A COZY FOR GEEKS was my first attempt at novel writing, but I had flirted with success at screenwriting somewhat in my twenties. That experience-- which involved terrifying conversations with agents that led me nowhere-- had ultimately left me limping away from the writing world, a trail of blood and ego behind me. It was ugly-- although in retrospect, most of my wounds were imaginary. My confession: I was afraid of being a Failed Writer-- to the point that was I willing to give it up. I put it all behind me and instead focused on good, solid life goals: Husband, Librarianship, Kids, Xbox Achievements.
For a while.
Time passed, and through the magic of aging (and probably parenthood,) I found that I suddenly didn't care if anyone else regarded me as a Failed Writer. The thirty-something version of me, paunchier, and with considerably less hair, suddenly regarded the twenty-something version of me as some sort of self-involved thick-haired doofus. And so I started writing again.
I did it completely alone, in secret. No writing groups. No community. When I started submitting, in April, I was sending to ONE AGENT AT A TIME. I was working through WRITER'S MARKET alphabetically.
I eventually started following agents on twitter, and I heard about Query Kombat at the last minute. What the hey, right? I figured I'd lose in the first round (and Carol Ayer's DEAD PRINCESSES DON'T KISS was stiff competition), but I soldiered through. I eventually made it all the way to the quarter finals, where I was slain by the fabulous Betsy Aldredge.
Then the requests started.
I got three requests from the contest itself. But after the feedback from the first round, I had applied changes to my query. Hot changes! Awesome changes! And I wanted to test them out. So I started querying wider. Suddenly, I was rolling in requests.
Next came a "let's chat about your book" email just a few weeks after the competition. Can I just take a second to say that I found all of these conversations a little weird? More power to you if you instantly connected with your agent, but I was like a nervous first-date. I was awkward and bumbling, and that twenty-something version of me who had been rejected by film agents was listening in on my conversation and whispering things like, "run, you fool! It's a TRAP!"
Despite my ramblings-- I ineptly described my next project as a "comedy about the death of libraries"-- I still got an offer of rep. I told the agent thank you and that I would get back in a week. I then DM'd incoherent messages to amazing QK Judges Glen Coco and Omar Comin (N.K. Traver and Tatum Flynn), the content of which was basically: ZOMG!111!!!!1!1! Only longer. I may have initially gone over the 140 character limit. Also there was drinking.
I ultimately got four offers of representation (with a fifth 'let's talk' that came too late,) and so I got to repeat my awkward conversation three more times. I eventually started prefacing the talk with an admission that I was weird at this. Not in real-life, just this. The agents seemed to understand. Although, by conversation number four, I wasn't awkward at all. Talking with agents, like querying and synopsis-writing and everything else along this voyage is just another task that practice makes you good at.
Anyway, the agents were all awesome. I described them to my husband in byte-sized terms. Book blogger, enthusiastic new guy, geek enthusiast, editor-turned-agent. I DMd Tatum Flynn relentlessly, as well as writer friends I had made along the way. People said things like, "go with your gut," and "trust your heart," which sound good, except that my gut did not have a lot of insight. Mostly it was hungry.
Then came the awful bit: I had to pick one of them. If you've ever had the fantasy that at the end of all this rejection you might get the joy of turning down an agent for a change, I'm hear to tell you: it's awful! I liked all four agents. I would have been thrilled to be represented by any of them. Of all the things I'd been forced to write on this process, the rejection letters to agents were the most painful. It's like writing a Dear John letter, only worse. Blech. Just blech.
In the end, I settled with Caitlin Blasdell of Liza Dawson Associates. Caitlin represented lots of books I have in my own library, had a Hugo winner under her belt, and had given me scads of intriguing and detailed notes about my project. She also seemed supportive of a double-genre approach, with the sensible proviso that I write quickly. Now that I've been with her for a few weeks, and have made the first round of changes to my manuscript, I can't imagine having done anything else.
So that's my story. Shaggy, but true. And for you twenty-somethings, if things don't work out now, there's always hope a few years down the road. Worked for me.
|Max Wirestone can be found on Twitter here!|
I would think that duels are supposed to be interesting.
They had been preparing for the last half-hour.
You never know about such things.
They had said they would.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Mr. Ratherquite called out. “We are ready to begin. Thank you for your patience. We will try to keep the following duel entertaining–as well as suitable for the ladies.”
Mr. Ratherquite’s Ladies, who were watching with delight, giggled.
“Chickit, I’m ready!” Schwarz announced.
And this is when the professor noticed the weapon of choice: pistols from the 12th century. And if they didn’t have pistols then, from the 13th. And if not then, the 14th. Basically, these pistols must have been made at the earliest time possible.
Schwarz was putting grass into his barrel.
“You won’t win that way, stupid cur!” Salami yelled out.
“Oh, I will,” Schwarz returned. “I already put the that little gray ball in–oh yeah!”
Salami laughed, and leaned over to me, “Watch and see as this sucker blows up his cur face!”
And that’s when I saw Manly-Man and Ruber out of the corner of my eye.
They were sneaking up on Daddy Salami, whose eyes, I should mention, were glowing green.
Mr. Ratherquite and Schwarz stepped away from each other.
“As soon as I say go,” Mr. Ratherquite said (he was red in the face), “we will both fire.”
The crowd murmured.
“Go!” Mr. Ratherquite yelled.
Schwarz had fired first. (He said later that he had never agreed to Mr. Ratherquite’s conditions.)
And Schwarz’s shot went wide.
