Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Guest Blog: Stacy-Deanne - pubished author

Continuing with the writing by and for writers series, I have Stacy-Deanne with us today. I have long been a fan of Stacy-Deann and feel honored to call her a friend.

I had the privilege of interviewing the unbelievable talented and beautiful Stacy-Deanne:

Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us what kind of novels you write?

My primary genres are crime fiction, mystery and suspense.

When did you know you wanted to write? And how did you decide to write what you do?

I began writing at 19 when I got my first computer. I've always been a mystery and suspense buff so those are the type of stories I have the most interest in. I am a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan and seeing how he is my idol I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

When did you get your first contract for publication?

The end of 2003

Can you tell us, as best you can, how long it took from the time you sent your first query until your first book appeared on shelves? Feel free to go into detail as much as you’d like…

Wow, let me see if I can remember. My first book was published in 2005 but it wasn't the first book I went on submission with. I'd written about eleven books before then and had subbed about half of them. My debut book wasn't even fiction but a compilation biography centering on female musicians. The very first query I ever sent was probably back in 1997 or 1998. I subbed several different novels for years and out of all those earlier novels I've written, only one of those have been published. So as you can see the first book you sub most likely is not the first book that will be published and most times your first book isn't ever published. Since 2005 I've released three more books with my next fifth on the way. I consider all those earlier novels I wrote as practice so I am not sure if I would ever go back to subbing them one day or not.

When you’re not writing, what books do you enjoy reading?

I love to read the same types of books I write. I love mysteries, thrillers, detective stories as well as historical romance.

Do you have a favorite author?

I love mostly the classic authors but two of my favorites are Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe.

In your opinion, what is one of the biggest mistakes new authors make? And how do you feel about the new craze of self-publishing?

A lot of new writers are too impatient. They don't wanna put in the time and effort it takes to sell a novel. It's true that every road doesn't fit every writer but I feel like too many newbies expect it to be easy these days. I am seeing less and less of people who take time to fix up their craft and work on their writing and more of the people who want instant gratification or who think that all you have to do is write a book, throw it out there and people will buy it. That's an insult to writers who take their craft seriously and the truth is every book isn't worthy of publication. But if you want the rewards you gotta work hard for them. There's no shortcut. As for self-publishing the craze isn't at all new. Self-publishing has been around for generations, except now people are self-publishing ebooks. I have mixed feelings about it. I think it's good for some writers and damaging to those who don't know enough about the business and who expect it to be a quick and easy recipe for success.

Do you have any advice for those of us still trying to break into the publishing industry?

One of the most important things is to learn the business and how publishing works. Also work hard on your craft. Be patient and don't worry about time. If you love writing and are doing it for you then there is no need to rush. You don't wanna regret a decision you rushed into later. Make sure your book is the best it can be. Anyone can write a book but not everyone can write a book that deserves to be published and that people will wanna read. Also welcome positive criticism because it only makes you a better writer. Too many new writers think that their work is perfect and that they don't need any input but that's not realistic.

Again, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to answer these questions.

Thank you for having me!

Where can we find your books and keep up with your news?

My books are available wherever books are sold. Keep up with me by visiting the sites below. My upcoming release, "The Season of Sin" will be released February 2012 (Peace in the Storm Publishing).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Guest Blog: Warren Lapine-Publisher

As a new series, I will be posting guest blogs by other professionals in the industry, as well as some great tips on writing, some awesome links to people like Nathan Bransford, and some of the best books on every aspect of writing, editing, publishing, etc.

Today, I have the privilege of interviewing publishing professional, Warren Lapine of Wilder Publications, Inc. Thank you so much for joining us and answering some often asked questions.

Thank you, Warren Lapine, for joining us, and bringing your publishing expertise.

You’re welcome, I’m always happy to talk about the publishing field.

Can you tell us how long you have been in the publishing business?

April marks twenty years, it seems like it was only last week.

What made you want to enter this industry?

I’ve wanted to be part of the publishing industry since I was a kid. I started writing when I was ten or eleven and I thought about getting into magazines as early as fourteen.

Was there a book in your childhood that made you sit up and pay attention? A book that made you think “I want to work with books when I grow up”?

