Monday, November 9, 2015

Donuts and Revising

So, I got thinking last night about my mental revising process. It always starts with, "No, I don't think I can do that. I've already revised and I think I'm good." Such is my reaction when someone offers me a whipped maple bar donut and I'm trying to watch my waistline, "No, no thanks. I'm good." Then, I catch a whiff of the maple goodness. Likewise, I keep thinking of how I could revise and eventually I see a tiny light where I could possible change something, so I dive in a little. I have a little taste of the donut. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is soooooo good, how could I ever deny myself this piece of heaven? Same reaction to my brilliant revisions. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is soooooo good!

Revisions may not always seem possible, hitting the delete key is always a knife to the chest (not going to lie, sometimes I cut and paste on a separate document and revisit my previous words), but the end result is always something I am so much more in love with. So here's me handing you a virtual whipped maple bar and telling you it is too good! REVISE, REVISE, REVISE!

Monday, October 12, 2015

#StoriesForAll, Passionate May Be an Understatement!

I'm just slightly passionate about the #StoriesForAll subject that Shannon Hale recently launched. A little background info...My (boy) child was embarrassed to take a Junie B. Jones book to school because it was a "girl book". I distinctly remember looking at him and saying, "Humor and Funny are for EVERYONE!" He looked at me with the "whatever" face, so what does Mom do? Mom goes all passionate on him..."Did Mom read Diary of a Wimpy Kid? YES! Did Mom read Harry Potter? YES! Did Mom read Geronimo Stilton? YES! Are those BOY books?" (Mom waits for an answer from terrified 8yr. old) "Well yes... I mean no...well kind of?" he says with trepidation. *Mom smiles proud* "All of your answers are right! They ARE boy books and they ARE girl books, but that's what makes BOOKS so awesome. They are for EVERYONE! They take us into another world, they teach us things that we might not learn otherwise, and sometimes they are purely for entertainment!" He obviously ended up giggling at my speech.

But, this did get me thinking... Have I ever said anything like this to any of my children? Did I wait to buy "girl books" until after I had a girl? Have I ever looked at a grown man reading a romance novel and giggled a little? ABSOLUTELY, and shame on me! *Super Sad Face* In all honesty, I think we all have. I'd even stretch the subject to movies. How many times are movies stereotyped "chick flick" or "blow it up guy movie"? ALL THE TIME! I guess that would make my 6'2", 220lb, buff, cowboy husband a "chick" then, because given the choice he would pick a "girl movie".

About a year later, the above mentioned son and his friends, started reading Dork Diaries. They did it to be funny, at first, but then seriously ended up liking them. The librarian commented that many of the girls complained that the  boys had taken all of the books, which gave her the opportunity to expand their reading horizons.

Wow folks, I could go ON and ON, but I'll spare you. In closing, I think all of us have room to improve on this. Especially, with our boys! End book-bullying both in your home and encourage them to block book-bullying at school. A few strong-willed kids can make a BIG change.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Humanity is Alive and Well!

Sometimes after watching the news, or simply scrolling through my Twitter feed I wonder if there is any humanity left in the world. This is sad, because I consider myself a fairly optimistic person.

One thing I love about my job at the hospital is what a truly humbling environment it is. When people are sick and otherwise helpless, true colors are shown. Each day at work, I am thanked, hugged, and sometimes surprised later with a kind note from a patient or their family. Humanity is ALIVE and well.

The same has been true with my writing life. I remember, not long ago, I contacted an editor. (Her name is Jen Arena and I HIGHLY recommend her) We talked on the phone about my MS before I sent it to her and at the end of the conversation I asked her, "So, how do you want me to pay you? Send 1/2 now and the rest when you're done? PayPal? etc." She quickly answered, "Oh, no! I'll just send you an invoice and you can send me a check." I'm sure your reaction is the same as mine was. WHAT!!!! PEOPLE STILL DO THAT!?! SOMEONE ACTUALLY TRUSTS THAT YOU WILL SEND YOUR CHECK! HUMANITY IS ALIVE AND WELL.

Then, my experience has continued through my Twitter contacts. I feel like I have been surrounded by such wonderful people. They are constantly posting helpful tips, agent research (we all know how long that takes!), and encouraging words. I get giddy and squeal (sometimes in the middle of a dentist office) when I hear my CP's have received requests for fulls, and likewise, when I get requests, I want my writing peeps to know first. Humanity is ALIVE and well in the writing world. I've always felt like my hospital life and writing life are completely separate entities, but maybe now, not so much!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

To Contest, or Not to Contest!

