“F” Is For Focus, Future and Facts!

Ok, I know I’m a little annoying, like the bride-to-be who won’t stop talking about her wedding or the Christmas Morning Mother with the camera that never stops. That’s me folks!! I am sooo tired, but my mind is racing with all the new information, the new focus, the future and all the myths I buried and facts I unearthed about the publishing industry, writing and people in general at the New York Pitch Conference these last four days!

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Nobody got anywhere by being mousy and quiet and staying out of the way….. I want my name in this building someday and for that to happen, I have to be a little annoying, a little pushy, most of all, with myself!!

FOCUS:

I learned you have to be focused in all you do. Like, the tiny things. It’s not just about focusing on writing. It’s about you’re writing being focused, staying a course, not just running off a page where no one wants to follow it!

FUTURE:

There’s so much to do. Editing, querying and more books to come!

FACTS:

A novel is NOT 50,000 words…(NANO)… more like 65-120, depending on genre. 50k is a novella. Point of view and tense are huge. Even if an editor or agent picks up your crappy grammar & craft book, because the story is THAT great, if you think some intern is going to go through and take care of the stuff your fourth grade teacher kept harping on you about, you are wrong! Do you want seven rewrites or three? And THAT is best case scenario. MANY agents and editors would see those errors and throw Harry Potter in the recycle bin.

If you don’t have a good pitch, you don’t have a good book.

Self-publishing does NOT mean that ms is done, never viable for mainstream. It all depends.

Dialogue is NOT mandatory. Unnecessary dialogue will ruin you!

Do ALOT of research on who you are pitching or querying….. do they hate prologues? memoirs? emails? Surely they’ve been quoted in a rant or an interview….find out!!!  If you’re going to be rejected, let it be for a good, real reason. Not because your potential agent hates flashbacks and your book opens with one.  That does NOT mean change your book, necessarily. It means maybe that agent isn’t for you, maybe you tweak things to get your foot in the door.

It only takes one. Who cares if 200 turn you down. It only takes one.

When an agent/editor says no. That means no.

 

 

Wow.

So much has happened in my brain.

Gotta go home and sleep…kiss the dog and feed the husband and see what tomorrow brings.

ch

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“E” is for The Empire State…

I,m here!!!

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I’ve been in my favorite city for less than four hours and I have already seen and done so much!!

It’s crazy to think I was in a cab on my way to the hotel four hours ago. Since then I checked in, walked about 60 blocks to and from the conference venue to make sure I knew where I was going tomorrow. My hotel is a few blocks from NYU/Union Square and my conference is near Times Square. I have seen a million people, bought some shoes (cause I had to do that or hail a cab…same money, but the shoes are mine now!)… all I packed was heels and boots….major fail. How do all these women do it!!??  I have seen screaming cab drivers, homeless people, panhandlers, dirty water dogs, Park Avenue & Fifth Avenue…. cars stacked four high in a parking lot, the cutest, groomed, chocolate brown poodle I have ever seen….about fifty Starbucks and bicycles you can rent like a stroller at the mall. 🙂

I saw boys walking home from private school with their Polo neckties tied around their heads, a toddler lining up miniature pumpkins on the steps to his brownstone as his mother looked on, a luxury baby store with burlap light bulbs decorating the nursery in the window, a man singing on a street corner like no one was watching and  NYPD & FDNY running lights and sirens more than once.

It was hard to focus on why I am here. I could be out there still just watching and walking and soaking it in, but I am back in my room for the night, ready to rest up for the big day tomorrow.

I’ve checked and rechecked my work. I am confident, but still nervous.

See you in twenty-four hours with a full report.

ch

Tick Tock

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Assignments for the writer’s conference submitted!

Ready for New York….sort of.

My book is ready. It’s just the rest of me that’s not quite together….

 

It’s been a hellish month. But why wouldn’t it be?

ch

“D” Is For Dad; The Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Write

I thought I was a writer. Until today.

Today I wrote my father-in-law’s obituary. I would rather write a thousand books in Japanese, but it was an honor.

Goodnight Ronnie.

Ronald K. Hearn

Ronald Keith Hearn passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 13, 2014 at Leisure Homestead in St. John, Kansas, where he had recently made his home after a long illness.

He was a lifetime resident of Stafford Kansas.

