Personal Writing

Miss Snark's Contest Follow-Up, THE LUCKY FEW, & Other News

Oy, I'm so late in posting this, I know!

So a follow-up to Miss Snark's March secret agent contest. Overall, it was a great contest last month - and I'm happy to say my results were much better than my sad attempt with the pitch fest over at WriteOnCon, prior to that!

I was oh so excited to see I was one of five winners (out of 50 entries) selected by Ms. Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates!

Hannah left a great comment, right off the bat - and it had been just what I needed. And while I'll take all the comments from the other participants / readers with a grain of salt (sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they comment???), I'm just glad to be back out there, at least trying. You can read about all of the winners, here. And of course, if anything comes of my submit to Hannah, you all will be the first to know. 

In other news? Well, I did another pass-through on my manuscript, THE LUCKY FEW. When I left it with Mr. Agent Man, my word count had skyrocketed - something he had reassured me, would not be a problem - because getting the story right was important. But then, well, we parted ways, and here I was with a MS that had bloomed in size. Yikes.

So before I started querying, I dug my heels in and started slowly hacking away. And before I knew it, I had cut several thousand words. 

Which still didn't feel good enough and so I went back at it again last week. And this time, I was able to cut almost 5k more. And I think it's definitely a lot tighter. And I'm happy with where it is. But will I leave it alone? Who knows. There will always be room for improvement.

Aside from all the contests and revisions I've been doing, I also got myself back into running. It's been awhile - for various reasons - but I've missed it so.

Don't let me mislead you - for the most part, I've always said I was allergic to working out...I'm a Taurus for cryin' out loud and definitely not like some of my uber runner friends that chug out more miles than I put on my car each week. But something about running has always made it one of my favorite forms of *cough* exercise. 

So, I set a personal goal that I would start running one "marathon" a week - and to do that, that means 5.5 miles every day, Monday - Friday (yes, that's technically a tad more than 26.2 miles, but it's a nice round number to target). And today wraps up my third week - which makes 3 marathons I've run - and I couldn't be happier!  

And just like with writing and the importance of having fabulous CP's, I have an amazing workout partner that encourages me to show up every day and get at it. And without her motivation, I'm not sure if this would happen. But now I have someone I can't let down, cheering me on - so it does make it that much easier. And I'll take it.

And even though 2013 didn't start off great - believe me, when they say bad things happen in 3's, well, I've had enough in just the last 4 months to cover the next 3 years - it's definitely turning around. My writing is going well, the contests I've entered have been fun, and I'm back out pounding the pavement - both figuratively and literally. And that's all good news, in my book. 

Anyone else have news to share - be it in contests, writing, or personal goals?

My 3 Year Blog-o-versary: WINNERS!!!

And the winners are:

Sara Biren

- and - 

Kris F. Oliver

Congratulations, ladies! Head on over to and pick out a book (let me know a couple of your preferred options, as they aren't always in stock)!

Also, Sara, please email me your mailing address - thanks!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and helping celebrate my 3 years! 

My 3 Year Blog-o-versary!

I totally wanna hold up 3 fingers, when I see that image there to the left. 

Because today, I am 3 years old. 

Well, okay, my blog is three.

But I can't believe it. 3 years - which first started out on Blogger, then somewhere down the road, transitioned into this beautiful website via my great friend and CP partner, Bridgid Gallagher. But 3 years? Where has the time gone?

I remember my very first post like it was yesterday - it was simply just a link to "Guide to Literary Agents" with the caption of: "Great blog that I follow - always an interesting read!" Wow, now that there is Pulitzer prize winning content, for sure! Why, oh why, don't I have an agent? :)

And for someone that usually has no issue talking to anyone, at the time of my first post, I was at a loss for words...but more importantly, was worried no one would even read what I was writing.

But I tried it again and the very next day, I posted a link on how to write a great hook / logline - and I can't believe it actually still gets hits, 3 years later.

Many things changed over the years and as I grew into my writer's skin, I definitely learned to become more vocal - and my posts grew substantially in length. Having my own blog also gave me the opportunity to meet so, so, so, many wonderful writers and authors, allowed me to share my thoughts through book reviews, host giveaways, compete in contests (including one for my first ever flash-fiction piece you can read here, which I won 2nd place in!), pimp the amazing YA critique and support group I started - YAwesome Writers - and promote book blog tours (which may include a great video or two).

My blog has also been a place where I've shared my own personal struggles as a writer - and human being - and in turn, I've received overwhelming support from so many of you. I've been lucky to meet some of you in person - and others I've shared so many emails with, it has made it feel like I've known you my entire life.

