Thoughty Thursday: things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 20-26, 2014

I guess this is the week for controversial stuff. PEN Canada, and other charitable organizations who engage in “political” activism are now under investigation by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Here’s a post by Charity Village on the same subject.

The Winnipeg Free Press offers a list of the organizations under investigation.

It’s just disturbing to me that all of these organizations are being audited. It continues the trend of cutbacks, suppression, and outright antagonism toward the sciences, and environmental and arts organizations in this country.

That’s all I’m saying about that.

Carmine Gallo explores the science behind TED’s 18 minute presentation rule. My trainer geek emerged. This is the 90-20-10 rule. People can listen with attention for 90 minutes (think about the timing of your breaks and lunch at work). They can listen and understand for about 20 minutes. The trainer or presenter (in-person) should change things up every 10 minutes. Virtual is a whole different ball game 😉

And speaking of TED, here’s Ze Frank’s very brief, Are You Human?

 

Frances Caballo offers a concise, yet comprehensive guide to Twitter for writers. The Book Designer.

Elizabeth J. Griffin, MD discloses her struggle with depression and what most people don’t understand.

The relationship between creativity and mental illness, on Brainpickings.

One tree has been grafted to bear 40 different kinds of fruit. IFLS. One of my friends commented: It’s experiments like this that lead to Triffids – LOL!

National Geographic explores what animals do in wildfires.

The 100 best sci-fi movies, as chosen by critics and experts. They’re presented in alphabetical groupings and each delivers their top ten. It’s a fair amount of wading, but there are some interesting choices . . .

Balloon art. Seriously. And I can’t even make a poodle. Maybe a snake 😛

And that be it for the thoughty and fun this week.

I’ll check in again on Saturday 🙂

Thoughty Thursday

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 20-26, 2014

Angela Ackerman details her encounter with copyright infringement on Writers Helping Writers. This is serious stuff.

I’ve had other writerly friends who’ve noticed their books have been pirated and if you’ve been following Angela on FB, you probably know that she’s encountered that too.

There’s a mode of thought on the interwebz that says pirating is not your enemy. If people like your book so much they steal it, then it will likely convert to more readers.

I think that argument is fundamentally flawed. Chuck Wendig spoke to this quite eloquently a few months ago, here, here, and here.

What if people are stealing your work and trying to make money off it illegally by selling it and pocketing the profits? For a self-published author, the book is her livelihood. Even for the traditionally published, what money he might have seen from a legitimate sale, disappears. It’s wrong.

And the readers who buy these pirated copies may not even know that their money is not going to the author. That’s doubly wrong. Theft, deceit, and fraud? That’s jail time people.

But as Chuck said, it’s not just about the money. An author (or authors) slaved over that book for months, if not years. It’s their intellectual property (IP). It’s their blood, sweat, and tears.

Don’t pirate books. Don’t do it.

<end rant>

Onward, to more light-hearted material.

M.M. Finck posts on Women Writers, Women’s Books about the querying process and why it’s not just about the query. Thanks to Jamie Raintree (see below) for bringing this to my attention.

Anthony Metivier guest-blogged about how to mine your dreams for story gold on Writers Helping Writers.

Bringing a strong vision to your fiction, by Laura K. Cowan, for Writer Unboxed.

Jamie Raintree asks, how far do we follow our dreams? Since we’ve become acquainted, Jamie’s acquired an agent and is now working on a second novel. I love watching her journey unfold.

Here’s Janice Hardy’s guest post for Anne R. Allen’s blog about how not to start a novel.

Veronica Sicoe follows up last week’s post on how she structures her novels with this one on how she brainstorms an idea into a working concept.

K.M. Weiland continues her negative character arc series with part 2: The negative character arc in the second act.

Whether you’re considering hiring a ghost writer, or becoming one, this post by Roz Morris will answer your questions.

Four reasons to use dramatic irony from Writers Write.

Chuck Wendig gets a mention again for sharing this i09 post about Snowpiercer and its fascinating influence. Yes, it’s a South Korean movie based on a French graphic novel, but it’s still great storytelling.