But it was a hit.
It hit Daddy Salami.
“Cur!” Salami yelled as he fell.
And then this professor heard Ruber say, “We got him now!” And he rushed forward.
It was a mistake.
Mr. Ratherquite’s gun went off next.
And it was a hit.
Ruber fell to the ground next to his dad.
“Ruber, me boy,” Salami said. “What ya doin’ here, huh?”
Around this time, Mr. Ratherquite and Schwarz were shaking hands.
LottieOllie–who I happened to notice (professor warriors notice most things)–had a smile on her face, as did Manly-Man.
Amelia was missing–which was a pity.
For she could have been one of the injured.
Both injured parties were carted off to Scientist’s abode.
It was a dangerous party.
As Wren could tell you, by the age 24, only 6 percent of foster kids get any kind of college degree, but 34 percent have been arrested. And the most recent data available say there were almost 400,000 foster kids in the U.S. as of 2012, so the issue is significant. Despite the Great Recession and the whole batch of college graduates who couldn’t immediately find work, a good education and a degree are still the best ticket to the middle class—and all the luxuries and security that affords.
Of course, numbers are just numbers and it can be hard to see real people in them. That’s one of the reasons I created Wren. The transition from teenager to adult is critical for foster kids. Those who do consider college can find the enrollment process and starting at a huge professional institution to be so intimidating that they give up. My novel obliquely deals with Wren’s insecurities about things most new college students don’t give a second thought to, or that their parents take care of. So I was pleased to find an article written for my newspaper’s Faith & Values section about a Christian college that offers four-year scholarships for foster kids.
The teen who starts the article has been a foster kid with stints of homelessness. The first time she attended a church service on campus and saw all the other students, this was her reaction: “I thought I didn’t have what they had,” she says in the story. “I thought, ‘I’m struggling already. I can’t afford school and to work at the same time.’ ”
Thomas White, the president of Cedarville University, established the scholarship. He has a 9-year-old adopted daughter and said the idea came to him as he looked at Ohio’s foster-care registry and wondered what would happen to the older teenagers. “Who’s going to demonstrate love to them and say they have value and purpose to God and have value and purpose to us?” he asked. “It’s just a way to give back to the community.”
And to change these teens’ lives. The young women in this article clearly had difficult childhoods, if you can call them childhoods at all, and now they have a chance to build something more from their lives, one that I hope comes with extra support. Just giving a kid the money to do something doesn’t mean they can figure out the rest by themselves, especially if they’ve never had a good, close-up view of someone else accomplishing such a feat.
I suspect lots of foster kids don’t have that kind of role model. (See Wren’s 6 percent-34 percent statistic.) I’m not sure the foster system or high schools, though well intentioned, provide it. In fact, many public schools in the city I live in are failing their students, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume the majority of foster kids attend public schools. The state of education in this country, especially for poor kids in urban areas, is sad. And the result of that, I believe, is a class of people who will struggle their whole lives to get ahead. For foster kids, who start life with the least stable families and support systems, that just intensifies the tragedy. It breaks my heart to know kids out there will never get the opportunity my daughter will.
So, cheers to Cedarville University. I hope there are other universities that do this, so it’s not only the religious foster kids who can hope for this kind of opportunity.
On Wednesdays, I use Random.org to pick out a page and a line of the book I'm currently reading/about to read so you can all see what I'm reading!
Yesterday, I finally returned to the library to pick up some books to read. lol I decided to go with Neil Gaiman's American Gods, the precursor to his Anansi Boys, which was my first Gaiman read about a year back. I'm excited to see how this book is, because I loved Anansi Boys.
There are 541 pages (ooh, an interview in the back) in American Gods, so Random, do your thing!
There are 32 lines on that page, so from 1 to 32 I present to you...
"Now, my mom's family were European Jewish," continued Sam, "from one of those places that used to be communist and now are just chaos..."
A very interesting line (my sister was explaining Communism vs. Socialism to me just the other day!). I can't wait to read this and more books by Mr. Gaiman.
Write anything. It can be bad. It can be horrible. It can be completely irrelevant to what you should be working on, but you know what? If you’re writing something--an.y.thing--you’re not blocked. Don’t give in to the myth. Don’t let your fear tangle you up. Take your blank page and stuff it (full of words).
On an ironic side note, the day after I wrote this post, guess what I found in my inbox? Two emails from two separate writing blogs, both about writer’s block. Okay, universe, what are you trying to tell me? At first, I actually considered changing my post. I thought, maybe I’ve just been lucky and haven’t suffered from writer’s block. Maybe I’m not being sensitive enough to the dilemmas of my wordly cohorts. Then I read the posts.
Nope. Not a believer.
The thing is, they talked about issues like not having ideas, not being inspired, not having the energy, even having too many ideas to focus (I might suffer from that occasionally). They talked about great solutions: get exercise, use writing prompts, unplug, free write. I’m sure they all work well.
But here’s the thing. That’s not the same as not being able to write. That’s not being able to write well. So, let’s call it what it is. Not writer’s block. It’s writer’s sludge. It’s when all that comes to your mind is crap and all that comes out is crap. Hot, stinky, crap. Like a pile in the corner that the kitten just left. Oh, wait. No, that’s my living room. (Anyone want a kitten?)
Writer’s block, as most people refer to it, is just an excuse. Trust me. I’ve used it. It sounds much more important and sympathy-inspiring than to just admit, I don’t feel like it. If you’re having issues writing, you’re not blocked, you’re sludgy, and you don’t have to be.
