Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#Pitchwars Mentor Bio

Welcome to my blog! Penmad says it all. I'm a mentor for adult PitchWars entries for the second time because it was so much fun last year.

About me:
A New Englander now living in the warm, sunny Peach Belt, I'm in the middle of a three-book cozy mystery contract for Annie's Publishing. I'm also seeking rep (again) for other mystery and YA writing. I recently became an Assistant Editor for Entangled Ignite (formerly Suspense).

What I'm looking for:
Adult mystery, suspense, Gothic, thriller, chick-lit, and women's literature. I have a fondness for great settings, interesting occupations, fine arts, antiques and architecture, food, weather, humor, and secrets of all kinds. My tastes are pretty eclectic so you might find me reading a cozy mystery, a thriller, a literary mystery, and a funny chick-lit domestic all in the same week. Historical is fine, so is contemporary but I'm not the right person for fantasy or paranormal, unless it's light--like a haunted house. I don't usually read military or political thrillers and espionage leaves me cold.

How I work with writers:
I am kind and encouraging and look for ways to improve the flow, pace, and power of your book. To prune so its greatness can blossom. Polish so it shines. Pitch it so it sells.

For submission guidelines, go to

Secret Letter: M

Fabulous agents:
1.       LouiseFuryBent Agency
9.       QuinlanLee - Adams Literary
11.     EmilyKeyesForeward Literary
14.     LanaPopovic and Natasha Alexis - Zachary Shuster Harmsworth

Fantastic mentors:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Alchemy of Setting

When choosing a book, setting is something that can definitely draw me in. We all have personal favorites but I love gorgeous natural locations, old buildings, rich cultural activity, interesting businesses or hobbies, and atmosphere. One of the pleasures of reading is entering into a fully realized world that you can see, smell, taste, and hear. Feel.

I lived in New England most of my life, in Maine and New Hampshire with frequent visits to Vermont. Now that I live in Georgia, I enjoy excursions to New England through both reading and writing. I have to say I like reading about snow much more than I did living it! New England is a setting rich in history, weather, beauty, and architecture. The resort history of the White Mountains inspired two of my historical works. Other settings are just as fascinating, though. I have a YA set in Hollywood and adult books set in Oregon and Arizona. I also plan to set something in Italy, where my ancestors came from.

Setting influences character and plot, of course, as I like to work within the constraints of the possible. I spend almost as much time researching as writing, finding that I need to be fully grounded in my location before I can write about it. Yet creating effective setting doesn't mean pages of description. Rather, choose details that best evoke your setting, then use them to flavor action and narrative and dialogue.

Here is an excerpt from Blame It on the Aliens, published in the Live Free or Sci Fi anthology.  The characters drive through a depressed mill town to go fishing.

         “Man, this place is depressing,” Matt muttered as we cruised past decaying apartment houses and boarded-up storefronts.  Here and there, yellow tape guarded the charred, collapsed carcasses of those that had burned.
            But I was almost more unsettled by what was missing: the behemoth bulk of the pulp mill with its 300-foot stacks and multi-acre sprawl. All demolished and trucked away. A lone chimney standing in a tidy patch of grass the only testament to more than one hundred years of transforming logs to pulp to paper to prosperity.
            I stepped on the gas. Hopefully the fish hadn’t left as well.
            A couple of hours of drifting on the smooth mercury surface of Success Pond had the tranquilizing effect I’d hoped for. It was dead quiet, the only sounds occasional birdsong or a duck quacking as it flew over. So late in the season, no one else was on the water. The camps lining the shore were already shuttered and tucked in for the winter.
            I cast my line into the water, watching the gold spinner spiral down into the clear shallows of the cove. We’d only caught a couple of smallmouth bass so far, all under the limit, so we tossed them back.

Which settings do you find most compelling--as reader and writer?

Note: The photograph was taken outside the mill town in the story. Those tiny islands are all that remains of boom piers - guides for logs sent down the Androscoggin River.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Alchemy of Emotion

I have noticed something mysterious as both writer and reader: the way emotion is transmitted through words. It isn't just the words used or their arrangements. Often they are quite ordinary words.