Xia Jia shares her thoughts on what makes Chinese science fiction, Chinese on Tor.com. Translated by Ken Liu. It’s interesting socio-political stuff.

And if your to-be-read (TBR) pile isn’t big enough yet, here is some recommended reading from TED.

Flavorwire presents the 35 writers who run the literary internet.

As a follow-up to my last week’s posting of the CanLit song, here’s every Canadian novel ever. It’s kind of true. And funny. The Toast.

And that’s it for this week, folks.

Thanks for following, sharing, and all the good stuff you do.

Tipsday

Review of Ursa Unearthed by JL Madore

Ursa Unearthed

What Amazon says:

Mika’s life has never been normal, but it’s hers.
After being told by the Great Spirit that her destiny is to stand up for the Earth Mother’s children and “save the great species from extinction,” she buries herself in an investigative journalism career hunting down poachers and exposing illegal trade in wildlife exotics. A survivor by nature, she would rather fight injustice than maneuver the hassles and heartache of relationships.
When danger suddenly finds her unprepared, Mika’s perception of her life is shattered and she’s hurled into a realm of magic and murder she does not understand. Seduced by Bruin, the powerful warrior who saves her life, Mika is catapulted into a world where Were-creatures and Scourge assassins threaten not only her life but her heart as well.
With the boundary between worlds crumbling, Mika realizes that committing to save the great species of Weres will draw her deeper into a reality more terrifying to her than anything she’s faced before.
Trusting in love.


 

My thoughts:

I read and reviewed Blaze Ignites a year or so ago, because Jenny and I had worked together in a critique group and I was itching to find out what the finished product was like. When Jenny offered me a review copy of Ursa Unearthed, the second novel in her Scourge Survivor Series, I again jumped at the chance.

I love to see my writer friends grow and mature in their craft.

I’m happy to say I lurved Ursa Unearthed.

Jenny writes in a bare (dare I say, naked) style. Not a word is wasted. Action and hot sex propel the reader through the book. I actually finished reading it the week before last. At my reading rate, I burned through it.

My critical eye caught a few, very minor, editing gaffes, but by and large, my only critical comment on the story itself is that Mika’s “lie,” the thing that prevents her from committing to Bruin until things become so dire she has no choice, is not well developed at the outset. I occasionally found myself irritated with Jenny’s protagonist for her failure to get over her bad self, spank that inner moppet, put on her big girl panties, and deal.

Developing her trauma would have given this reader something to hang that irritation on. There would be a reason beyond being transported into a world of magic and danger to prevent her from accepting her altered circumstances.

Given that Mika is Native North American, has a spiritual connection with the Earth Mother, which grants her supernatural insights, and her main support, her grandfather, accompanies her to Haven, Mika shouldn’t have been so resistant.

Having said that, I think Ursa Unearthed is a fabulous book. The characters are otherwise well-drawn and Jenny has a knack for making you care about them.

And yes, you read that correctly earlier, there is lots of hot sex in the novel and Jenny writes this well, too. You’ll tingle in all the wrong naughty right places 😉

The story is standalone, but readers of Blaze Ignites will recognize many familiar faces in the cast. They don’t detract from Mika and Bruin’s character arcs, though. The spotlight remains where it should, on Mika and her bear.

My rating:

Four out of five stars.


 

About the author:JL Madore

JL Madore didn’t find writing so much as it found her. Waking each morning with a vivid cast of characters tangled in chaos in her head, it seemed essential to capture them on the page. With Blaze Ignites and Ursa Unearthed published and receiving rave reviews, she’s turning her attention to Watcher Untethered, an unpublished paranormal/erotic romance manuscript which just won 4th place in the Toronto Romance Writers – The Catherine. Aside from spinning tales of elves, weres, demons and fallen angels, she’s also Vice President of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, a 300 member writing organization just outside of Toronto. http://www.jlmadore.ca/

CanWrite! 2014: How to get published with Halli Villegas, June 21

There was no panel discussion on Saturday and at breakfast, one of the organizers asked me if I’d host Halli’s workshop in the afternoon. I said sure, but I was a bit nervous. I even asked Halli how she wanted her name pronounced, and then promptly messed it up anyway. Sorry about that, Halli.