Being in an MFA program is a different type of deadline than a publisher or employer breathing down your neck to get it done. It’s the difference between being paid for your writing and knowing that you’re paying for it. I’ve been in the place where I had an assignment of 15 pages due and the last thing I wanted to do was to jump into that world with those characters. But, I had to write, so I wrote something I hated. It was awful. All 15 pages will likely be trashed. I could have claimed I was blocked, but in reality, I was being lazy and bored.
The point is. Those crappy pages led me somewhere. They led me where I knew I didn’t want to go, but they also pointed me in a better direction. Even if you have a deadline where you can’t turn in crap, you can still write the crap first, then make it shine later.
Nora Roberts said, “You can fix anything but a blank page.”
Write something, then visit the land of what ifs (which is, btw, also the name of my blog because that's where I spend my time):
Suppose there’s a man crossing the street. What if he trips? What if he bumps into a woman who is/turns out to be the love of his life? Or his ex who broke his heart? What if he found something on the ground? What if he realized he was on the wrong street? What if he got hit by a car?
See. That took me two seconds, but gave me infinite directions to take a story in. Depending on how far you are in your story, you won’t have quite as many options, but there are always options. Go play with them. Before you know it, you’ll have something worth keeping. And if it’s not worth keeping, you’ll know that, too.
Your thoughts? Do you see this, or am I just full of crap? ;)
Denise Drespling is the author of short story, “Reflections,” in the Tales of Mystery, Suspense & Terror anthology (October 2014) and “10 Items or Less,” in 10: Carlow’s MFA Anniversary Anthology (April 2014).
Hang out with Denise at her blog, The Land of What Ifs, or on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or Instagram.
Love made it known to the Minnesota Timberwolves after his conversation with James last month that Cleveland was where he wanted to be traded. That allowed the Cavs to make a strong trade offer that included Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a 2015 first-round pick, and soon a deal was struck.
"LeBron signed to come back, and a few hours later he called me and I said 'I'm in,'" Love said Tuesday at a news conference. "That had a lot to do with my decision. It means a lot to be a part of this organization. ... Everything in my entire life for the last six years had led me up to this opportunity."
Love expressed to the Wolves in June that he wanted to be traded or he would leave as a free agent next summer. That eventually forced the Wolves to make the deal with the Cavs that was finalized last week.
But Love said Tuesday he currently has no plans to sign an extension with the Cavs. Love signed a four-year, $61 million extension in 2012, but the 2016-17 season, worth $16.7 million, is a player option. Love is also not planning to pick up that option and will play out the final year of his contract with the Cavs.
Love did say he plans to be with the team long term.
"[An extension] hasn't been talked about," Love said. "I'm committed to this team and committed long term to the end goal, which is to win a championship."
It is a risk the Cavs were willing to take. They had been after Love aggressively for months and made it a major priority after James urged them to sweeten trade offers after he signed last month.
"This is culmination of a year and a half of conversations to trade for [Love]," Cavs general manager David Griffin said. "This is a player that, quite frankly, fits us as well as any player could have. LeBron makes a great deal of these things possible by his presence alone. That piece had a great deal to do with Kevin's comfort with joining us. Hopefully we'll [have] him for a very long time."
Love will wear No. 0 for the Cavs. His No. 42, which he wore with the Wolves and at UCLA, is Nate Thurmond's and retired in Cleveland. Love said he reached out to Thurmond, who cleared him to wear the number again, but Love decided to go with No. 0 as an honor to the first number he wore as a kid and because of his home state of Oregon.
"I thought this was a chance to start fresh," Love said, "to pick a new number that would suit me."
As for how he will mesh with his new coach David Blatt and how he would fit into the Cavs' new offensive and defensive systems, he left all that for later. But after not making the playoffs for the first six seasons of his career and never playing alongside an All-Star, Love said he is looking forward to the season.
"We know LeBron is the focal point," Love said. "But we have a lot of damn good players."
<a href="http://writerwriterp...alks-about.html" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>
Denied the freedom of life.
Crevasses from where you can dig
My heart from.
Thrown into the ditch.
Because of the witch.
Heart and mind,
Creating the fissure.
Apathetic they are altered.
they become callous.
Building the lacuna
Of the dungeons,
I awake no more.