I've read beautiful works that left me cold. And in contrast, I've read clunky fiction that engaged me and evoked feeling. I'm convinced that the writer has to feel the emotions before they will be conveyed. Certain things that I've written--alone or in partnership with my husband--provoke tears or laughter upon multiple readings. That is odd because you would think familiarity would dull any reaction. This happened recently with the poignant voice-over to our coming of age story, Up the Tracks. I choked up like a dork when reading it to my husband.

Only my readers can tell me if I succeed. But what I consciously do when writing a high-intensity scene--be it love, reconciliation, sadness, fear, or anger--is put myself in my character's head as much as possible. Sometimes I even act out the physical movements, pretending I am acting a role in a film. Sort of. In my writing room. Good thing I don't write erotica. The neighbors and the cat might object, though my husband might not.

I'm curious if others have the same experience--as readers or writers. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Blame It on the Aliens

Actually, thanks to editor Rick Broussard, honcho of Business NH Magazine and the NH Pulp Fiction series. He selected my story, Blame It on the Aliens, for this science fiction roundup of stories set in New Hampshire.This is a special milestone for me, as my supportive late Dad wrote some sci-fi of his own.

Jake is skeptical about the UFOs that his unemployed friend, Matt, is seeing. Until they go fishing. Inspired by rumors and stories of North Country sightings.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Publication date for Deadly Garland!

This is probably an announcement only another writer would understand, but I'm thrilled to report that my first cozy mystery for Annie's now has a name and a publication date.

Deadly Garland is due 2/7/2014!  This is a big milestone as it's my first full-length fiction. Deadly Garland is set in a small coastal Oregon town and features a murder at a Christmas tree farm. Appropriately, it takes place in December.

I also learned that Blame the Aliens, a short story I wrote 18 months ago for NH Pulp Fiction will be published in the Live Free or Sci-Fi anthology in October. Hope to post cover and links soon. This will be my first published short story.

Meanwhile, I've been doing a lot of business articles for Skyword and CPAmerica.  I enjoy that, too.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Scholastic Book Club

For today's post, I thought I'd do another "blast from the past." How many of you had Scholastic Book Club while in elementary school? A recent post about their revamp made me remember this particular inspiration.

In addition to gifts at birthdays and Christmas (we always got books from my omnivorous reader parents), the book club let me pick and buy my.very.own.books! Remember, this was before Amazon, chain book stores, or even many independents. Rural Maine.

I remember studying the list closely, reading each description carefully. Sometimes one--maybe an author fav or featuring haunted houses, secrets, or witches--would grab me immediately. Other times I would have to mentally break a tie between several possibilities. Kind of like studying a restaurant menu and hoping you pick the best dish and are not disappointed.

I usually had enough money to buy two or three at a time. We handed in our slips and I'd hope I had made the absolutely best choices.

Then the waiting began. I'd almost forget about the whole thing when one day, a familiar cardboard box would be on the teacher's desk, that delightful odor of paper and fresh ink emanating from it.
He or she would pull them out and call our names to get our order.  My last name began with "B" so I was near the beginning! Yay!

I'd grab those precious new experiences and take them back to my desk. Then, I admit, I would begin reading. Secretly. Under my desk. Who cared about all the boring stuff?

I had my books.

These great screen shots are from jl.incrowd's flickr site.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by CPs

I'm heading out to the query trenches again with a brand-new shiny project, my YA mystery Perfect Enemies. This time I have the good fortune to have critique partners to beta-read my work! I met these lovely ladies through a contest earlier this year.

One of my partners wrote a glowing letter that I treasure. (the other is still reading) She got it! She loves exactly what I was striving for - vivid characterization and the MC's YA voice. *hugs* My mystery is "perfectly eerie but fun." Yes!

By now, I should know that this business is so incredibly subjective. But it's still difficult to "subject" your darling to rejection. It's all too easy for self-doubt--about writing ability, the project, even your bio--to creep in.

So, here's a shout-out to CPs everywhere! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

P.S. in other news, I now have contracts for three adult mysteries through Annie's. Fun.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Hope

A couple of weeks ago,  I wrote about how wonderful it is to have a supportive and interactive writing community. While reflecting on that, I realized something.