And because of this, I'd like to thank all of you. Every single one of you that's taken the time to read my posts, leave a comment, share a link, reach out via email - all of you. Thank you for trudging through 3 great years as I've worked towards quitting my day job, to become a full-time writer. Maybe one day it will happen. And when it does, believe me, you'll be the first to know.

So to put a little something tangible behind my gratitude, I'd like to giveaway a book of the winners choice, to 2 of my fabulous blogging friends (retail value $20 USD maximum, each) via The Book Depository. This giveaway will be open internationally, so all my friends in the great country to the North of me - as well as all around the world - can enter! As long as The Book Depository ships to your address, you're eligible. All you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below - no tricks, no fancy requirements...but if you leave a comment or follow me on Twitter, it's worth more entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'll draw names one week from today, Wednesday, March 6, 2013 and announce the winners here on my blog - so make sure to check back. 

Thank you for all of your support over the past 3 years! And here's to many more!

Two Roads Diverged...

So many of you know I've been in an exclusive R&R with an amazing agent - and for those of you who don't know, the story goes a little something like this:

I started querying THE LUCKY FEW back in late April of 2011 and decided to do things a little differently than I'd done in the past. My first batch was a smattering of queries - unlike the deluge I'd sent out for my prior two books - and I had an amazing response. Out of the 8 I sent, I received 5 fulls, 1 partial, 1 decline, and 1 no response. I was off to a great start. 

When 2 declines came in on fulls, I decided to query Mr. Agent Man on July 11, 2011. This agent has been in my top 3, of all-time agents, since I started querying over five years ago for other books - and I'd been holding off on sending to him, to see what kind of responses I'd recieve from my first round.

He replied six minutes later, requesting the full.

I was ecstatic and of course, immediately sent it - and the very next day, he'd called. He, along with his assistant, had read my MS over-night - and he'd also sent it along to some of his colleagues in their NYC office. He wasn't quite prepared to sign me, but he definitely wanted an exclusive R&R together. And so, after asking for a few days to settle with the other agents that already had my fulls and partials, I let him know I was ready to go. 

Over the next 7 months, I'd completed 2 separate revisions with responses from him in the form of editorial letters, emails, and conference calls. By February of 2012, we agreed there were just so many great directions I could take my story...and deciding on one path, seemed more difficult than any of us thought. Ultimately, we decided a complete shift needed to happen - which required me to scrap more than 60,000 of the then 89,000 words, and rewrite them completely.

After running the gammut of emotions on what this actually would mean, I finally settled in and tackled the beast. It took almost five months to complete - but I finished, had all of my CP's read and critique at break-neck speed, and had it back to him by July of last year. By September, he'd emailed that he was 100% on board with the direction I'd taken and was more than happy with my rewrite - however, he needed more time to final scrub and get back to me. 

Between then and now, his amazing assistant left the agenting business and he became inundated with not only his own clients, but her's as well - and the communication between us became less frequent. By January of this year, I emailed with a timeline, needing some type of response, before I felt it was fair I move on. 

In the end, I did hear back from him - we chatted on the phone and ultimately decided, his plate had become too full and he just couldn't give me the time I was going to need. So as it goes, our journey - after over 20 months working together - had come to an end.

He did ask to pass my manuscript along to few other agents in his office, feeling if he couldn't take on my MS, the next best thing would be to keep it in house. As well, he also recommended the names of a handful of agents outside the agency that he felt would be a great fit.

And now that brings us to last week. 

Honestly, while I am disappointed things didn't work out - especially after so much hard work and time - I couldn't be more happy with the change my story took on, and am so thankful to have had the opportunity of working exclusively with an agent of his caliber. I do believe everything happens for a reason and I'm very much looking forward to finding an amazing agent that loves THE LUCKY FEW as much as I do! 

So now I'm back out on the hunt. And yes, it sucks to be back at square one...but as one of my fabulous CP's said, maybe I am back at square one - but if I am, I'm there with a jet pack on, while most everyone else is on foot. Huh. What a great way to look at it, right? I'm so grateful for ALL of my CP's, as they've helped so much through this entire process - and honestly, if it weren't for them, I really think I may have shelved my writing for awhile.

But agents beware, I'm not letting you off the hook that easily. In fact, if anything, I'm pushing forward with a fury. I'm tackling this one, head on. And who knows how it will all turn out, but for now, bring. it. on. 

And like my all-time favorite poem by Robert Frost, I'll head once again, down the road less traveled - and I know it will make ALL the difference.

What about any of you - have you experienced anything similar? And if so, how did you deal with it?

Happy 2013: My Word For The Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

I'd probably say 2012 brought a few challenges my way, but overall, it was a pretty successful year. 