<p>Guess what’s coming to ereaders? Book 2, <a title="Summer Sisters series" href="http://www.jeanoram....summer-sisters/" target="_blank"><em>Love and Dreams: A Summer Sisters Beach Reads Contemporary Romance</em></a> by Jean Oram!</p>
<p>Last week, <a title="Jasmine Haynes" href="http://www.jasminehaynes.com" target="_blank">Jasmine Haynes</a> tagged me to chat a bit about my latest work and I decided to turn it over to <em>Love and Dreams</em> heroine, Maya Summer.</p>
<h3>Maya Summer from the Romance Summer Sisters series by Jean Oram</h3>
<p><strong>1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?</strong></p>
<p>Allow me to introduce you to Maya Summer, the second born sister in the Summer family…</p>
<p><strong>2) When and where is the story set?</strong></p>
<p>Hey, it’s Maya Summer here. My story, <em>Love and Dreams</em>–written by Jean Oram (she did an okay job of telling my story although I wish she’d shown a bit more of my sultry side–hello? What’s a gal got to do?)–is set on Nymph Island which is where my family’s 110-year-old cottage is located. That’s in Muskoka, Canada. Cottage country. Just north of Toronto in Ontario. You know the place? Lots of rocks and trees. Very pretty, quiet, clean, and beautiful. Anyway, it’s okay if you don’t. Jean will tell you all about it in my story. Keep reading!</p>
<p><strong>3) What should we know about him/her?</strong></p>
<p>There’s lots you should know about me. First, I am very determined. Connor–he’s the hero in my story–calls me his spitfire which pretty much sums it up. My family means a ton to me. I have four sisters, a five-year-old niece who is fun (she’s quite the kid). We call that girl Tigger for a reason! She’s bouncy. Us sisters also share a mother who isn’t doing so well. She had a stroke years ago and we all want to take care of her, but Hailey, the eldest, does a lot of it. You know big sisters, always think they run the show! (Sometimes I can sneak in there and get some credit and sunshine.)</p>
<p><strong>4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?</strong></p>
<p>Okay, so I graduated from the University of Toronto. Not to brag, but top of my class and all that. The only problem was that it has been really, really hard to find a job. And I really need a good job. You see, my sisters and I ended up way behind in paying the taxes on our cottage and we’re in danger of losing it. At first I was like, big deal, sell that old beast. But…things change.</p>
<p>Anyway, in comes hunky-hunk Connor MacKenzie who is the king of Toronto. I thought my prayers were answered. First, a great job with him–easy peasy, right? Just strut myself and wait for him to notice because with a great job comes money. Save the cottage! Ta da! Only it didn’t quite work that way…</p>
<p><strong>5) What is the personal goal of the character?</strong></p>
<p>I have always imagined myself being <em>someone</em>. You know…sexy, in charge. Someone people come to because she makes things happen. She knows stuff. She’d powerful. I’d sleep my way to the top if I had to, but I don’t think I should have to. You know? (Although sleeping with Connor MacKenzie would NOT be a hardship. Hello! Powerful, intriguing, smart and with shoulders that are a serious…wait, I have to keep this PG, don’t I? Let’s just say if every man was like Connor women would be spending a lot less time outside of the bedroom.)</p>
<p>But back to my story, I knew wanted and I knew what I had to do and where I needed to go. Only problem? My plan wasn’t working. At all. Thanks to Connor.</p>
<p><strong>6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?</strong></p>
<p><em>Love and Dreams</em> is available for preorder! Jean got her stuff together and as of this second, you can preorder the story in these places:</p>
<p><a title="Love and Dreams on Amazon US" href="http://amzn.to/1zhMnLk" target="_blank">Amazon US</a></p>
<p><a title="Love and Dreams on Amazon UK" href="http://amzn.to/1tDfxmz" target="_blank">Amazon UK</a></p>
<p><a title="Love and Dreams on Kobo" href="http://store.koboboo...ve-and-dreams-2" target="_blank">Kobo</a></p>
<p>iTunes–coming VERY soon!</p>
<p>B&N–coming VERY soon!</p>
<p><a title="Add Love and Dreams to your Goodreads Shelf!" href="https://www.goodread...rom_search=true" target="_blank">Add to your Goodreads Shelf!</a></p>
<p><strong>7) When can we expect the book to be published?</strong></p>
<p>It’s coming on Thursday, August 28th! It’ll be all over the place ready for you to read it!</p>
<p>By the way, have you read Hailey’s story yet? That’s the first book in our series, <em>Love and Rumors</em>, with her and Finian Alexander. He’s a hot movie star. Anyway, if you haven’t read their story yet, you can get it, too. And for only 99 cents during September. It’s a deal just for you!</p>
<p><em>Love and Rumors</em> in <em>Hot Summer Love</em>:</p>
<p><a href="http://www.jeanoram....SummerLove2.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-848" src="http://www.jeanoram.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/HotSummerLove2-300x225.jpg" alt="Hot Summer Love Box Set" width="300" height="225" /></a></p>
<p><strong>Get Your Copy of Hot Summer Love:</strong><br /><a title="Hot Summer Love Box Set on Amazon US" href="http://amzn.to/1pUqIYo" target="_blank">Amazon US</a><br /><a title="Hot Summer Love Box Set on Amazon UK" href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hot-Summer-Love-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B00MWMEPN2" target="_blank">Amazon UK</a><br /><a title="Hot Summer Love Box Set on iTunes" href="http://www.jeanoram.com/kecc/" target="_blank">iTunes</a><br /><a title="Hot Summer Love Box Set on Kobo" href="http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hot-summer-love-box-set" target="_blank">Kobo</a><br />B&N–coming VERY soon<br />Google–coming VERY soon<br /><a title="Add Hot Summer Love Box Set to Goodreads Shelves" href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23007176-hot-summer-love-box-set?from_search=true" target="_blank">Add it to Goodreads</a></p>
<p><strong><a class="embedtweet" title="Tell your friends! Tweet this post!" href="https://twitter.com/...Love and Dreams!%20http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jeanoram.com%2Fjean-orams-books%2Flove-dreams-maya-summer%2F%20%23romance%20%23newrelease" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Tell your friends! Tweet this post!</a></strong></p>
<h4>Loving the blog hop and want more exclusive, new interviews from fresh new books? Check this out:</h4>
<p>I was tagged by:</p>