Hope, beautiful and luminous hope, suffuses our enterprise. I picture it as pink or perhaps a pale, lovely green.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm - 
- Emily Dickinson

Writers have an energetic belief that success is just around the corner, that this book, query, contest, agent, publisher will be the one. We're living the dream--our dream. And if one avenue doesn't work, then we'll try another.  Right? And our friends will cheer us on.

Success is sweet. But so is hope and a sense of possibility.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Friends on the Journey

Today I want to give a shout-out to fellow writers participating in Thursday's Children. Writing can be a lonely journey, as I'm sure many of you will agree.

I haven't been among the fortunate few that have friends, acquaintances, and fellow writers lining up to read my drafts. I've seen writer's acknowledgement pages thanking almost 100 people for their input (I counted)--and I think: how in heck did they get that many people to read a WIP? It can be a tough sell.

So what's the happy medium? We all need feedback and editing. Other eyes can help us see the inconsistencies, lack of tension, plot holes, and redundancy that books can suffer from. Not to mention the missing words or wrong word choice (thank you, spell check). I always spot those things AFTER I hit send, don't you?

I've been leery of local writers' groups, although I've been urged to join one or two. I'm sure some groups are great but it's a magical, rare thing, don't you agree--finding people who understand your work and provide constructive criticism. So until recently, I've had only a few trusted souls read my work.

Networking with writers through the internet has transformed my solitary landscape. I've been part of Verla Kay's blueboards for a couple of years and have found much support as well as industry opportunities. There I learned about contests (notably Brenda Drake's) and during Pitch Madness, I had the privilege of mentoring three writers.  The next step was joining Twitter, since a lot of the contest action happens in that venue. Due to all these connections, I've made some wonderful writer friends who understand the journey. It's fabulous fun to learn about their work and root for their success. So now, when I finish my current WIP, I have three critique partners lined up. Yay! The pressure is off my dear husband, who edits for me.

My icing on the cake is joining the Thursday's Children blog hop, where I get to connect with a delightfully diverse group of writers. Their posts are funny, insightful, educational, thought-provoking and yes--inspiring.

Cheers to the Thursday's Children gang!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Nancy Drew

I'm sure telling you that I was inspired to write by Nancy Drew isn't exactly noteworthy. This series of books, first launched in 1930, has been reprinted and revised numerous times. It still sells briskly, with new books added to the series and the character appearing in movies, television shows and games. Several of the books are among the top selling children's books of all time.

Nancy Drew was one of the first packaged series, pitched to a publisher by Edward Stratemeyer, who created the Hardy Boys. He then hired ghostwriters to write the books (using his outlines) under the name Carolyn Keene. Mildred Wirt Benson was the first and it is said that she fleshed out the Nancy character based on her own personality.

I remember reading my first Nancy Drew. I was seven and had just moved to Maine from Virginia Beach. My father had been in the Air Force and we'd moved around since I was born in California--to Savannah, England, France, New York and so on. We were in Maine to stay--my dad's life long dream was to have his own business in the town where he spent many happy days visiting his favorite uncle. He was a native of Astoria, Queens and hated the city. 

Anyway, it was January and I'd never seen snow. Or ice. The library was on the main road, just down our long driveway, in an ancient and listing old Colonial house. Along with siblings from the family we were staying with temporarily, I picked my way down the slippery route to my first library experience. Ah, that indefinable dusty smell of old paper and leather and wood! The creaky floors and the whisper of the librarian as she hand-stamped your book. "You have two weeks."

On the way back, a black cat ran in front of me and I fell down on the ice, still clutching Nancy, and sprained my wrist. I remember thinking that black cats were indeed bad luck. LOL.

One of the best things about small town libraries is that they often keep old books on the shelves. They had some of the original Nancy Drews, written in the 1930s and 1940s. Have you read those? They are odd and quirky, especially when contrasted to later sanitized versions. Thinking back, perhaps those editions sparked my interest in that period as well as in creepy mansions, diaries, and secrets.

Nancy Drew (and the Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden and the Three Investigators) all stimulated my interest in mysteries as a genre. I still love them and most of what I've written is in that category.

How about you? Do you love Nancy Drew?

