Meet with Me on Thursday! We’ll Talk Queries.

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One of the most daunting parts of writing is actually querying and submitting your stories. It’s a bit frightening to look up strangers and ask them if they’d like to read your work, but it’s an integral part to the process that simply can’t be skipped. You can’t be published if you don’t submit, yes? And you can’t submit if you don’t query. So I’m here to talk about it in a friendly, straight-forward manner and hopefully take the fear out of the process. We can do this, guys. What’s even more important? We¬†will do this.

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Come to the Tap House and attend the Las Vegas Writer’s Group meeting this Thursday. The food is great, it’s a casual, friendly atmosphere, and I’ll be speaking on querying and submissions. New writers are absolutely welcome, and it’s always great for veteran writers to brush up on their skills. Doors open at six for dinner and networking, and I start speaking at seven. I’ll be signing books after, if you’d like to stick around. There will be a five dollar entrance fee at the door.

The Tap House

5589 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89146 at 7:00.

My goal is to have you feel confident in querying. Please bring any questions you have and I’ll make sure to answer them. You can learn more by following this link. Hope to see you on Thursday!

 

I’m Presenting Thursday Night In Vegas! Join Me!

So tomorrow is my presentation to the Las Vegas Writer’s Group. Yay! I’ll be talking about publishing with a small press. It’s at the Tap House (5589 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas) at 7:00. $5 to get in. Walk through the doors and take a quick right. We’re in back. Wanna learn about the small press? Wanna connect with other Vegas writers? Meet up with us, grab dinner and a drink, and hang out. Please come say hi. I’d be so happy to see you. ūüôā

You can find out more information by following this link.

Stop 6: Interviewed by Jesus

Some of you know him as Jesus.¬† Or “that cool hippie dude”.¬† Because, thanks to Mason Bundschuh’s crazy beard, he now looks like this:

 

Mason “Jesus” B, billie the girl, and Ryan “I’m possessed by imps” Bridger. Oh yeah, and me.

When I met El Chupacabra, he looked more like this:

 

(HA, Mason! That’s for beating me at the Las Vegas Valley Book Festival Flash Fiction contest!)

Anyway, M is one of my favorite wombats ever. You hear me speak quite a bit about my writer’s group, The Illiterati.¬† Mason sat me down (as well as he could) and forced me to answer some questions.¬† Want to hear about the Titanic? Our fantastic dance-off?¬† (That’s in the previous interview that he links to on the page. It’s awesome.)¬† If you want to see a little (but not much) skin, stop on by!¬† The interview can be read here.

 

Also, I’ve been out of town because my one and only sibling got hitched to his beautiful bride. Congratulations, Riley and Corina! I love you guys!

In Which I Suggest That You Don’t Check Your Ego At The Door

I was on a panel at Killercon last year, and I came out with an unpopular opinion concerning writer’s groups.¬† Don’t always check your ego at the door, I said.¬† Sometimes it isn’t worth it.¬†

You can see the expressions¬†that R.J. Cavender, Sam W. Anderson, and Brad C. Hodson¬†are wearing. (Actually, I’m just lucky that they’re looking so serious in this shot.¬† They are such fun, delightful guys!)¬† Still, there’s a knee-jerk reaction to such a sweeping generalization, and here’s why.

Writers have egos.¬† You know it. I know it. In fact, there’s an e-card going around that addresses that general idea.

It fits quite a few writers.¬† We created the work, we populated¬†it with people, and so we know what’s best, right?¬† Not always. That’s where¬†a wonderful writing group comes in. You¬†want to be with people who have a good eye and are trustworthy.¬† That is when you check your ego at the door.¬† That’s when you sit down and say, “Hey,¬†here’s my work.¬† Tear it apart; I can take it.”¬† It isn’t easy. Especially if you¬†don’t feel that the group¬†understands your work or they don’t genuinely have your back.

You¬†guys know that I’m absolutely mad about¬†my writer’s group. They’re family.¬† We invite each other to blessings and birthdays and nights out.¬† They have my back in the real world as well as the literary one.¬† With them, I absolutely put my ego aside. But we’ve been together for three or four years, for weekly face-to-face meetings that last an average of three hours.¬† We have earned each other’s trust.

But¬†say that you’re with a new group, or what’s worse, an assigned group.¬† Perhaps your teacher or the guy in charge of the city writer’s group just slapped you in with a bunch of other writers.¬† Your ego?¬† Your belief in yourself?¬† Wrap¬†it around you like armor. You might need it.

