Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Where do we belong?

Writing is for those who chose to live tortured lives.

I adore picking up a pen and pad of paper and going to town. The beginning of our writing journey is an amazing one. You feel empowered, enriched, and alive as you feverishly work to write all the thoughts that have crept in your mind.

There does come a point where you'll have read your piece over a million times and at times you find yourself missing the passion you felt when the idea first came to you. You know it's brilliant, you know you loved it and it worked six months ago, so what's the problem?

As writers do we truly dig ourselves into a hole?

My problem as a writer is finding out where I belong. Is there the capability of belonging in more than one place? I really enjoyed writing short stories and novels, however my recent endeavor has breathed more life into my work than I ever would have thought.

Screenwriting. I love it. But I don't want to give up the novels and short stories. Is it to much? Am I taking on too much as a writer, or should I continue to go with my writing gut. The one that tells me a writer truly can have it all. That along the way I'll eventually find what path is best for me.

Today it's screenwriting but tomorrow that could change.

Do you know where you belong?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guest Blogger - Jennifer Griffith

Finding a publisher is an author’s dream, and finding a publisher that’s enthusiastic about your book and a great fit is a dream come true!

A happy accident befell me last October. For the previous two years I’d been writing then polishing BIG IN JAPAN, my sumo wrestler novel, and it was ready to go. I’d just started the querying process, shooting letters off to agents hither and yon, when one afternoon I was surfing Facebook. A friend in my writers group posted that she’d been at a meeting where the presenter was a fresh face in publishing. Something zinged inside me. I messaged her to ask all about it, and she filled me in.

A new publishing house, Jolly Fish Press, was just about to open its doors, to launch its website, and to start taking queries for fiction, including mainstream fiction.

My manuscript and query were ready to go, and I sent it that day.

A couple of weeks later, they requested pages, another couple of weeks and they requested more, and then they requested the full. In December, Christopher Loke (executive editor) called me in the evening to break the great news that they loved my book. One jolly phrase still resonates in my head from our conversation, “We were sitting in our editing meeting and couldn’t believe we got the golden manuscript right off.” The golden manuscript! Mine! Yeehaw! I could tell they believed in my book, and they were publishing it in the way I’d always hoped. In total, from that first query until I had the pen in my hot little hand signing my publishing contract, about two months passed.

I love a small press. The relationships can be close, and there’s a family feeling. To me as a writer, that’s what matters. JFP, from the get-go, has been like coming home. May they sell a gazillion copies of the books they’ve selected and have decades of jolly success!

Jennifer Griffith is the author of BIG IN JAPAN, her fourth novel, which will be released through Jolly Fish Press on July 28th and tells the story of Buck Cooper, an obese Texan, invisible at work and in love until serendipity lands him in Japan—right in the middle of a sumo match. BIG IN JAPAN will be available as an eBook, Trade Paperback, and Hardcover through all major online retailers and local bookstores near you. Visit BigInJapan.jollyfishpress.com for more info on Griffith’s book tour, social networks, and more.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Blog Hiatus

I'm not one to normally leave my blog however it is time to take a real break.

When will I be back?

I really can't answer that right now. This is a moment in where I practice what I preach.

I'm not in love with blogging anymore. It feels more like work, a task, and it's sucking the life out of me. I used to love to visit blogs and comment on them -- Now I'm barely finding time to come up with a topic let alone going around to say hello to my friends.

It seems I've hit a bit of a brick wall. Now, I always say if you don't love it, the blog won't work. I suppose that's what I'm saying here... I'm waiting to get the love back which means for the time being I need a nice break to decide what I want to do with Unedited. How to get my mojo back.

I've loved visiting with all of you. You've brought joy and happiness into my life but for the moment I need to re-evaluate what Unedited is bringing to the table and I'm not exactly sure what that is. Just know that you're always in my thoughts and eventually hopefully my words will greet your blog and happiness will be filled with them!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Great Writing Topics

I thought since I've gone with a more low key style of blogging that I thought I'd share some of the best posts I've read along the blogosphere! Hope you enjoy and learn a lot... I know I did!