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday's Children - Inspired by Nature

I thought I'd focus this week on a positive source of inspiration: Nature. At least I find it so, because there are many majestic and breath-taking spots on this planet of ours. The photo above is Profile Lake in Franconia Notch, NH. Franconia Notch is right up there on my list with Acadia National Park and the white beaches and palms of the Gulf Coast.

I've been an avid nature fan all my life, ever since my mother kicked us outside to roam the woods and fields of rural Maine. We took occasional trips to the Maine coast and mountains, too. My artist's eye and poet's heart finds peace, joy, and nurture in the sights, scents, and sounds of the outdoors.

When I discovered that during the 1800s, traveling artists visited our nation's (and Europe's) famous beauty spots to work, I was inspired to write my Canvas & Corset series. In the White Mountains of NH, for example, we had many "grand" hotels that housed visitors seeking the peace and inspiration of nature and God--while providing three sumptuous meals per day, social events, and sporting excursions. Sigh. They knew how to take vacations during those days--all summer!
Several of these hotels remain. Here are two in the Whites: Mountainview Grand and Mount Washington Hotel

I love the contrast of a luxurious resort set down in wilderness. I also appreciate the philosophy of the late Victorian period that recognized the power of our great landscapes to inspire. This era gave birth to many conservation movements. The Sierra Club, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Acadia National Park, Yellowstone--all these were started by wealthy and/or cultured nature-lovers who recognized something worth preserving for future generations.

In my books, I hope to convey the beauty and power of these landscapes, providing the reader with a mini-vacation of their own. That's my particular challenge.

How about you? Are you inspired by nature?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Life's Little Annoyances

Inspiration doesn't always come from the big things, the earth-shattering and pivotal events, the important themes that underlie the movie of our life.

In between the major turning points, life is full of little annoyances, sand that clogs up the gears of your day. A broken-down car in the middle of a big city on a Saturday afternoon. Standing in line at the airport security gate, winding back and forth like you're waiting to get on a Disney ride. A stupid argument with your significant other.

Those trivial events can be a source of inspiration. That is the writer's secret strength: everything is fodder for the pen. Even while experiencing the problem, you can detach and observe. Sometimes a whole project can be ignited by an experience; other times they can shape scenes or dialogue. A couple of our screenplays were inspired by the most mundane events. But one thought leads to another...

I find it comforting to think, Oh, I can use this. Spin dross into gold. Turn setbacks, irritations, and b.s. into theater. Cause no matter what, I'd rather be writing.

How about you? Have you been inspired by life's little pains?

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by History - Part 3 - Immersion

In earlier blogs I wrote about world-building and the research needed to create work that effectively evokes another place and time.

Inspired by a fellow Thursday's Children blogger, Kate Frost, I decided to talk about immersion. That is when you actually go to the location you are writing about. The first question is, what's left from the period of your story? If you're really lucky, there will be historic buildings to visit. Some cities and towns even have whole districts that remain mostly untouched. Sometimes you will have to content yourself with ruins or even just open space. But even that minimal experience can work for you. I will explain.

One of my first practice books in my 1890s series involved a old hotel that burned in 1922. Now the site is a ski-area parking lot. Fortunately the land surrounding is part of a state park, a gorgeous one.
My main character is an artist and this spot has long been a destination for them. To experience the site the way my character did meant I had to ignore the sound of traffic. When Emily stayed there, the only sounds were wind in the trees, birds, and horse-drawn carriages arriving. Oh, and the defunct train whistling its arrival.

I spent quite a bit of time wandering around the park during the same calendar month she was there--July. I experienced the weather: temperature, wind, the light, the slant and feel of the sun. The smell of the fresh mountain air. I listened to the birds and identified them. I also identified the weeds and other wild flowers growing along the lakeside path.

I stood in the parking lot where the hotel was and looked at the view. What did she see from her windows?

During this time, I kept a weather diary that recorded daily temps and events, special notes (the sunset was gold and pink). All these details helped me write tactile details into the story.

I urge you to walk in your character's steps. It really makes a difference in bringing a story to life, both as a writer and a reader.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday's Chldren: Inspired by History: Part 2, Building the Iceberg

Last week I wrote about historical fiction as a form of world-building. I promised to share my research "secrets" so here we go.

