deleting a character name because I don't want to give away that much.

Again, we join Ray in the midst of his trials and tribulations. You should remember that Ray is not one of the main characters, but an important secondary character since he is the father of one of the MC's. He might possibly be my favorite character though, which is why I continue to share him with you. Enjoy.

Ray hit the floor hard. He spat out a mouthful of blood, watching it splatter on the concrete, and glared at his captors with the one eye that wasn’t swollen shut. Feeling around with his tongue, he checked one of his back molars on the side where the goon had clobbered him. Yep, loose. Bastard.

Levering his body up with his hands, he struggled into a sitting position. The clicking of high heels on the hard floor announced [????]’s return. Stopping in front of him, she cocked her head to one side, ebony hair cascading over her shoulders, and she looked entirely too innocent for the evil Ray knew has hidden inside.

Clucking her tongue and shaking her head at him, she crouched so they were eye level to one another. “Oh, beauty, I told you to do this the easy way, didn’t I?”

Ray swiped the back of his hand across his mouth, smearing the blood on his lips. Glancing at the red stain, he laughed bitterly and gave her an incredulous stare. “That was the easy way?”

“Of course, pet. You have information I need. And since you weren’t willing to give it up with a little… encouragement, I shall have to take it from you.”

That was all the warning he got before she seized his head in an iron grip, her claw-like nails digging into his skin, drawing blood. Again, he felt the searing pain lance through his brain, scraping the inside of his skull.

It was all the more unbearable because of the direct contact with her. His entire being was paralyzed, his eyes frozen open. Tears streamed down his cheeks from his inability to blink. He tried desperately to fight, to even think about fighting, but it was impossible.

He felt a sharp tug deep in the back of his mind, as if she were extracting a piece of him. An image of Raven’s face, swimming in his field of vision, was the last thing he saw before his world went dark.

Just finished up
another scene and I am taking a break for a little while. Maybe I'll read something. Until next time...

Submission Stats

Very sick today, so not going to write much. Just a quick update on the stats for my querying. So far, I've queried a total of 21 agents. Here are the stats so far:

Request for samples=1
Still waiting=17

Going out of my mind here, people! Just have to keep on trucking, because I know I've got something here. I've made a lot of new friends in the literary community as well, mostly through twitter. It's a very supportive industry, unlike many others. I look forward to being a part of it. Until next time...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm sick, therefore I'm bored...

This is the first time I've started a post from the front end... Interesting. I have been out sick from work since 9am yesterday. I really hate doing nothing, and I always hope that when I am unable to work, I'll still be able to write, read, do anything else useful. But all I feel like doing is lying in bed like a big puddle of sludge.

I have done a few useful things, but not really the ones that I would rather do. Paid a couple of bills, queried some more agencies, and now I'm blogging. Overall, since I made the decision to start querying agents, I have sent letters to 16 agencies. So far, two passes, and one request for sample pages. The waiting is hard, but it will definitely be worth it in the end if I can accomplish my goals.

Here's a little tidbit of info about the books because I'm feeling generous:
Plot setting:
Book 1: Scotland (Primary) & New Orleans
Book 2: North Carolina Mountains (Primary), Las Vegas & New Orleans
Book 3: New Orleans, secondary locales TBD

That's it for now as I go back to wallowing. Until next time.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Did someone say excerpt?

I've finally had time to look for it, so here it is, folks. The long awaited excerpt from #1. I searched for a piece that is interesting enough to post, yet doesn't give away much of the plot, genre, or characterization. All you really find out for sure is three of the characters' names. But are they the main characters? I'll never tell.
This excerpt is rated R for light profanity. If you will be offended by it (Mom, et. al.) do not read it. I won't be responding to comments about language. That said, I hope you enjoy it, and yet you remain in the dark about any important details!

Jeremiah poured himself a cup of coffee from the carafe in the main room of the police station. Looking down into his cup, he blinked in horror at the black, oily swill. So the cliché of bad PD coffee was true, he thought. Damned if he didn’t doctor it up and drink it anyway.

He had been pacing the dirty brown, low-pile carpet for nearly half an hour, all the while glaring daggers at the various officers seated at their desks. “Chief got held up,” they had said. Bullshit. Jeremiah knew that they had left Isla twisting in the wind to try and scare her into giving something up. Problem was, there was nothing to give up.

All it was really going to do was piss her off and make her less cooperative. He could practically feel her energy simmering across his skin. He wondered that the officers couldn’t feel it too.

He turned his head at the perfect moment to catch sight of Isla’s falsely angelic smile fill the closed circuit monitor. As quickly as that happened, the feed snowed out and switched off. And the wires running to the monitor sparked, just for good measure.