I’m not saying that you don’t¬†listen.¬† I’m not suggesting that you are in any way disrespectful, because that’s unacceptable.¬† But this group doesn’t understand you¬†yet, and their¬†suggestions might not be gold.¬† I can’t tell you how many times I see somebody¬†offering critique after critique that essentially rewrites the original story.¬† It stamps out the voice and¬†intensity.¬† It’s no longer a story by Author A, but a new story by Author B.¬† However, that only happens if Author A¬†allows it.¬†¬†I know sometimes the temptation is there to¬†simply incorporate the changes, especially for new or rather insecure writers.¬† But don’t.¬† While you don’t want to be a self-absorbed jerk, you do need to stand up for your work sometimes.¬† Then while the world is mad at you, you have your ego to keep you warm at night.¬† ūüėČ

I realize I’m not explaining this as clearly as I’d like.¬† Shall we talk about it in the comments?¬† Shall our delicious writerly egos go after each other (kindly, of course) with foam swords and arrows made of Nerf?

My Angry Ginger and the Interdimensional Wombats, Or, Pushed

So, as expected, it’s been a time of ups and downs lately.¬† The surviving triplet is still in NICU and is on the countdown to coming home.¬† (Yay!) But I’m still dealing with, and will be dealing with the fact that the other babies were lost.¬† While optimism is the name of the game, it’s unrealistic not to expect bad days. And bad days (or weeks or months) means no motivation.

Ideally, I’d like to edit my demon novel before the babe comes home from the hospital, because (gasp!) I doubt I’ll suddenly develop more time after she arrives.¬† But nothing is lighting the fire under me. So what did I do?

I called in my backup.¬† I sat down with my writer’s group and my resident Angry Ginger (we’ll call her “Honey”) and said, “I need you to do this for me.”¬† I told Honey that I’d send her two edited chapters by 9 PM every night.¬† She didn’t need to read them but she needed to verify that I had finished them.¬† If I missed my deadline, she was to call and yell at me.¬† And she did! She used my full name, and soon I was sending three or four chapters a night.¬†¬†Honey can be very forceful. ūüėČ

My writer’s group, the Interdimensional¬†Wombats, are also following up on my demon novel progress.¬† I have to present the clean pages at our meetings.¬† But more than that, I threw down a jumbled list of deadlines and they quickly broke it into bite-sized pieces.¬† “This is due first, so have it by next week.¬† On Tuesday we’ll record this in the studio.¬† Follow up on this by the time we see you next,” etc.¬† Because honestly?¬† At this point my mind is consumed with the everyday things. Thank you cards, getting my son off to his month of summer classes, planning with my husband so at least one of us gets to NICU every day, etc.¬† Grocery shopping takes all of my mental prowess, so I have very little left over to organize other things.¬† Writing is a joy (editing, not so much) but I can do it once I get started. I just need somebody to push me off the diving board.¬† So thanks, my friends!

How do you work when you’re down,¬†scattered, or just plain don’t want to?

 

 

Bust It Out

I had a deadline yesterday. An important one. But life has thrown me a few curve balls lately, and I haven’t been writing as I would like to. I was THISCLOSE to emailing the editor and saying, “I’m sorry, but I simply can’t make this deadline. My story isn’t finished.” I’ve never done that before. I also think it’s a slippery slope. If you blow off a deadline once, what’s to stop you from doing it again?

I have wonderful writery friends. They told me that I should ask for an extension, or I should let the deadline go and focus on the rather heavy hand that we’ve been dealt. They filled my soul with kindness and good feeling. I am so grateful.

Then there was a member of my writer’s group. The phone call was maybe 60 seconds long, and his words changed everything. “Deadline? Just bust it out. See you tomorrow.”

Bust it out? Here I am, drowning in a world of confusion and misplaced words, and he says to bust it out? I realized two things: Number one, this guy is family. He gets that I need to write in order to breathe. I haven’t been writing, or breathing, lately. And number two, if he says that I can bust it out, I can bust it out.

It wasn’t easy. I had to tell my sweet daughter that playing mermaids out in the sunshine had to wait, because Mommy had to bust it out. (Not to be confused with busting a move, which, unfortunately, also happened. Mermaid style. Yeah, imagine that!) It isn’t my best work, but it’s a firm foundation with characters that I love, and I’ll polish it into something wonderful. More than that, I felt complete and utter triumph at sending it in. My deadline record is intact. I finished something that was hard. I started to breathe again.

This, my friends, is why you need people who get you 100%. I had to wait almost 30 years to find my writer’s group, but they’re a group for life. They tell me when it’s time to put the axe down and when it’s time to bust it out. I’m so grateful.