<p><a href="http://www.jeanoram....smineHaynes.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-853 alignleft" src="http://www.jeanoram.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/JasmineHaynes-199x300.jpg" alt="Jasmine Haynes" width="199" height="300" /></a>NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Jasmine Haynes/Jennifer Skully who is the author of classy erotic romance, hilarious romantic mysteries, and the Max Starr sensual suspense series.<br />See her interview for her new release <em><a title="Pleasing Mr. Sutton by Jasmine Haynes" href="http://www.amazon.com/Pleasing-Mr-Sutton-Coast-Novel-ebook/dp/B00MYQRN6C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408988341&sr=8-1&keywords=pleasing+mr+sutton" target="_blank">Pleasing Mr. Sutton</a>:</em> <a title="The interview!" href="http://jasminehaynes.blogspot.ca/?zx=bfcf5a55e683ad81" target="_blank">http://jasminehaynes...683ad81</a></p>
<p><em><strong>Next week you can learn more from two of my box set buddies, Jax Cassidy and Julie Farrell!</strong></em></p>
<p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Jax Cassidy:</strong></span></p>
<p><em><a href="http://www.jeanoram..../JaxCassidy.jpg"><img class=" wp-image-852 alignleft" src="http://www.jeanoram.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/JaxCassidy.jpg" alt="Jax Cassidy" width="201" height="218" /></a>Jax Cassidy was born in exotic Southeast Asia. At five years old her family fled the war-torn country of Vietnam for the American dream. As a child, she learned the English language through daily PBS children’s programming (Sesame Street, The Electric Company, etc.) and soap operas like Days of Our Lives and General Hospital. When she wasn’t in front of the tele, she entertained herself by weaving epic tales of heartbreak and love in her journals. When technology crept to the forefront, she happily typed those stories out on her brother’s wordprocessing machine and stored the dot matrix print pages underneath her bed..</em></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>In her late teens, she wanted to be just like Connie Chung and pursued a broadcast journalism career. Her efforts were quickly rewarded with several creative writing awards and a national Asian American journalism scholarship that enabled her to work for the local newspaper. Stifled by the lack of creativity at her jobs—between working for editors in the communications desk, working in her family-owned restaurant, and longing for adventure—she jumped at the opportunity to move to Paris, France for three years.</em></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>In the City of Light, she brushed off her dusty art supplies to immerse herself in the artist’s lifestyle. She was inspired and often mentored by successful comic book artists such as Jean Giraud aka Moebius, Philippe Caza, Bruno Bellamy, Sandrine Gestin and Marc Bati…to name a few. Her experiences in Paris, and traveling through Europe, opened her eyes to the beauty of the people, the elegant lifestyle, mouth-watering cuisine, luscious wines, exquisite couture and breathtaking countryside. The dreamy adventure came to an end when she realized how much she missed the American food chains and her close-knit, yet drama-filled, family.</em></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Once bitten by the travel bug, she spent the next few years “city hopping” across the States and leaving a trail of broken hearts along the way. After being able to mark Paris off her Cities I’ll Live Someday list, she could now strike through Los Angeles with a red marker. While living in the entertainment mecca, her love for romantic comedies and romance novels led her to the Romance Writers of America, which prompted her to join the Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) chapter. She is currently a member of several online and local chapters and has served as a board member for both LARA and CFRW.</em></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>On the work front, boredom set in after almost a decade of taking on challenging freelance and temp positions—anything from actress, production assistant, makeup artist, hair stylist, screenwriter, photographer, ghostwriter, technical writer…to personal assistant to the highly powerful and filthy rich—she decided to do what she should have done all along…become an author!</em></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Within the first few months of joining her local chapter, she was offered two writing contracts through Phaze Publishing and Amber Quill Press. Not long after, she helped launched the multicultural/multi-ethnic line for Parker Publishing with her novella SIREN’S SEDUCTION, in the LOTUS BLOSSOM CHRONICLES print anthology. With publishing credits under her belt she went on to sign with her fabulous dream agent, Roberta Brown of the Brown Literary Agency.</em></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>When Ms. Cassidy isn’t working on her next project(s) she feeds her K-drama addiction and can also be found lounging at day spa or sipping lattes at the local café. But don’t let her indulgences fool you, she enthusiastically volunteers for charities (whenever possible) and is always searching for ways to make the world a better place.</em></p>
<p>You can find Jax and her interview next Monday, September 1, at:<a title="Jax Cassidy" href="http://www.jaxcassidy.com/blog" target="_blank"> www.jaxcassidy.com/blog</a></p>
<p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Julie Farrell:</strong></span></p>
<p><em><a href="http://www.jeanoram....uliefarrell.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-854 alignleft" src="http://www.jeanoram.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/juliefarrell.jpg" alt="Julie Farrell." width="300" height="200" /></a>Life is for living, and I’m loving it!</em></p>
<p><em>I write steamy romances that will make your heart pound hard and your thighs surge with desire!</em></p>
<p><em>There was a time, not so long ago, when all I wanted was to stop my heart pounding hard and my mind surging with fear. You see, I suffered with panic attacks. The fear debilitated me on a daily basis, and the feelings of weakness undermined my self-esteem. This ‘fear of fear’ became so immense that there were times when I was scared to even go outside of my home.</em></p>
<p><em>At those times, all I wanted to do was write, because my imaginary world of fiction provided a soothing escape from reality. The strong female characters I created allowed me to pretend everything was okay in my world. And the sexy men in my fictive imagination were protective, loving, and strong.</em></p>
