Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Little Things

When I started the insane journey of seeking publication, I encountered roadblocks right away. Not the agent's genre, poorly written, unlikeable characters, confused plot, etc.

These were all great lessons and I have since been able to solve the majority of those problems in most of my projects.

Now I'm much closer in my journey. I've had times where I was millimeters away from getting representation, but was turned down in the end. I've received enough feedback to learn that I missed my chance due to some of THE LITTLE THINGS.

Those little things can make you or break you. Here a few:

1.) WORD COUNT: I did a post on it

2.) Character motivation, (Even the little ones): If a character does something that doesn't make sense, that could be your death knell.

3.) Typos/ punctuation errors: Agents and publishers are getting less "editorial" every day. The closer a manuscript is ready to be set in type, the better. Also, you want to look like a professional, right?

4.) Wandering away from the story: Stephen King says that editing is "Taking out all the things that are not the story" This is where your betas achieve sainthood, but you must also be vigilant. Don't let side characters hijack the story.

5.) Adverbs and cliches: An agent once said about one of my projects, "The fine line between satire and cliche was a bit indistinct for my taste" Though I was like, "Score! She spotted the satire!" I went back to work on making the manuscript more original. Adding depth to the characters and their motivation really helped with that.

In short, your manuscript must be perfect when you submit it. Not just "pretty good" but perfect. Scared yet? Good, I'd love the company! :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Twitter/Blog contest winners!

Yay! My 1000th follower and first winner is: Tarrant Smith!

My random 2 blog follower winners are: Sean Poindexter and Christie (Fiction Enthusiast)

My randomly drawn winner from the comments is: Sterling!

Yay-yeah Congrats to you all. Twitter and my blog wouldn't be fun without you guys!

Again, here's the prize list:

1.)FRANKENSTEIN, by Mary Shelley

2.) INFERNO, the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

3.) UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

4.) JANE EYRE, by Charlotte Bronte

5.) THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, by William Strunk and E.B. White

Email me your address and prize selection to

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review of THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN, by SARAH JANE STRATFORD and Author interview!

I met Sarah-Jane on Twitter. I don’t remember who followed who first, but I do remember reading her profile and saying, “Wow, you write historical vampire novels, me too!” I looked up her novel, THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN, read the blurbs and raving reviews, and was intrigued. I ordered it immediately.

THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN is set during the beginning of World War II. Five Millennials (vampires 1000+ yrs old) are on a mission to take down the Nazi regime and ultimately stop a war that would diminish their food supply. Also, the Nazis have employed a special class of hunters trained to destroy their kind. Vampires vs. Nazis, who can resist! The story is told mostly in the point of view of the vampire, Brigit, who is a delightful bad-ass. She and her team of Millennials give a whole new meaning to the word “bloodthirsty.” The carnage is as breath-taking as the love-scenes are poignant and erotic. Speaking of love, the back-stories of Brigit and her love, Eamon (who is not a millennial yet, and tragically must stay home) give a depth of character that is rarely seen in vampire novels these days.

This novel was a complete treat to read. It was like INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE meets INGLORIOUS BASTERDS meets NATURAL BORN KILLERS. It kept me guessing the whole way through and the final result, though unexpected, left me wholly satisfied, and there were enough loose ends left over to give me hope for a sequel. I think I dreamed about it the night I finished it. The only issue I had with this novel was that the scenes were not in chronological order, like a Tarentino movie, and I had to check the dates at the beginning of each chapter to keep track of what was going on. But once I got used to the pattern, it was a great ride.

To my excitement: Ms. Stratford has volunteered to do an interview. (Thunderous Applause) Welcome, Sarah Jane!

So, my first question is: Vampires vs. Nazis…whatever provided the inspiration for such an awesome concept?

It was all Brigit. The character came to me – this vampire, during World War II, trying to escape Germany – and of course I had to follow her and find out where she had been and what was happening. So in many ways, the story just unfolded before me and I was beside myself with excitement. I was a big Buffy fan, so vampires were in the back of my brain. And World War II is a period I've always found fascinating – humanity at its most monstrous and yet we also see so many ordinary people rising up to be bigger and better than they might otherwise have been in order to fight the horror. So beyond the more intimate story, I was eager to explore the juxtaposition of the perceived evil of vampires vs. the true evil of the Nazis. It was this wonderful question: What does it mean to be "human"?

Your story is full of action and evocative description, and I think it would make a kick-ass movie. Any word on that being possible? Could Quentin Tarantino direct it?

Thank you! There has been a lot of interest from Hollywood, so we'll see what happens. I've written screenplays before and would love to turn Brigit's story into a script. Fingers crossed.

I’m sure you knew this one was coming: What made you decide to stray from a chronological formula?

(Grin) I knew there were going to be three emotionally intertwining stories, so it felt natural to weave them together in a pattern, rather than keep them separate. For me – and Brigit – it was all about history. The past informs the present, so it seemed right that Eamon would retrace the past as a way of keeping Brigit in his present, while also trying to assist her now, in his unique idiom. And by the same token, Brigit's most recent past is a tool for attempting to comprehend her utterly bizarre present. I know it's a bit tricky – it was tricky to write, too – but I'm hoping people find it ultimately rewarding.

There were a few loose ends that left me screaming for more. Is there a sequel in the works?

There is indeed. I don't want to say too much, but let's just say we find out a lot about a certain sexy bald vampire.

Mmmm…. Mors. Where was I? Oh, yeah. As I said before, I discovered you and THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN from Twitter. Have you bought books because of Twitter?

Bought books, gone to events, met amazing people in real life – Twitter is phenomenal. It's a wonderful community. My only regret is not having gotten on sooner, but I'm attempting to make up for that now.

Thanks so much for coming! The Midnight Guardian can be purchased here:

Sarah Jane will be around to answer questions, so ask away!

Update on my twitter/blog contest: I didn't forget about you guys. I'll be drawing winners in about 2 weeks, when I have money for postage. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Honeymoon!

I meant to post this sooner, but I've been super-busy.
We went to Seattle, and it was my first away-vacation in my adult life. There were many mishaps before hand with money and transportation, but thanks to friends, family and my awesome brave car, we made it.

One of the first places we went was the waterfront.

We visited Ye Olde Curiosity Shop and I got my picture taken with a mummy.

I had a blast in the international district.

We went into this awesome tea place called "New Century Tea Gallery" where we sampled some excellent tea and the guy did really cool tricks with it.

The Pike Place Market rocked. Though I didn't get to see them throw fish...or the protesters from PETA :(. But we went into a hat store and Damian tried on a pirate hat and did the Captain Morgan pose.

I loved the aquarium:

Looking at all those sea creatures made me hungry for sea creatures.

But when I ate a sea snail, things didn't go so well:

Later I learned that I ate the wrong part.

We went to the Space Needle with my best friend:

Everything is hilarious when she's around. My husband was very tolerant of our insanity... though in this pic it looks like he's pretending he doesn't know us.

We had a lot of fun and memories to last a lifetime, but I was still happy to be back home in Coeur d'Alene.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Wedding!

Omg, you guys, my wedding was awesome! It was more than practically everything going as planned.

We were married at my grandma's beautiful tree farm in Hayden Lake.

My husband made the cake and it was delicious. It had huckleberry filling and cream cheese frosting. MMMM! And everyone loved the cake topper I made.

My dress fit and I had lilacs, which are my favorite.

The groom was HOT and the kids looked great.

The wedding party looked awesome!

And afterwards, I finally got the picture of me biting the octopus on the corner of 4th and Coeur d'Alene.

SIGH! It was perfect. Stay tuned for the honeymoon recap.