Halli VillegasFor your information, it’s Vee-yay-ges 🙂

Please note: This is a transcript of my hand-written notes. Halli, or anyone else who may have been present, if I’ve gotten any of the details wrong, please feel free to correct me. I will fix it post-hasty.

To the workshop (allons-y).

 


 

The title of this workshop might be misleading. I’m not going to publish you. We could have called it The Business of Writing. Now there’s a sexy title.

We’re going to talk about what happens when you get published. I can give you my perspective on that, but I’m looking more toward a sharing of expertise. I don’t have a grounded knowledge in self-publishing, or publishing with a micropress, or with a major publisher, but some of you may, so I’m looking forward to bringing out the knowledge in this room.

<We then went around the room and introduced ourselves and shared a little bit about our experience, or lack thereof, with publishing.>

Tightrope Books is a small, or indie press. We’re also called a boutique publisher, because we cater to a specific writer and reader. We tend to the literary, but we’re not publishing so much poetry as we used to. We now have an annual anthology of the year’s best poetry, with guest editors.

You don’t want to compete with yourself.

I worked for five years with Guernica and when it came time to think about starting my own press, my idea was to make it author-centric. That core idea had to evolve, though. It had to become a business.

Always read and follow the submission guidelines. What does the press publish? Does your work fit?

Be professional. Fill out your writing C.V.

Some publishers will have set reading periods. Some have particular niches. ChiZine Publications, for example, focuses on horror and dark fiction.

There’s also the Writers’ Reserve. It’s a fund that provides money to publishers to publish professional writers offered by the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). That reading period is from September to February. Tightrope will receive maybe three hundred submissions under the Writers’ Reserve. We might look more seriously at twenty manuscripts. How many of those we publish varies from year to year.

<Halli discussed the Writers’ Reserve in more detail in the Tightrope Books context. Here’s the link for the Writers’ Reserve if you’d like more information.>

Do your research. Is there a house style guide? If not, the Chicago Manual of Style is the default reference.

Poets generally aren’t agented.

Networking is a great way to make contacts. Conferences like CanWrite! and events like Word on the Street (WotS). WotS used to have a festival atmosphere. Now it’s more commercial. Small press fairs are much the same. All are great places to make connections.

Determination plus persistence equals success.

What happens once your submission is accepted?

You will go through what’s called a substantive edit with an editor. This takes at least two months and is a process of shaping that manuscript.

Next is the line edit. This phase of editing focuses on details and continuity in the manuscript. That leads to the copy edit, which delves into spelling and grammar.

Once your book is accepted, it’s usually about two years to publication.

The fall season is the big publishing season. Spring is a second big season, but you’ll see more beach reading and other, lighter fare.

Typesetting is an art. It’s not as simple as it looks. It’s really about capturing the spirit of the book in a tangible form.

Similarly, your cover design, and therefore your cover designer, is important.

Even the back cover copy is tailored to the book.

Most publishers dictate typesetting, cover, and back cover copy.

Simultaneous submissions are frowned upon.

Response times run anywhere from three months to a year. It depends on the volume of submissions. Responses often can’t be personalized. There’s no time.

The launch is your champagne moment. Make sure you have review copies and copies set aside for contests, major media, etc.

With respect to marketing, print ads aren’t worth it. Budgets have decreased across the board. Grants are disappearing. Sometimes we have to go begging for reviews. There’s no money to send the writer on a book tour. We can’t pay for flights.

Initial sales can be between six weeks and six months. It depends on the profile and popularity of the book. This is the main sales drive.

In a cooperative arrangement, the publisher pays for preferential placement of your books. Even if the publisher pays, however, you should check.

Engage in guerrilla marketing. Go into the bookstore and rearrange the books on the shelf to better display your books.

A bestseller in Canada is about 5,000 copies. A poetry bestseller is between 200 and 300 copies. In the American market, you have to sell at least 35,000 copies to even crack the lists.