<p><em>I’ve never been someone to give up! Even at my lowest, I knew I could and would recover. Thanks to a great support network, a wonderful self-help book (The Panic Attacks Workbook by David Carbonell), and my own patient determination I experienced my last ever panic attack in January 2013. Then, in April 2014, I proved how strong I’d become by backpacking with a friend in the chaos and heat of India – something that had filled me with dread back when my fear was dominating my every waking breath.</em></p>
<p><em>But nothing in this life is ever a waste. During the years when I was suffering from panic attacks, I learnt to write well! I honed my craft, and when I came out the other end, I was ready to self-publish, knowing that if I can cope with panic attacks and survive, then I can become a successful indie author too! My books are the products of this amazing journey that I’ve been on, and now I can’t wait to find out what other delights await me, just around the corner!</em></p>
<p><em>Never give up on your dreams, and don’t let the setbacks of today ruin your tomorrow! You can do it – just like I did!</em></p>
<p>You can find Julie and her interview next Monday, September 1, at: <a title="Julie Farrell" href="http://www.juliefarrellbooks.com/blog" target="_blank">juliefarrellbooks.com/blog</a></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>~ ~ ~</strong></p>
<p><strong>Thank you for reading! And don’t forget, if you’re on Facebook you can join me and my fan girls to talk men, life, good books, my books, and much more at <a title="Join the fan girls!" href="http://www.facebook....ps/jeanoramfans" target="_blank">www.facebook.com/groups/jeanoramfans.</a> Everyone is welcome.</strong></p>
<p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.jeanoram....ms-maya-summer/">Love and Dreams: Who is Maya Summer of the Summer Sisters?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.jeanoram.com">Jean Oram</a>.</p>
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It’s no secret that the publishing landscape is evolving and shifting at a mind boggling rate. For years there was kind of status quo in publishing – the author wrote the book, sent it to their agent if they were lucky enough to have one or sent it directly to a publisher to languish in the slush pile. Now, with the surge in self publishing and the rise of small boutique publishers, it’s an author’s market. We no longer have to wait for rejection letters or hope for a contract. We can do what we like, when we like, and as much as we like.
When Gabe Vitali escapes to a fresh start in Crystal Point, Australia, the former physician isn't looking for a storybook ending. For the first time he's living in the moment. His new five-year plan does not include serious relationships. But he doesn't anticipate his unavoidable next-door neighbor…and an undeniable attraction.
Bridal consultant Lauren Jakowski wants marriage. She's just sworn off love and sex! To avoid getting burned again, she's looking for safe and forever-after. But they're not Gabe's to give–for reasons he can't share with anyone, least of all this pretty complication.
Gabe and Lauren don't figure on a fairy tale. But fate has other plans…
Any suggestions on what website I should use?
I want to write, but unfortunately, household chores are calling to be done. Then I have a bunch of back to school paperwork that needs filled out before I can sit and write.
And as far as writing goes, I'm in a bit of a pickle. I have a story that I need go through and edit and rework a bit. Once it's finished, I can start querying.
Sadly, my brains not working in that way right now. I've had a story stuck in my head for awhile now. I finally got it into a story that I can write. It encompasses my love for drama, horror, romance, mermaids, vampires, fairies, angels, and Gods. Wow that's a lot lol. For the first time I'm not outlining, I'm getting a quick idea down for every book that's going to be in the series and then writing it. I started writing the first book, now I'm almost 30K words into it. Which I'm actually very proud of. Haha!
I got that far and I didn't have any outlines. Just a rough idea. Along the way more ideas kept coming that I needed to jot down, and the journal I was writing it all down in is breaking! :( I've had to tape the pages just to keep them all in this journal. I need to type it all into the computer so I don't loose anything. Then I'll probably get a new binder one of these weeks and keep all of my notes and everything in it. So that way when I'm not on my computer and I get an idea, I can quickly jot it down and see where it will fit into the series.
I had only meant for a few books, now it's turned into something a lot lot more than that. >_< Not sure how to work with that, but at least the first book can be considered a stand alone. I leave enough unresolved for a second book, but there's an actual end to that story. Most of the stories are based ever so many years after the previous one. Some continue directly after the last one.
At least that's the plan. I had only meant for like 3-6 books. Before I knew it, there was a grand total of 18 planned books. I may not have that many, but that's the way the story is looking right now.
*sigh* Oh well. Merdemonel promises to be something I can enjoy. Even if people don't read it.
Merdemonel is a story about a young woman. Demelza (Demi for short) was born a Goddess, daughter of the God of Air (generally has the appearance of an angel) and the Goddess of the Sea (generally has the appearance of a mermaid). Her true form was that of a merangel. Half mermaid, half angel. She was the first pure Goddess ever born. The rest were all born between a union of humans or other humanoid creatures and were demigods. Demelza was born a pure Goddess, and prophecies said she would be the most powerful of them all. As her mother was the most beautiful, she was also going to be exceptionally beautiful.
Even while pregnant, evil targeted the Goddess of the Sea in hopes of killing the child before she was born. After her birth, the attempts were even worse. In an attempt to save her life, so she could grow and not have to worry about evil pursuing her, the Gods turned her human and sent her to Earth so she could grow into an adult without living in fear everyday of her life. They agreed they would check back when she was an adult, but otherwise let her be.
Twenty years later when they checked, she was married and happy with her life, so they let her be again. Content to let her live as a human and not have her join their ranks. So long as she was happy. When she turns twenty-four, the evil catches up with her. Almost a year after her husbands tragic death, Demi is lured into a trap by one of the Circle of Six. A cult of demons with only two goals, destroy the Gods and get more power. If they were to possess her and gain her power, their goals would be met.