1. 5 Attitudes Toward Publishing You Should Avoid.

2. Top 10 Blog Traffic Killers.

3. 5 Keys to Writing for an Online Audience.

4. The Essence of Good Marketing.

5. How Long Does it Take to Get Blog Readers.

There are so many amazing topics she covers on her blog and on Writer Unboxed. When you get a chance you can spend all day there!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Baking a Book

My fabulous friend and author Christina Mandelski released The Sweetest Thing in 2011 (if you haven't read this adorable novel, please get your hands on it!)

Anywho, at the release of her novel she shared a not-so-secret recipe for baking a book. It was a brilliant idea, especially since her novel is all about baking goodies! I wanted to share the brilliance behind it. It's an adorable way to market your book.

A not-so-secret recipe by Christina Mandelski

1. A pinch of an idea
2. Sweet & spicy characters
3. A haunted character
4. A dad who doesn't notice his daughter
5. A love triangle
6. A grandma, a priest, and a baker
7. A cup of setting
8. One large problem
9. A hearty helping of heart (romance, humor, anger, love)
10. Add in a generous helping of critique group, family, and friends
11. A great taste tester (an agent)
12. Finding the perfect bakery (publishing house)

Isn't this the cutest? So I'm curious... do you have your own recipe?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Musings

So I keep several notes in my phone and I thought today it'd be fun if I shared a few. I'll tell you this, I wish I could have recorded what was happening in that moment to understand why I wrote it. Half the things written don't make any sense!

Do you fall into the same habit?

1. Ask a writer where they've been. Chances are, you've never heard of it.

2. They say when you hit rock bottom there's no place to but up. I guess I'm not there yet.

3. I know what they mean now when they say death would be easier.

4. People ask why I can't remember their names. I tell them I reserve that space for my characters.

5. Serial killers dress like therapists in tweed jackets.

I suppose this gives you a little insight to what my brain produces. I can say this much... the last one definitely gives me the heebie jeebies. Why would I compare a serial killer to a therapist?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway!!!

Today the wonderful Christopher Loke talks about his thoughts on Pansters vs. Plotters and I think with this post we'll have a lot of different views after reading his piece! I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments!!

GIVEAWAY - One lucky winner will walk away with The Housekeepers Son! So tweet your little hearts out and facebook all about it! I'd love to know who's interested in snagging a copy of this awesome authors book!

Panster vs. Plotter
By Guest Blogger Christopher Loke

The other day I was visiting with a fellow writer, and after talking a bit about her book I asked her what it was about. She proceeded to tell me about her characters and the ending, after which she stopped and said, “I don’t know how everything’s going to turn out, but it’ll get there [the ending]. I’ll work it out somehow.”

“You mean you don’t know what your book is all about yet?” I asked.

“Oh, I do,” she answered. “I know how it’s going to end. I just need to find out what happens between the beginning and the ending.”

I was surprised at her response. “Find out? You mean you don’t have any idea of what’s going to happen? Don’t you have a plot?”

“All I need is just the beginning and the ending, and my characters will show me the way.”

I was baffled at her answer. Shock horror! I know she is not alone in this peculiar habit of writing. Many writers have the idea—though I know not where it comes from—that words are going to come down from the sky, and their characters are going to lead the way. Well, let me say this: there is no such thing as characters “leading the way.” It’s a myth—a popular one at that. But a myth, nonetheless. As such, there is also no such thing as writers block. It’s an excuse we give ourselves to not write, a word of comfort for not churning out results and words on pages.