I’ve given you in your package a copy of the Tightrope Books contract. It was based on the Writers’ Union of Canada (WUC) contract. Let’s have a look . . .


 

Since I’m not going to share Halli’s contract, I’m going to end here.

I will offer you the link to the Writers’ Union of Canada’s contract information page. If you’re not a member, you may have to pay a nominal fee, but their resources are well worth the cost.

Halli gave us a load of handouts that was very informative. 10 pointers to help you get published; a list of resources for writers; a list of Canadian literary magazines; The Tightrope Books house style guide; and a copy of her contract.

Next weekend: The CAA Literary Awards Gala and wrap post.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 13-19, 2014

First, a big ole THANKEE to everyone who tweeted, retweeted, favourited, or otherwise promoted my Tipsday post. It’s seriously the most twitter action I’ve received from anything I’ve put out there so far. I know, I’m still a minnow in this SoMe sea, but ripples are still being felt. Warm fuzzies!

Now onto the thoughty harvest.

Colbie Caillat’s Try. We are all beautiful just the way we are.

How the brain processes emotions, from PsyBlog.

This has always bugged me. Why do I always seem to choose the slowest line at the checkout? You may be interested to know there’s psychological basis for it. Doesn’t make it any less irritating, but still.

Five things everyone should know about introverts. The mind unleashed.

Fancy a cuppa, guvnor? National Geographic’s Taste of Travel column.

A giant hole appears at the “world’s end.” Where’s Simon Pegg when you need him? 😉

Non-human DNA found in the remains of Otzi the Iceman. IFLS.

Moar IFLS: Friends resemble each other genetically. Just cool.

Nina Muntaneu posts about flying algal ships. This too, c’est cool.

Duke’s last day made me bawl like a baby. So wished we could have done this for our Zoe.

Looking forward to the new season and the new Doctor. How about you?

 

The Nerdist made my day with this LEGO Day of the Doctor.

This is just weird, but I received it Sunday morning from Julie Czerneda. A screaming goat rendition of the Doctor Who theme? Woke me up, SMILING!

Hope strange ideas swirl in your writerly dreams tonight.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz July 13-19, 2014

A cavalcade of creative coolness. Just for you.

The July 2014 author earnings report. For those who haven’t already read it.

Anne R. Allen defines traditional publishing and offers some perspective on what’s happening with the Big Five in this changing publishing world.

Carly Watters points out the biggest query letter mistake.

Jamie Raintree writes about what we can and can’t control in the business of writing.

In which Veronica Sicoe shares her method for planning a novel.

The negative character arc series begins. K.M. Weiland.

And moar Katie: What if your antagonist is right?

MJ Bush guest posts on Writers Helping Writers. Three steps to deepening your character with anger.

Reverse engineering your character arc with Jami Gold.

Roz Morris diagnoses and prescribes treatment for a writer’s ailment: The plot hole.

Kristen Lamb discusses the seven deadly sins (and a few virtues) of prologues.

The BookBaby blog asks, are you more creative writing by hand or typing?

Brainpickings features Leonard Cohen on creativity, hard work, and perseverance. Excerpted from Paul Zollo’s Songwriters on Song-writing.

How SF writers predicted the conflict in the Ukraine and how they’re trying to stop it. Slate.

David Brin shared this SF story by E.M. Forster (written in 1909): The Machine Stops.

Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty shares ten words whose pronunciation has changed over the years.

Everybody and their dog’s pet hamster has been sharing this around the interwebz ‘cause Weird Al is just so brilliant 🙂

 

And Kari Maaren sings a lovely little song about CanLit 🙂

 

Enjoy, my writerly peeps 🙂

Tipsday

Review of Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics by K.M. Weiland

I read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre for the first time when I was in high school. At the time, though I enjoyed it, I wasn’t yet reading with the critical mind of an author. I wasn’t reading for craft.

The second time I encountered Jane Eyre, I was in university and, having read it before, it was one of the books I set aside from my massive stack of reading. I managed well enough in the course and placed the book on my shelf.

Years later, I read the book a second time. Though I was a writer, and published, it was as a poet, and again, I read for enjoyment rather than for craft.