Yes, Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny shook my world to its core. It made me realize that what I’d been doing since fourth grade was writing and that I wanted to make people feel the way Zelazny’s writing made me feel.

In your experience, what has been some of the wackiest queries? How about the most uniquely interesting?

Oddly enough I haven’t received all that many odd queries. Back when I published magazines I would tell people not to send me queries as I could decide on a story just as fast as I could a query. As a book publisher nothing stands out when I try to remember all the queries I’ve seen. I did get one cover letter, though that still stands out even after all these years. It said, “Dear Mr. Ryan, I am sending you this story in the hopes, of course, that you will consider it for publication in Asimov’s.” I noted in my rejection letter that he had sent the manuscript to one editor, asked that a second editor consider it for a third magazine. When I mentioned this to Darrell Schweitzer (at the time he was the editor of Weird Tales) he told me I’d blown it. I should have said, “I’m sorry Planet Stories has ceased publication,” and signed it Frederick Pohl.

As a publishing professional, what is one of your biggest pet peeves with writers just starting down the road to publication?

I don’t have a lot of pet peeves. People with pet peeves usually don’t last long as editors or publishers. I’ve probably seen more than a million manuscripts, if I had had a lot of pet peeves I imagine I’d have lost my mind by now.

What is the biggest no-no for newcomers in the writing industry?

Writing a rejection letter to a rejection letter or writing an angry letter telling an editor why they are wrong. It may make you feel better, but there is absolutely no way it can do anything to help your career.

Can you give us your best piece of advice to us newbies?

Write. Don’t waste too much time on rewriting. You improve more as a writer when you are writing something new. Going through the same story over and over again actually slows down your progress as a writer.

Thank you so much, again, Mr. Lapine, for allowing us to pick through your brain.

It was a pleasure, thanks for inviting me.

You can find Mr. Lapine at his website or on Facebook.
Stay tuned the rest of the week, not to mention month, for interviews from unbelievably beautiful and talented authors, such as Stacy-Deanne and Tracy Ames.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why aren't writers skinny?

Okay, I get the fact that we don't move around much, being as most of us sit at a computer for anywhere from 2-12 hours a day. I know I've clocked in more on occasion. But, if you are anything like me, you hardly eat.
Anyone else hear the song in their head?

For instance, I'm sitting here writing this blog, starving, and I keep telling myself  'I'll eat after ___', fill in the blank. Right now, I'll eat after I finish with this blog entry. Before that, it was 'I'll eat after I finish answering some emails.'

No, I'm not starving myself, but like so many others, my diet consists of whatever I can pop into my mouth while not losing any momentum on the keyboard. I've eaten bites of salad between paragraphs, grapes get popped into my mouth while typing one-handed, or a banana gets shoved into my mouth...whole. Trust me, my daytime eating habits are not something you want to witness.

Oh, don't look at me like that; you know you do it, too.

So, again I ask - Why aren't writers skinny?

I've heard theories about the writers spread; you know, the same things office workers supposedly get. You sit too much and the derriere takes on its own zip code.

*sigh* Anyone know of a way to virtually workout while writing?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love me, touch me, kiss me....

I've been on a major romance kick the past week and a half. Maybe it's because Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Or maybe it's because I'll be celebrating my wedding anniversary to my soul mate this month. Regardless of the reason, it has given me a lot of romantic inspiration for my writing. Which, of course, got me thinking about my romance song list.

So, for your listening - and viewing - enjoyment, and in no specific order, here are some of the most romantic songs for which to write to, make love to, or just snuggle to. Enjoy!

Kissing You by Des'Ree. I first heard this song while watching Romeo + Juliet. The the music alone makes me crave hands moving through my hair, fingers brushing down my cheek.

My Love by Sia. Any Twihard knows this song. This is played during the infamous, extremely romantic and sensual make-out scene in Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Can't you picture Edward's hands moving so gently over Bella's face?

Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. Ahhhh. I can picture every single action as the song plays out. You can feel the way Eric loves his woman in this song.

Can't Take My Eyes Off You  by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. A little indulgent and cute, sure, but I so badly want this song sung to me!