Imagine a doctor stopping in the middle of a surgery, and saying, “I have surgeons block. This’ll have to wait for another day.” Again, shock horror! My point is, writing to authors should be as professional as surgery to surgeons. Our business is the business of writing, of creating words on paper that act as narratives to stories and worlds without bounds. Our business is about measuring information in meticulous precision; one word too many can cause a sentence to fall apart, alliteration to get messy; it can cause the destruction of the impeccable iambic pentameter. And we balance all this while still trying to tell a story.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are authors who are in the business of perfectionism. And since we are in the business of telling, we must surely understand the concept of knowing. Yes, knowing, or simply understanding. We need to be in control of everything that happens in the book—our characters, our timeline, our purpose. Without that control, we might as well be writing a journal, words that ramble on forever without purpose.

With purpose comes plot. Let me say that last word again: PLOT. It is the framework to your story, the skeleton to the narrative you will write. Without that framework, you have nothing, and it doesn’t matter if you know the ending or not. JK Rowling plotted out the entire Harry Potter series in notes detailing the actions and circumstances of each character good and bad. Look where that took her.

Yes, yes, you are probably thinking, I know people who got published and they are pansters. Well, if you want to believe it, go ahead. But based on my experience as executive editor, I have never seen a good book that did not come with a stable, well-thought plot from start to finish.

As an author, I plotted The Housekeeper’s Son about six weeks before I started writing it. I needed to know who did what. I needed to know what happened in every chapter. I needed to know who said what, and who made who cry—and in my case, I needed to know who killed who. Once I had the plot in place, I knew exactly how to tell the story. I was now free to move chapters and subplots around without losing my place. And by plotting my story, I was also able to craft the most effective way to write it. I was then truly the master of my ship.

There are loonies out there who think writing is a piece of cake so long as they have the beginning and ending. WRONG. While they can churn out stories, I question their quality. I can’t even count the number of times I read a manuscript and gagged because I wasn’t going anywhere three chapters into the book. The narrative rambled on, the stories lackluster.

When all is said and done, my point is loud and clear. I am no panster. I’m a plotter, the engineer of words, the craftsman of stories. And what better honor can there be for an author?

Christopher Loke, executive editor for Jolly Fish Press, has made a splash in the writing world with his powerful and touching novel, The Housekeeper’s Son. This novel explores how far a mother can go for love. The answer? Murder. The Housekeeper’s Son is available as a hardcover and ebook through all major online retailers and a local bookstore near you. Follow Mr. Loke on Twitter and Facebook for updates on his signings and events.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth it Up!

Yes. This post will remain super simple.

Enjoy your grills, your family, and hopefully the fact that you're able to chill by the pool for countless hours this wonderful fourth of july.

Oh... and if you can have fun with fireworks, please do!

TELL ME WHAT YOU'RE DOING?! I think I'll convince my husband to see a movie at the drive-in followed by a spectacular fireworks show.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Marketing Monday - Be Yourself!

Nothing is more fun than sharing a bit about yourself and having people connect to you! You'll learn along the way in the blogosphere connecting becomes easier! You learn the friendships come naturally and these individuals understand you like no one else!

So what's better than sharing five random things about me! It's been too long... so I guess I should get started!

1. I sing to myself. Mostly about what's going on at that moment. What? I'm quirky... think Jess in New Girl, I'm her in real life... just labeled crazy.

2. My dream house comes with an atrium. My husband makes fun of me. I have no reason for wanting one, except for the fact that I just do. That's reason enough.

3. I've become obsessed with koozies. I want only special ones... My first one to own was Houston Roller Derby. Next up - Rod Ryan Show. If you have a fun book or movie on let me know! I'd be interested! In fact... I'm hoping the fabulous Rose Cooper reads this and gets excited...

4. I've been devouring cancelled sitcom series. BENT, 100 QUESTIONS, and a few others. 100 Questions was down right awful. I can't believe I wasted even a moment researching it. BENT, however, starring Amanda Peet, was actually a really interesting show. It's wonderful when we can tell someone it's all for research, after all these screenplays aren't going to write themsevles!

5. I nerd out over spreadsheets. When someone hands me a mess of documents and information I love nothing more than to organize the hell out of it!

Okay... so this wasn't my best five, but we are warming back up to one another so I thought I'd take it slow. What are your randoms?