Now, I read for craft and I find I mentally dissect books as I read them. I don’t mind knowing the ending, and in fact, I often flip forward in a book. Rather than spoil the reading experience, knowing the climax allows me to see more clearly where the author has foreshadowed events.

I can see the structure of a novel like a glowing thread. Here is the hook, the inciting incident, the first major plot point. Reading for craft is more enjoyable for me than reading for pleasure.

It’s like daily writing practice. Once you start down the path, it’s hard to stop, and, after a while, you no longer want to.

K.M. Weiland and her blog, Helping writers become authors, have been instrumental in my development as a reading writer.

You could say I’m a groupie, if there is such a thing. It’s a bit more than being a fan. I share nearly all of Katie’s posts. I want all my writer friends to benefit from her insight and technique.

So, of course, when Katie emailed me and asked if I would mind reading and reviewing her upcoming book, Jane Eyre, annotated with an eye to technique I instantly agreed.

Onto the review . . .


 

What Amazon says:

AnnJaneEyreCover

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will…”

One of the most sweeping and enduring novels in English literature, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has become a beloved classic and a must-read for fans of period romance. Filled with memorable characters, witty dialogue, emotional scenes, social commentary, and intriguing twists, Brontë’s novel, written in 1847, still has much to teach writers about crafting exceptional stories.

As part of the Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics series, this edition of Jane Eyre features hundreds of insightful annotations from writing instructor and author K.M. Weiland. Explore the craft and technique of Jane Eyre through the lens of a writer, and learn why and how Brontë made the choices she did while writing her iconic novel. The techniques learned from the annotations and accompanying study guide will aid in the crafting of your own celebrated works of fiction.

My thoughts:

I’ve read Jane Eyre a couple of times, once in high school and once in university, but I’ve never read it as a writer.

Weiland’s annotations were an eye-opener.

Initially, I considered a couple of what I saw as lapses on Weiland’s part to be creative or editorial decisions, and there is an element of that present. What I was amazed to discover is that Weiland’s annotative decisions are artful, or perhaps I should say crafty, in a way I never expected.

Very quickly, her annotations have the effect of tuning the reading writer’s eye to Brontë’s creativity and craft. The reader begins to pick out additional examples of the same techniques as they occur, and may even, as I did, page back through the book to see where Brontë employed the same technique in the past and to what effect.

Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics is not only a writing craft book, but an instructional manual on how to read critically, as a writer.

Under Weiland’s ever-gentle guidance, the reading writer learns that analyzing a text for craft does not have to be a negative experience nor even an academic one.

Those of us who suffered through textual dissection in university will be grateful to Weiland for showing us, in the best authorial sense, that analysis can be fun, and even exciting, as our minds race back to our own works-in-progress to apply lessons learned.

On that subject, the worksheets in the back are, in my opinion, worth the price of the book. Covering setting, character development, structure, indeed, every aspect of writing a novel, Weiland asks questions, assigns tasks, and refers back to Brontë’s work if we need a little help figuring out how to apply the technique in our writing.

This is a top-notch writing craft book and a spectacular start to a new series for Writer’s Digest. Diana Gabaldon’s introduction doesn’t hurt either 😉

My highest recommendation.

My rating:

Five out of five stars.

About the Author:

KMWeilandLooking-Back

K.M. Weiland is the internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as the western A Man Called Outlaw, the medieval epic Behold the Dawn, and the fantasy Dreamlander. When she’s not making things up, she’s busy mentoring other authors through her award-winning blog HelpingWritersBecomeAuthors.com.

CanWrite! 2014: Writing fantasy with Kelley Armstrong, June 20

I took a little break last week because of the blog tour and interview with Mat, but I’m back and ready to proceed with moar CanWrite! 2014 reportage.

I’ve been interested in Kelley for years, ever since I first heard Brian Henry’s story of how he helped hook Kelley up with her agent, effectively launching her career. Kelley’s version of the tale appears later in the workshop, so I won’t spoil it.