Being new to the writing world, I was completely unaware of all these "Parties," "Wars," "Secret Agents," etc. going on without me! I'm sure the contest route is not for everyone, but I am quickly finding out that I am a fan. These contests have brought me more friends, CPs, and cheerleaders than I could ever image. In such a short time, too. As I look back at this blog, I remember typing out those first few posts feeling alone and using this as more of a journal. Now, I hope to transition it into things that have helped me and tips that I continue to get. So, if you are even remotely interested in doing contests, my answer to you is DO IT! Obviously, it's really fun to win, but as I stated in my last post the friendships are worth more than any of it. Keep writing, keep revising, and revising, and revising, and enter a contest for the fun of it, because that's truly what they're all about.

Monday, September 21, 2015

It was a WIN, long before the results were in!

Not going to lie, there is a box of tissues beside me as I type this post (don't judge). Now here's the story:

I just happened to notice a hashtag one day while scanning through Twitter, #PBParty, and being the party girl that I AM, I clicked on it. The heavens opened and the angel by the name of Michelle Hauck descended. There before me was her website detailing a contest for picture books and CHAPTER BOOKS!!!!!! (and the choirs started singing). First of all, I loved the entry criteria. The concept of the first 50/100 words was brilliant. Second, I love the teamwork aspect (enters second angel Sharon Chriscoe) of having two party hosts. Third, the week long party after entry day, truly was a PARTY!!

I was able to meet so many wonderful PB/CB authors and find out so much about them through the daily prompts set-up by our fab hostesses. I loved all of the hints, tips, and comments made. It was through this "waiting-period week" that I  quickly realized, I had already WON! Anyone can win a contest, but you can't always find priceless friends, write-tips, and CPs.

Now for the big news...I AM A FINALIST! After I scared my three year old half to death by screaming in her ear, I broke out the tissues.

I don't think Michelle and Sharon will ever know what this has meant to me. Your names will forever be part of my heart and my author journey bio. You have given me a great chance and if we ever meet, I know we will be fast friends! Thanks again, and I can't wait for Wednesday and many writing years with my new found #PBParty friends. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Whisperings at Midnight...

I had one of those, wake out of a dead sleep, whisperings of a new book idea last night. After arguing with "said voice", I finally listened and fired up the computer. (Bless my sleeping husbands heart for putting up with me) What I've come to find out, is these voices usually have the best ideas. So, for all you Ghost Voices out there, I'm Pam and I am listening.

The book I wrote was actually a picture book, which I've never really tried. (Yes, I need another meeting with Idea-aholics Anon. SOON!) The funniest part, is this multi-tasking behavior is somewhat foreign to me. I tend to usually have a lot of "type A" personality. Very task driven. I get things done quickly and efficiently and move on to the next thing. The fact that I have 3-4 different WIP going in different genres right now should be alarming, but I'm choosing to embrace it. I'm sure they won't all get published...But what if they do?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

50 Shades of Chapter Book Grey

When I first started writing chapter books I didn't realize what a small world it was! It's sandwiched between the two gods of picture books and middle grade. Most people consider chapter books a picture book because each chapter usually has a B&W illustration. I've seen others, who say early middle grade. I don't know the answer, but I do know that it's the place for me to be. I've recently submitted to a wonderful contest #PBParty hosted by Michelle Hauck and Sharon Criscoe on Twitter. They've helped me to connect with more chapter book authors and get some questions answered. We've definitely identified that there is a grey area with agent submissions. As hard as I try to research, it's hard to know who is interested in chapter books. I've found many at the Bent Agency, Andrea Brown Lit., Nancy Gallt Agency, Pippin prop. and Brandt&Hochman agency. Yesterday, I took a field trip to the library to look at CB acknowledgements to see if I could find who agented their series.

Interesting findings: 1. 50% of CB were self-sub to publishers because that was how it was back then, 2. I did not find even ONE acknowledgement to an agent (serious sad face), 3. My internet searchings were successful, but limited (mentions above).

So, what I would love to find, is those out there that accept CB queries that may not advertise it as much. The ones who say PB and that includes CB, or ones that say MG and would be willing to look at CB. Thus, my new # is born. #CBagenthunt. If you find or know of any CB agents please tag them or add them using the #CBagenthunt. Let's get the 50 shades down to maybe 25...