To save her sister, her friends, and her daughter (who thankfully was not in the trap but somewhere safe) Demi sacrifices herself to the Demon. Three weeks later, the Demon is slayed by the God of Death himself, and Demi is revived into the Goddess she was always meant to be, but with one huge difference. Because of the three weeks the demon spent trying to possess her, Demi absorbed several demonic powers and demonic tendencies. Because of this, she was now mermaid, demon, and angel.
The Gods gave her the title of Merdemonel. After declaring her unwillingness to join their ranks just yet, Demi returns to Earth to finish raising her daughter. Upon reaching adulthood her daughter could decided to embrace her demigoddess nature, or remain human. Demi would make her decision when, and only when, her daughter had reached hers.
That's the idea for the first book, and the start of the series.
And now my dishes are dry, so I better get my procrastinating butt back in the kitchen and finish doing them.
Washing dishes by hand isn't so bad. It's doing laundry by hand that really really really really really ticks me off. Laundry Matt? You suggest. Not unless I want to pay $20 or more a week!
At least this time I wasn't ranting a whole whole lot about the domesticating chores I have.
Can't promise the same for next time. ;) Thanks for taking the time to read this blog till the end. If you have any, please leave comments or questions, and I will be more than happy to answer.
First, we need lots of sleep. I was out cold by 9:30 every night. And it was a struggle most nights to get to that hour. One night, because my washer died and I'm too cheap to buy one yet, I had to go to my parents' house to do a couple loads of laundry (because I literally had no choice if I wanted to be clothed for work the next day). I was so tired when the last load was folded that I actually toyed with the idea of crashing there so I wouldn't have to go to all the trouble of driving home until morning. And I live less than five minutes from their house! More mature heads prevailed and I went home, but it was a struggle.
Second, we're in pure survival mode. I did nothing that was beyond the basest activities needed to survive. Dishes? I have extras. Paper towels on the dispenser? Nah, they can sit on the counter. Make dinner? A peanut butter sandwich is good enough. The night I realized I had a frozen pizza was such a celebration! I just had to talk myself into not eating it uncooked like a giant bread-and-cheese popsicle. Mad props to those of you with miniature humans for whom you are responsible. I'm amazed I kept my fur children from starving.
Why are we like this? Is it the hours? No, most teachers are as busy during the summer as they are during school, but at other things. It has to do with the emotional drain. If you're not a teacher, you don't have any idea how much of a psychic toll it takes on you to be on all day for your kids. It's just not natural to be as happy and upbeat and fun as I am in my classroom all day. And many of my friends are like me, with kids in their rooms from the time they unlock them until time to go home. I have fifth period plan, which means I'm already hosting two lunches worth of kids in my room when I'm not teaching classes.
And I'm not complaining about that. I love it. I love every minute that I get to spend with these kids that I grow really quickly to love like my own children. And in a few weeks, my mind, my body, and my spirit will adjust to this and I'll be able to do normal household chores again without giving myself a pep talk.
Until then, here's to a spoon and a jar of peanut butter for dinner.
When not on campaign, citizens occupied themselves with choral dances, festivals, feasts, hunting, physical exercise, and conversation.
To be honest, this doesn’t sound too much different than the pursuits of their Athenian contemporaries, but the Spartans had to endure and survive a lot more to achieve this lifestyle.
Tune in next week for more about the Spartans!
(Make sure to go visit the Insecure Writer's Support Group website and the wonderful Alex J Cavanaugh as well.)
A couple of real quick things because unfortunately I don't really have more than a moment to post.
June and July flew right on by faster than ever before. This was the fastest, busiest, craziest summer I've had in all my 28 years. I've caught up, got behind, caught up, edited, worked a lot for free, worked a lot for not free, did a decent job of keeping my kids occupied, did a not so decent job of keeping my kids occupied, and did a barely decent job of not going crazy in all the madness.
Writing is happening, every once in a while. I've been reading a lot too, only as I've had time though. And I worked on crits, but then lost my internet for a bit and I've been behind since. But now I have to wait for AQC to come back up so I can get caught up again.
I think my biggest insecurity I've been feeling recently is that my current MS that I've been editing isn't really worth it and my other completed MS that I should just query or self pub is garbage even though I put a TON of effort into fixing it. I love both stories. And I really love the one I'm editing. But I've started posting it for critique and the crits (only chapter one...) on it have brought back old feelings from the first MS I had critted and I start worrying that I'm going to be in the same place I was. Mega editing and rewriting until I have a story that I love and hate all in one. Hopefully it's not going to end up like that and hopefully eventually I won't have anything but love for my first MS.
Last thing, I'm thinking I need to switch my blog. I'm not sure exactly what I want to do because I actually like blogger and Idk if I'll like something else as much. But I've had trouble with my blogger stuff ever since I got this laptop with Win 8. So, if anyone has any ideas/suggestions I'll gladly take 'em.
I hope everyone else is having a wonderful summer and I'll see you soon. (Hopefully sooner than a month or two.)
The automotive world is one that remains sheltered to innovation. Many things about cars and the way they’re sold to us have been done the same way for decades. It’s an industry which, on the whole, seems resistant to innovation or change all together. Considering the first hybrid drive car was invented and produced over 100 years ago, it’s a shame we’re only now seeing electric cars slowly start to come to the mainstay. Sure, there have been improvements in the existing technology, but internal combustion has remained the same technology, albeit more efficient, for decades.