Everybody loves a good origin story 🙂

Kelley ArmstrongKelley was a dynamic speaker, hardly ever keeping still long enough for me to snap a decent picture. I won’t torture either you or her with my attempts. Suffice it to say that by the time my phone camera took the shot, she was in mid-speech. So here, instead, is the promo pic she gave the CAA to post on the conference page.

 

Kelley also likes to sit on desks as she holds forth.

Overall, I found her workshop a fascinating one. She frequently asked a question of the class and had us share our expertise, as a good facilitator should (corporate trainer kudos, Kelley!).

Without further ado, here are my notes from the workshop.


 

What is fantasy?

Set in an alternate reality; featuring non-human characters; plausible impossibility (Mel’s note: this was my offering. It’s from Brian Aldiss’s Trillion Year Spree.); mystical elements.

What about sub-genres of fantasy?

Steampunk (think Gail Carriger); urban fantasy (what Kelley writes); epic or high fantasy (Tolkien); contemporary; paranormal romance; speculative fiction; magical realism (Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic).

On writing rules.

There are rules for grammar, spelling, syntax, etc., but with regard to writing a fantasy novel, there are no rules, only guidelines. Following them can definitely improve your chances of being published, but we worry too much about rules.

Don’t worry about the market. Let’s look at an example of a sub-genre that has long been considered flooded.

Current market research reveals that with regard to vampire novels in the last eighteen months there have been:

  • Eighteen deals for new series or standalone titles;
  • Fourteen extensions of current series;
  • Three novels from established novelists in other genres; and
  • One debut.

The “Big Five” are still buying vampire novels. Movies and television series are still being made from these books as well.

Who are the Big Five?

  • Penguin Random House (imprint – DAW)
  • MacMillian
  • Simon & Schuster
  • HarperCollins
  • Hachette (imprints – Little Brown, Hyperion)

All of the Big Five have their imprints. You can publish different books with different imprints.

<Kelley took a few minutes to review her most recently published novels and which imprint and parent publisher each was produced by.>

Bitten was the fourth novel I’d written. The three previous were, a novel about a private investigator (Mel’s note: my notes indicate PI, but it could be something else. My apologies to Kelley if I got this wrong), a traditional fantasy, and a Harlequin Romance, written for their Intrigue line.

Never write to the market. Write what you want to write. If it’s good, it will find an audience.

It takes, on average, about two years for a novel to be published.

Research is important, even in fantasy. Research your setting, history, weapons and armour, etc. Even if your world is a created one, there’s probably something in the real one it was based on.

Here’s how I define a few terms:

Myths have to do with the gods, demigods, avatars, or other similar beings. Folklore relates to fairies and other fantastic races of creatures. Each culture has its own. Legends are real people doing amazing things, generally blown out of proportion after years of retelling.

Can you “break” a myth and retell it in an original way?

Worldbuilding is all about research. You have to have rules and you have to be consistent with them. Or you have to create a convincing “in-world” reason for the rule to be broken.

Part of my research for one of my novels was In the Sleep Room by Anne Collins, a book about sleep deprivation experiments. I also looked into MK Ultra and other military experiments as well. For those who don’t know, MK Ultra was a program that attempted to create an assassin like The Manchurian Candidate.

Urban fantasy usually deals with some form of sub-culture.

How to write your way out of a corner (A.K.A. break your own rules).

First, you have to acknowledge the issue. Then, there are four ways out of your bind:

  • The magical whatnot – a mystical device that will supersede the rules.
  • The lost spell, ritual, or other knowledge – ditto.
  • A new or expanded power – caution: do not use often.
  • Mea culpa – just take responsibility for the “mistake.”

Be careful with these. If the solution to your magical bind sticks around, it can cause trouble for your story in the future (think the transporter as used in Star Trek: The Next Generation). You also don’t want your protagonist becoming too god-like. The easy fix can become a crutch.

Do not give any unnecessary details. If you explain too much, you are bound by the new rules you’ve created. Cover your ass.

How do I know another writer hasn’t already done “this”?

Don’t worry about it. There are no new stories, only new ways of telling them.

What’s the difference between high concept and low concept?