Cursing under his breath, Jere looked around to see if anyone saw what happened. A tubby officer got up from his desk to slap the monitor a couple of times, then shrugged and sat back down. Thank fuck he didn’t make any connection with the woman in the room. Keep it together, Isla, he thought.

Finally, Chief Sinclair emerged from his office looking grim. He nodded to Jeremiah, but said nothing as he made his way down the hall to the interrogation room. As the Chief disappeared behind the beat up metal door, Jeremiah clenched his fists and resumed pacing. This was not going well.

I submitted queries to two more agents tonight. We'll see what comes of that. Until next time, little darlings.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Let's talk about...

Let’s talk about getting older. My dearest darling husband—who doesn’t read my blog, therefore will never see this—rejoices in the fact that for 19 days out of the year, he is two years younger than me.

I know that should probably bother me, but it really doesn’t. I’m not too concerned about getting older. It happens. So does turning thirty this weekend freak me out? Not really. What freaks me out is life in general, and how we have no control over anything.

We can really only control what we do and how we react to things, but that doesn’t necessarily have any impact on what will actually happen. If, like me, you don’t believe in predestination, everything is simply up in the air, completely left up to chance, to God, to whatever you believe. Anything but your own will.

That can be kind of scary. Will you find a job? Will you be liked and get hired by someone? Does someone like your resume? Your personality? Do they hate your hair or your clothes, and will that influence their decision about what happens in your life?

Will you have a child? Can you have a child? Will someone like your idea, your writing, your artwork, your—fill in talent here—? I find it astounding how many times another person, a stranger, holds your fate in their hands, and will never know how that affects your life. Hell, they’ll never know how it affects their life, even.

Can you tell I’m getting a little frustrated? It seems like no matter how hard you work, how well you prepare, how good a job you do, it most often comes down to someone else’s decision. That is a hard thing to deal with, constantly waiting for that call or email that could change your life or, at least, your immediate future.

So at 12:30ish a.m. on Sunday, I will turn thirty, and that is just fine with me. J Until next time, I leave you with my updated playlist for book number 2:

Old Crow Medicine Show - Highway Halo

Tab Benoit - Unknown Legend

Glee Cast - Blackbird

Bush - Body

Matt Morris - 100,000 Strong & Bloodline

Justin Timberlake Ft. - Damn Girl

Radiohead - Street Spirit

The Black Keys - Sinister Kid (That is Matthieu's theme song, he will be the main character in book 3)

Gavin Degraw - Sweeter, Not Over You & Run Every Time

Brandon Flowers - On The Floor & Crossfire

Kerli - Bullet Proof

Adele - Rumour Has It

Audioslave - I Am the Highway

Rihanna - Rockstar 101, Russian Roulette

Jonny Lang - Turn Around

Joe Bonamassa - Black Lung Heartache

Tokyo Hotel Ft. Kerli – Strange

Eminem – Love the Way You Lie

Kerli – Creepshow

Billy Currington – Heal Me

Pearl Jam – Even Flow

Monday, January 30, 2012


I'm sitting here watching these poor, sad women cry on the Bachelor, so this is as good a time as any to blog.

Many of you know that I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to start querying literary agents. I was nervous about the whole thing, thinking you'd have to pay them a bunch of money just to get them to try and sell your book. I did a little more research and they are just like any other type of agent, they get a percentage of the profits only if they sell your book. So that makes them motivated.

I queried four big agencies with authors on their roster that I recognized. There are thousands of agencies out there, but I decided I may as well aim high. I found one particular agent's blog when I was researching how to write a good query letter. I sent a query to the agent that was currently accepting submissions, and I got a request for the first 30 pages. It's kind of irritating because it's supposed to be double spaced--so in reality, it's only the first 15 of the manuscript. But it's still a nice chunk of the story for them to get an idea.

I follow this agent on twitter, and she posted that she gets over 200 query letters a DAY. So it's easy to fall through the cracks. This, and the feedback I've been getting from publishers, tells me that my idea, at least, is a good one. It will all come down to whether or not they like my writing.

I think I'm a good writer, but then again, it is hard to look at your own work with an objective, critical eye. And I have read published books that are far worse than mine in both premise and execution.

Most people might think that actually dreaming up the idea and the story--beginning, middle, end--is the hardest part of fiction writing. Not so for me. The story is there, along with about three others, constantly going through my head like a movie reel. The challenge for me is getting it all down on paper... er, screen, and doing it justice. Imagine trying to translate a conversation in French when you just learned the language, and the speakers are going a mile a minute. That's kind of what it's like.

Anyway, I am preparing for the worst (another rejection) and hoping for the best. If I can get an agent to back me, it opens my options up to more publishers who don't take unsolicited work. The big dogs like Bantam, Random House, Grand Central, Harper Collins, etc. So it's worth trying for.