“Ronnie” was born on July 14, 1945 in Stafford, Kansas to Howard and Esther (Hildebrand) Hearn. He attended Stafford Schools all his young life. His marriage to Donna Ruth Mitzner produced two sons, Brandon Keith and Brian Matthew.

Ronnie worked as a farmer and a seed salesman before becoming a janitor for Stafford Schools for many years. He shared a jovial spirit and was known for his smile and laughter. He suffered from health issues most of his adult life, but was still an avid fisherman, enjoyed his home town and expressed constant pride in his sons and grandchildren. He was also very close to his brother Merlyn, nephew Tyler and his wife and daughters, Carissa, Madilyn & Kynlee.

He is survived by his son, Electric Superintendent Brandon Hearn and wife Cherilyn of Neodesha, Kansas; his son, Master Sargeant Brian Hearn of Steelville, Missouri; grandchildren Makayla, Alexandra, Renae, Colton, Peyton, Jesse & Gunner and one great-granddaughter, Marley Raelynn. Also surviving are his former wife Donna Hearn of Stafford, Kansas; brother Merlyn Hearn and wife Diana of Stafford, Kansas; nephew Brent Hearn and wife Marsella and their daughter Melea of Stafford, Kansas; nephew Bradley Hearn; close friends Chuck & Lucille Richardson, Jim Smith, Ray Felton & Julie Blea and many more close friends and extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Carolyn (Hearn) Reimer.

Graveside services will take place at the Stafford Cemetery, Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 1pm. A reception will follow at the Stafford Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the Stafford Methodist Church

Dad was a God fearing man who was at peace, ready to join his Heavenly Father, to watch over his family forevermore.

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ch

‘C’ Is For Comparables…. the Hardest Challenge Ever!!!

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I can honestly say….trying to isolate two solid comps for my book, is harder than writing the book itself!!

Comparables have to be in the same genre and be similar to your book… not necessarily in story or characters or specifics, but in how it communicates with the same target audience, approaches a problem and attracts readers. Bleh!

I encourage ANY and ALL English or writing teachers to treat the study of genre as if it were as important as the craft of writing itself… because it is!

Had my teachers done this, I would be better off.

So far I have ONE comp.

I have read about ten new books. Another one, Lucky by Alice Sebold, was just recommended and I downloaded on my Kindle today. My fingers are crossed. 🙂

In lighter news…. I have a new travel/duffel and crossover bag for my trip to the conference. This girl does NOT check luggage!

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ch 

‘B’ Is For Books!!

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Yes, I am still alive. Some out of town time and being sick has me about a week behind in the world…

 

Three weeks til conference!

Wrote preface for a new book… Safe In The Middle.

 

B is for books…. A-Z blog…

Books. Supposed to be what our lives revolve around right? So I’m knee deep in these conference assignments and I’m realizing that I have to face a dreadful fact that I have always known. I am NOT well-read. I write, but I don’t READ!!  Enough, anyway.

Now that I am learning about genre and comparables, I am needing to just know a lot of books off the top of my head and I don’t! I have always felt bad in conversations where authors are throwing a lot of other writers’ names around and I have not heard of everyone and read everything. Of course there is so much out there…. you can’t read it all, but it always seems like everyone is reading more than me. Of course, to be a good writer, you have to read.

I love to read. That’s not the problem at all. It’s usually time that I cite as my excuse. But now that I’m in the crunch, I know that’s not it either, because I’m reading about a book every other day to try and catch up!! 

So… take advantage of my reading with these three reviews….

What Crazy Looks Like On Any Given Day, by Pearl Cleage

Every Last One, by Anna Quindlen

Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume

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All great and I really think any woman would like them…. although they are all different.

Summer Sisters could be appreciated by any woman of any age, and probably Every Last One as well.

If you don’t like surprises, Anna Quindlen may disappoint you, but I think predictable reading is awful.

Pearl Cleage is African American, as are her characters and she touches on a lot of things involving some controversial issues, times and people in this book. Not really a warning, because it wasn’t a rant at all. It still had warmth and love and all the things women look for in a fiction curl up.

 

Unfortunately….only one of these can be considered in my opinion, as a comparable, so the search continues…

I must continue this pattern of reading, even after conference.

ch

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