Make A Memory by Bon Jovi. This band can sing just about anything and it makes me think of snuggling...or more!

I'll Be There For You by Bon Jovi. You can't think of romantic and Bon Jovi without this one. *sigh*

I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing by Aerosmith. The lyrics, the movie, the moments. What woman doesn't want to think their man loves every single thing about them?

What songs bring love to mind? What really makes you crave your significant other's touch, their lips?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You asked, I answered. This is how I write...

Dozens of people have asked me over the past year how to write a book. Normally, I say...just write. That doesn't always go over well, but I don't always know how to tell someone who's never written a short story how to write a novel. While trying to go to sleep last night, an analogy I heard once on one of the writing boards I stalk started playing through my head. I just added a little to it....

When starting a book, you have to think of Adam and Eve.

Want a bite?

 Yep, that's what I said-Adam and Eve. Everything has to start with the bones. Not everyone does this part the same, but all stories end up the same way - the skeletal form of a novel. Some choose to outline. Some choose to wing it. I'm a little of both. Sometimes I have a fabulous idea, but have to sit down and type out a few things to see if I can make it work. Other times, I outline nothing more than the character or world building. When I write a story I want to know where the characters went to school, their favorite colors, their fave food and drink, why they act the way they do, even if they've ever had an ingrown toe nail. Now, of course a majority of this never makes it into the book, but it helps me get to know the characters better.

Other times, I know what I want to happen, but I'm not sure which order, so I outline the approximate events. A lot of times this will tell me if I even want to include certain events, or eliminate them completely.

The next part is adding the meat. Obviously, we can't walk around as nothing but skeletons. It would cause mass panic, and people would try to hunt us thinking we were zombies.

Gr. I'm a zombie..

This is where after planning what I want to happen, or maybe even after doing the mad dash to get the story out of my head, I'll go back and add details. Maybe I need to add more description of the room which will play a huge part in a scene. Maybe I need to add more description to a fight scene to make it more intense. Or maybe I need to do a little more research about a certain species of creature, or illness someone is inflicted with. The story is now resembling a real novel.

Now, at times, we women (and some men) want perfection. Therefore, we have to go through the book and remove the moles, warts, blemishes, and all imperfections. Beauty marks may look good on a woman, but they don't in a novel. Well, at least not a lot of beauty marks. You don't want to send a novel into the universe covered in zits!
I'm sexy and I know it...

What I mean by imperfections is all those repeat words, the excessive 'that's, and all of those annoying adverbs! Kill them! Kill them all!!!! Okay, not all. But adverbs should be like any seasoning...used in moderation.

There. Hopefully this short description helped someone. How do you write? Do you have some advice for those who are finally sitting down to write the book they've always dreamed of?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Inspiration or Distraction - Is technology killing the creative mind?

As an adult, I had a television in my bedroom for about five years. Not only that, but the alarm clock is right next to my head, my phone sits on the nightstand, and my laptop was on the floor beside the bed. My doctor said I should remove all of these things from my room to eliminate all the electrical energy from my room. I removed the TV and laptop, and whaddayaknow, I sleep better, with less crazy dreams.

On Absolute Write Water Cooler there was recently a conversation about creativity being squashed by so many distractions, and it got me thinking - are we killing our imagination?

I've always tended to have the TV playing in the background, or music, as I came from a large family, and have a busy house, therefore, I'm accustomed to a more chaotic home. But, could all of these things be interfering with my 'what-if' factor?

The poster of the question was concerned by his lack of ideas-no matter how much television he watched, how many news clips he read, etc he couldn't seem to find fresh ideas. Could these outside influences be killing the gene responsible for our outlandish ideas?

Most of my ideas come from my dreams. Of course, at times they've come from other 'what-if' circumstances, or hit me while on the back of my husband's Road King, but I tend to remember the dreams and nightmares more often. Which, by the way, would contradict the whole 'remove the clock and phone from beside your bed' idea. 

Do you rely on outside stimuli to awaken your creative senses? Or do you prefer a solitary walk to get the juices flowing? Do you need silence, or do you prefer some inspirational music to get you in the mood?