First and foremost, I managed to do a complete rewrite on THE LUCKY FEW - which was beyond one of the biggest / craziest undertakings I've ever attempted, in my writing endeavors. I didn't know I had it in me to scrap over 50,000 words in my manuscript and rewrite them all over again. And I never thought I'd be even happier with the outcome, than before I started. 

The day I got to hit the send button and ship it off to Mr. Agent Man, was a happy day indeed! 

And speaking of Mr. Agent Man - we've been working exclusively together for 17 months now. And within that time, I've done two revisions and the one massive rewrite. He's been amazing to work with and honestly, I think THE LUCKY FEW is in a much better place than it ever has been.

Now all I need to do is wait. And man, the waiting is pain.ful

But, I've decided 2013 is going to be an even better year than 2012! It includes a few goals, such as hoping to hear good news from Mr. Agent Man on my rewrite - and more importantly, that he wants to sign me. I also really want to get moving on book number two in the series (aside from getting my outline down on paper, I've only written a few chapters). I've also just started a new relationship with Scrivener, but until I'm completely comfortable, I haven't walked away from Word, just yet. And I'd also like to attempt to blog more - especially since February brings my third year on the web!

So to follow suit from Katy Upperman and a post she wrote today on her Word Of The Year - I thought I'd also come up with a word for 2013! And this year's word is:


Perseverance (as defined by Merriam-Webster): continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness

But I think Winston Churchill said it best:

So, what does 2013 mean for you? What will your Word Of The Year be?

Re-Writes, Schme-writes: I'M FINALLY DONE!!!

I am so happy to be able to finally write this post, after all, it's been almost one year in the making! Because late Sunday night / early Monday morning, I finally - and I can't believe I actually get to type this:

I Finished my rewrite on THE LUCKY FEW.

Almost one year ago - July 11th to be exact - I queried Mr. Agent Man...and received a phone call from him the very next day, requesting an exclusive revision. And, well, of course I jumped at the chance!

A few weeks later, he sent me a detailed letter that was single spaced and ten pages long. TEN! 10.

And after reading those pages, I realized exactly the opportunity I was holding in my hands - but what I wasn't prepared for, was the challenge to rethink the entire platform of my book. As in, "what if we looked at it this way?" 

To which I went through the following:

Wait, what? You mean my book isn't amazing as-is? Huh. I thought it was pretty good. Wait, now that you mention it, maybe it's just so-so. Okay, NOW I get it, I see what you're thinking!

And voila! An entirely different focus was born...although that in itself, took several months to get to. Lucky for me, there was plenty of back and forth, which included multiple emails and conference calls with he and his fabulous assistant (did I mention the complete and utter state of shock I was in, that this was even happening?). 

It was all so exciting - first to be working with someone of his stature, second, to be getting top-notch feedback, and third, to be working with an agent at all.

But man, rewrites are tough.

And I constantly struggled with what could stay - always analyzing if the writing in question, moved the story forward - but what was worse than that...was what needed to go. It was like watching the series finale of FRIENDS (one of my all-time favorite shows!), or finishing the last sentence in MOCKINGJAY. And I realized it was as if I wanted to put it off, so I wouldn't have to say goodbye.

But then I heeded the advice of one of my fabulous critique partners - Heidi S.:

Just get in there and do it - and stop over-thinking it all!

Or something like that. I'm sure it was much more eloquently written, but none-the-less, it had the same impact. She tends to keep it real like that. And it's for this that I love her so!

So I took Heidi's advice and I got in there and did it. I axed almost 35,000 words *eek*, then rewrote 40,000 more *yay!* The past two weeks have been serious late nights...and I can't remember the last time I was in bed, before 2:30am. Which makes for a very long day at the office, when my alarm goes off at 5am.

But I so want this. I almost ache for it. And knowing I was so close to being done, I knew it was something that I just had to do. Besides, late night writing is my favorite, when all is quiet in the world. 

And late last night, after re-reading it again, I was finally able to send it off to my CP's. Now it's in their hands to tear apart. And I look forward to reading all their suggestions, feedback, and seeing a smiley face or two, when they read something they like. 

Then once they're done, I'll make my final revisions and off to Mr. Agent Man it goes! And I can't wait.

Until then, I look forward to having Thursday and Friday off this week. And the fact I may be able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight. In fact, I may sleep through all the fireworks, once my head hits that pillow.

And that's okay by me. Because I'M FINALLY DONE.

And my fingers are crossed. 

Rewrites or revisions - what was this process like for you? 

Happy 4th of July (or belated Happy Canada Day, to my friends to the North!) - wishing you all a wonderful week! And I completely forgot - looks like tonight might be a later night than I expected, but for an entirely different reason: my husband and I are going to see Joan Jett! I know, you're jealous. :)