Look forward to more excerpts this week, and a synopsis of my fabulous 30th Birthday Bash, and my first super bowl party in 9 years. Until next time!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Silence the Voices

Been under a lot of stress the past couple of weeks. I mean, a lot. I won't go into detail as this blog is public, but there has been turmoil in my life. My husband, my friends, my family, have all been very supportive--but sometimes there's just nothing anyone can do. Nothing can fix it but time and opportunity. Even the book I was reading was stressing me out, it was so emotional. Sometimes it's just all more than you can handle.

One of the biggest disappointments has been that the stress has strangled my ability to write. I don't think I've written a word since my last blog post. It hasn't even been lack of time or energy, either. The story is on pause, the voices have stopped. And you know, you don't realize how quiet it is without them.

I had some time to recharge this week, though. I had the pleasure of seeing Tab Benoit perform again, at one of my favorite places, the Double Door. The show always blows me away, the sound is pure and raw, uplifting when you really need it. The audience is genuine and good natured, and it's all around fun. Always a privilege, we got to spend some time with Tab Benoit and bassist Corey Duplechin after the show. Talking and joking at the bar, just like regular people. That's what's so good about it. However, it is always disappointing when it's over, knowing it will be awhile before they come back to town. But at least I know when this time. July!!!!

So the story has turned back on a little, I just haven't been able to calm down enough to write anything yet. Sometimes life gets in the way. But we'll see how it all plays out, won't we? Until next time...

Where are the songs from the sane minds?
And where are words from the sound mouths?
I can't understand how they silence the voices.
-Chris Cornell

Monday, January 16, 2012

Positive Rejection

If you follow me on facebook, then you know that today I got my first response back from a publisher: pass.

You would probably consider that to be a big disappointment to me, and it probably would have been, had I not prepared myself for what an arduous journey this could possibly be. Also, the editor's friendliness and words of encouragement really helped to soften the blow.

So here's how I'm going to break it down:

  • Today was really not a good day for finding out this kind of news, and I did have a brief moment of wanting to curl up in a ball and cry. Had it not come on such a day, I doubt I would have had any kind of negative reaction.
  • This response came from the only publisher that I had received an actual confirmation from a human being that they were reading my manuscript. Which means I'm much more in the dark now than I was before.
  • The simple fact of having my 'baby', my brainchild, be rejected.


  • Words from the editor [names were removed]: "Thank you for submitting your manuscript to [Publisher]. [Head Editor] thought this premise was highly intriguing and very fresh. It has a great setting and a fascinating cast of characters."
  • The reason they decided to pass was highly subjective and another publisher/editor may not have the same concerns.
  • The fact that they took the time to respond and give me feedback is a compliment in and of itself. That doesn't always happen.
  • For a first submission from an unpublished and unrepresented writer, even getting a rejection with such positive feedback is more encouraging than disparaging.
  • If it turns out I don't get any takers, the feedback lets me know that I do have something worth trying to self publish

All in all, I would consider this more success than failure. I was more freaked out by the fact that someone actually read my book, rather than the rejection itself.

This publisher actually has the shortest turn around time--8 to 12 weeks, and they got back to me at 8 weeks to the day--while most of the other publishers are anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks, which is well into March. Unfortunately, it is encouraged to wait the full amount of time before inquiring into the progress. I am still hopeful because I'll be honest and say that I have read worse books than mine.

Until next time, I'll leave you with this:

You might be in trouble
You might be running
But it's never too late to turn around
'cause as long as you're still breathing
There'll always be enough time
To make the right decision before you die, because
The choices you make might be mistakes
But it's never too late to turn around, turn around
The road that you take might lead you astray
But don't be afraid to turn around, turn around

-Jonny Lang, Turn Around

Friday, January 13, 2012

Excerpt Time!

Ok, folks, it's time for another excerpt from book number two. This one is about good ol' Ray again. Ray is actually a secondary character, but he plays a very important part. A lot of his mannerisms and euphemisms are modeled after my dear departed friend Ray Blackeagle. And for those who would seek to grammerize me (Mom), remember that these are excerpts from an unfinished--and unedited--manuscript. :)

Ray didn't move a muscle when he came to, with his arms and legs bound to a ladder back chair. Just kept his head hanging down limply, eyes closed. How the hell had he gotten here? Right, he'd been snatched by the crazy bitch and her two goombahs. And from the way his skull ached, he must have gotten clobbered something fierce.

He cracked his eyelids the tiniest bit to assess his surroundings. It was dark, the room illuminated only by a couple of flickering fluorescent lights. He appeared to be in an abandoned warehouse, furnished with nothing but a few chairs and a tool cabinet.