Every agent and editor will have a different definition of this. Sometimes it’s a matter of originality. It’s all in the execution. High concept usually involves global stakes. Low concept is more personal.

<We were then assigned the task of coming up with a concept statement, or logline, for our current works-in-progress. We shared them and critiqued them. Kelley came up with some very inventive ways to rewrite these offerings for greater impact.

The floor was then opened to questions.>

Q: How are you so prolific?

When I got my first deal, my novel was accepted on the condition that I could produce the second novel in the series—as of that time not written—in a very short timeframe. The publisher wanted to release them one after the other.

I was working in the IT field at the time, and though it was a big deal financially, I talked it over with my husband and he said go for it. I also had one young child and was expecting my second. It was a very scary time.

Everyone pitched in to make sure my life didn’t fall apart while I was taking this risk. My sister, who was conveniently in search of a job, became my business manager. When I had enough money, I paid for a housekeeper.

Value your time. Would you rather be doing laundry, or writing your next novel?

Now my kids are helping out too. It’s a family affair.

Q: How did you get your agent?

I’d been writing for a while, in the evenings and on weekends, while I worked. I took a workshop with a man named Brian Henry, and I asked him where I should submit my latest novel (Bitten). He read it for me and called me up one evening to discuss options.

He said, “Helen Heller would love this.” I gulped. Helen Heller? And then Brian continued, “I just can’t tell her what it’s about.”

Later, Brian told me about his conversation with Helen. He’d known her from his work in the publishing industry and he called her up.

“Helen, I have this fabulous new novel that you would just love.”

“What’s it about?”

“Werewolves.”

“Werewolves? If it was anyone but you, Brian . . .”

She read it, however reluctantly, but she loved it and she agreed to sign me as a client.

<The rest, as they say, is history.>

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 6-12, 2014

Reach in this week’s goody bag . . .

Rebecca Brown took a daily selfie over the six years she battled depression. This video is the result. ViralNova.

Interesting article from the Psychiatric Times about our fascination with violence and why even some psychiatrists aren’t immune (well, they’re human, aren’t they?).

Why the internet of things will disrupt everything. Wired. Like this? Then I’d highly recommend the CBC podcast of Spark. Nora Young talks about the internet of things every week 🙂

IFLScience! The earth’s electromagnetic field is weakening. Is it getting ready to “flip”?

Moar IFLScience! Antioxidants make some cancers worse. Is it time for more research?

Discovery News. This hard drive sniffing hound helps fight child porn. Good dog!

Decoding the sign language of chimpanzees. Phys.org

In related news, chimps also like wearing “jewellery.” Daily Mail Online.

Bill Steer, A.K.A. Backroads Bill, looks for evidence of fairies in northern Ontario pictographs. Do you believe? CBC’s Morning North.

Poor dear. Elephant freed after 50 years of servitude. I hate animal cruelty in any form. Diply.

Want a keyboard with a sense on nostalgia? This darling might be for you. Bored Panda.

What did you grab, or rather, what grabbed you?

Just thought of another reason to like Thoughty Thursday: tomorrow’s FRIDAY!!!!!!

Have a good one people. See you Saturday.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz July 6-12, 2014

Not a huge whack this week folks, but what there is, is all quality 🙂

Most common writing mistakes with K.M. Weiland. This week, one dimensional conflict.

Janice Hardy discusses character development.

Roz Morris demonstrates her beat sheet technique with Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

Anne R. Allen lists twelve dumb things writers do to sidetrack our success.

The ever-awesome Robin LaFevers writes about the crushing weight of expectations on Writer Unboxed.

Lisa Cron writes about how writers have the powah on Writer Unboxed.

Carly Watters reveals three signs that you’re past the form letter rejection stage.

Writer’s Relief presents the joy of gerunds.

Did you need even moar books to read? I didn’t think so. Still, here’s The Millions’ book preview for the second half of 2014.

Eight things you should know about Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series from the Barnes & Noble book blog.

A review of the two volume Robert Heinlein biography from Barnes & Noble Reviews.

Enjoy!

Tipsday