This reluctance to embrace change seems to happen in the social media world as well. While some car manufacturers have established a great presence online, others seem to have created them but allow them to languish. It may be a good time to read a past post of mine about using social media well, and how a dangerous a stagnating social media account really can be. But head offices aren’t the only ones who should be utilizing this powerful tool. Boots on the ground dealerships are company’s direct interaction with potential, current and past customers. Sadly the buying experience at dealerships hasn’t changed much either, and many seem to have a very poor understanding of social media. While there are a few, very exceptional, exceptions, dealerships in general are missing out on massive potential simply by ignoring these powerful tools.
This isn’t just for new car dealerships either. Used car dealerships often have a negative stigma attached to them as well. Sales experiences at many used car lots can be so poor that they only support the unfortunate stereotype that plagues them. Engaging and building relationships with your community through social media is a great way to draw people onto your lot and disarm them before they arrive. Customers will arrive curious, happy and devoid of the traditional “used car lot” ideals.
So, how are you missing out on customers by doing social media poorly, or not at all?
Sales leads through interaction
Social media’s very nature is give and take. Simply posting things to Facebook and Twitter like you would a pin board or website isn’t enough. Social media is designed to be a conversation, a form of interaction. People post, publicly, their needs and their wants. The citizenship of your community waits to be engaged through social media. You can get involved with local charity events, talk to brand supporters – and detractors – in real time. You can see what the people of your sales area are saying about your dealership, about your brand. Find people who are interested in cars, buying cars or having issues with cars. By building these interactions you’re creating potential customers.
Having this kind of interaction also creates a sense of connection and authenticity with your potential clients. Buyers under 30 especially are far more likely to drive a bit to a dealership that took the time to chat with them on Facebook or Twitter than visit the local shop. While loyalty and return business means something to an older generation of buyers, it doesn’t to younger, more active buyers. Dealerships who rely on family loyalty for sales leads will find themselves with sales shrinking fast. By engaging with your community online – for free – you’re tapping into a massive pool of customer leads. You can get basic sales information- name, email, location, wants – without the pressure of a showroom or the obligation of a call back. Stash it away somewhere and keep the dialogue open. You’ll likely find that person show up at your location. Remember; social media interactions shouldn’t be about sales tactics, they should be about building leads through relationships. Keep the conversation like you would one with friends or colleagues. This leads nicely into…
Breaking away from traditional sales mentality
There is a very typical way that customers seem to be approached at dealerships. My experience has shown that you can tie very clearly a dealership experience with how well, or not well, social media is used. Many dealer owners who understand and value social media have altered their mindset of how sales should be handled. A visit to one of their dealerships is often a pleasant, fruitful one. You leave feeling informed and empowered to make your decision, your way. Many people chose the dealership – and the vehicle – they buy based on this experience. Actively making social media an important part of your sales environment forces you to change how sales happen at your dealership. Customers get used to a kind of interaction on social media and come to your dealership with those expectations. If your experience on site is anything different, that customer will shut down and likely leave.
Sales floor interactions will soon mimic the relational driven, low pressure candidacy of your social media accounts. Customers will find a fluid experience from online interactions to sales floor. Today’s customers are intelligent, engaged and entitled. They know what they want, they have an idea of how they want to buy it and they want it now. Making the decision to have social media be a key component to your sales toolbox is an instrumental step in changing how your dealership does sales. I would submit it’s an essential one.
Potential to engage bloggers/SM influencers
One of the great benefits of social media is engaging blogging/tweeting influencers. These people often have engaged and large followings, they know how to draw attention to their tweets and engage audiences around their subjects. My personal Twitter Test Drive program is a very small example of that. By using social media actively you will find yourself engaging and attracting influencers from your community. Using these influencers to drive business and traffic to your site is a great, and often free (or cheap), way of advertising. Social media influencers are seen as “real people” and unbiased by their followers with a level of authenticity no company can recreate. People take what they say to heart or consider them authorities in their area. By engaging with these influencers you gain respect from the community simply by being vouched for.
When you partner with one of these influencers, it acts like a third party review of your dealership. People will suddenly become curious about your dealership. It will become the topic of online conversation or, better still, offline conversation. All lead to your dealership name being talked about outside of conventional advertising means. People will start engaging with your dealership’s social media platform and soon, leads will begin to take shape. Companies constantly strive to find ways to get positive, real, reviews of their services into the lime light. Engaging and partnering with social media influences is an easy, quick and cost effective way to get authentic, but controlled, reviews of your brand and your dealership.
A “real” relationship with your customers
Engagement through social media goes beyond building customer leads. Once someone has made the decision to purchase and become a customer, social media still plays an important role. In today’s world, people gravitate more towards companies that feel more “real”, or companies that they can relate too and with. By building a relationship with your customers through interactions, they feel more like your friend than just someone you can extract money from. Social media lets you get to know them as they use your products. Check up on how kids are liking the new car, family road trips, etc. Use social media to continue an engaged conversation with your current customers and they, in turn, will make their respective social circles aware of you.
A social media team can make your dealership a friend of the community, not just a business in the community.
Increased loyalty, return business
Remember how I said up there that traditional loyalty and generation to generation loyalty was dead? Well, it isn’t really. The loyalty of today’s customer is far more fickle than in days past. Far more emotional. By using social media to engage, lead and then build a relationship with a customer, you leave them feeling like a value person. People are naturally drawn to others who value them. Customers will be far more likely to return for dealer service. When the time comes for a new car, or to make a suggestion to a friend or family member, you can be sure your dealership will come up. Customers may even overlook brand bias because of the relationship you have grown with them. Ultimately, using and engaging through social media will build return customers of the most loyal kind.
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