Somebody's been watching too much Law & Order, he thought. Unable to help himself, he tensed when he heard the distinct sound of high heels approaching. The sound got nearer and nearer until it stopped completely.

He could sense her in front of him, pure malice emanating from her in waves, nearly as tangible as the chair he sat in.

"I know you're awake, Raymonde," she said in a singsong voice, making him hate the sound of his given name rolling off her tongue.

No longer seeing any point in the pretense, he raised his head and glared at her. "What could you possibly want with me? I. Have. Nothing."

She chuckled as she paced in front of him, and the sound made his skin crawl. "The answer to that is very simple, I'm surprised you haven't figured it out already."

His fingers ghosted over the bindings on his wrists, searching for a loose end. Got to keep her talking. "By all means, enlighten me."

"I want my daughter, Raymonde, and you are going to tell me where she is."

"The hell I am."

That is all for now. I love that my tv has an ipod dock. Aaaaanywho, I'm still looking for an excerpt from book one that doesn't give anything away. It may have to be a really short one. Just for fun, here is my current playlist for book 2:

Old Crow Medicine Show - Highway Halo
Tab Benoit - Unknown Legend
Glee Cast - Blackbird (This scene made me squee!!)
Bush - Body
Matt Morris - 100,000 Strong & Bloodline
Justin Timberlake Ft. - Damn Girl
Radiohead - Street Spirit
The Black Keys - Sinister Kid (That is Matthieu's theme song, he will be the main character in book 3)
Gavin Degraw - Sweeter, Not Over You & Run Every Time
Brandon Flowers - On The Floor & Crossfire
Kerli - Bullet Proof
Adele - Rumour Has It
Audioslave - I Am the Highway
Rihanna - Rockstar 101
Jonny Lang - Turn Around
Joe Bonamassa - Black Lung Heartache
Tokyo Hotel Ft. Kerli - Strange

Does that give you any plot clues? If you haven't checked out any of these songs/artists, you should. Until next time...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Onwards and Upwards - 35K+ on book number 2

Just wrote a killer scene today. Thanks Adele for writing Rumour Has It. Kept up my pace. It's hard to believe I'm a third of the way through the second book.

I'm keeping a playlist on my iphone for every time I run across a song that gets me thinking about a scene or one of my characters, or one that sets a good pace for writing. It will be interesting to see what all ends up on the playlist at the end. I did the same thing with the first one, I just didn't keep a list. I know better this time.

It's hard to believe it's only been 7 weeks since I submitted my manuscript to the first publisher. It feels like forever. Most of the "deadlines" are well into February, but would it kill them to give me an update?

I've been searching for an excerpt to post from my first book but, as of yet I haven't been able to find one that doesn't reveal the genre or major plot events. My mom asked me if it was a mystery, a drama, a love story, a thriller, etc. My answer was yes. Does that give anyone a clue? :)

There have been some interesting developments in other parts of my life... can't really reveal anything yet, but stay tuned (no I'm not pregnant). Until next time.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

How About an Excerpt?

I thought I would post a series of a few excerpts just for fun. They will most likely not give away any plot details or clues to the subject matter, so it will just be a big tease. :) So here is an excerpt from my second story:

Ray took a long, deep breath of the dry desert air. The first true fresh air he'd had in three years. Because it was his second strike, he'd gotten the max--five--but good behavior had gotten him early parole.

He had done a lot of work on himself on the inside this time, getting clean, seeing a counselor. Hell, he'd even got an associates degree in business. Go figure. He was determined to make it stick this time.

Of course, he'd already lost the most important thing in his life. His daughter. Raven had taken off when he was hauled in the first time. She'd been fifteen, young and jaded, tired of being disappointed every time he failed to sober up.

He'd always wondered where CPS got off, dumping an innocent four year old on a twenty five year old alcoholic con artist. Yeah, he hadn't had a record, 'cept for that stint in Saint Bernard Parish Juvenile Detention Center, of course.

Maybe they truly were underfunded enough to dump any kid on an available parent, that they didn't research him enough. God, he loved her, but the poor kid hadn't stood a chance. Maybe if they'd told him about her ahead of time, given him a chance to get sober, find a legit job, he might have made a halfway decent father.

Well, if wishes were horses then beggars would ride, as the saying went. So he'd raised her the best he knew how. It was no small wonder she didn't run away before she did. They'd kept in touch, and once she partnered up with Stiles and Nash and started the company, he was kept updated on her life.

But after the second time he as arrested, the calls slowed to almost nonexistent, the visits stopped. She never visited him in prison. He didn't blame her. He didn't want the stink of his incarceration to taint her.

So, yeah, he was determined to make it stick this time.

Hope y'all enjoyed that little bit. Until next time.