First, I believe that if you want to write believable, textured historical fiction, you need to do a LOT of research. It's like an iceberg--only a little is visible but there's a whole lot behind it. Otherwise your story will feel flimsy, like the historical detail was grafted onto your plot.

Just as the best emotional scenes are written when you FEEL the emotion, the best historical settings are lived vicariously in your head. They are as vivid as if you got into a time machine and now you're there.

That said, where do you go for information? I set my fiction in real places, which makes it a little easier. If your town or city is fictional, use a real one as a template. First I'll share some general resources then I'll talk about the variety of information I used in one book. A general rule is that you need as much contemporary source material as you can find. This means contemporary to the period you are writing about.

An incredible site is the Library of Congress's American Memory.  Here you will find photographs, books, playbills, songs, magazines, and oral histories. These are organized by topic and geography and can be searched across collections.  Another awesome site is Cornell's Making of America. This has, for instance, back copies of Harper's Magazine, which has lengthy travelogue-type articles. Very useful if you want to find out how a setting appeared to eyewitnesses. If you're a Victorian-era buff, then The Victorian Web is a great index of rich source material.  Project Gutenberg has usefully digitized thousands of many classic texts. You can search by location. In addition, local and college libraries may have collections of vintage books and other publications relating to your subject or location. Online catalogs make it easy to determine what they have before taking a trip.

I like to read novels written during the period (should there be any) as well as women's magazines because these inform the sensibilities, word choices, and attitudes of the day.

And don't forget the old standby, Roget's Thesaurus! I have several, with my oldest printed somewhere in the 1880s. It's falling apart but incredibly useful. If a word isn't in there--don't use it! The Oxford Dictionary is a good source to find out when a word was first used. Heavy reading in your period helps a lot with word choice. When I'm immersed in my setting, often the "right" dialogue and descriptive words come to me. A little spooky but it works.

I'll use Last Summer in Eden as my example. It is set in 1929, in a real town, Bethlehem, NH. I lived there, which made research much easier. Many of the old buildings were still around, including my house, which I used in the book. :) 

Contemporary source materials included oral histories; a directory of the region and towns that included resident names and businesses; 1920s novels including F. Scott; reprints of Sears catalogs; tourism brochures and books for the White Mountains; local newspaper archives; the historical society's photographs and printed materials (brochures, events, menus); maps (the old insurance ones are super since they show buildings); old magazines; and my trusty thesaurus.

In addition, I referred to history books that covered the 1920s, the White Mountains and grand hotels, Prohibition, anti-Semitism, and bootlegging. I also researched arcane information like the history of the washing machine (they used to be gas powered!) online.

It takes a lot of work to build an iceberg. But as the writer, you get to practically live in the period you're writing about. It's a blast. Happy researching!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by History

I admire writers who create new worlds. What a lot of imagination it takes to develop a setting, civilizations, and technology or magic in addition to all the other components of a story.

I venture to say that the historical fiction writer does something similar. The only difference is that there are usually real artifacts and evidence of that other world--the past.

The truth is, we probably have it easier than people at any time in history. We eat better and have better medical care, for sure. Our houses are solid and climate-controlled. We have lots of gadgets that mean we don't have to draw water from a well and wash clothes by hand or worry about food spoiling. We don't have to go to bed at sunset because candles are handmade and you just burned the last one to a nub.

Why then is the past so fascinating to many of us? Besides the desire to wear sweeping gowns or wield a sword, I think many of us conceive the past as more interesting and romantic yet simpler, with better values. Probably people in other eras felt the same about times previous. Woody Allen's film, Midnight in Paris, makes this point. The MC travels back to the 1920s, which he believes is the perfect period for a writer. A woman he meets there, an artist's model, believes the best period for her is the Belle Epoque, the late 1800s. 

I have two favorite periods. One is the 1880s-1910, the grand hotel era. Not only was it an intensely creative time for artists (art is one of my passions), the architecture was incredible (another passion). The wealthy in the so-called Gilded Age had the money, imagination, and taste to create houses and public buildings that were eclectically beautiful and often whimsical. They showed appreciation for Nature's majesty by creating elaborate gardens and many of our national parks. During that period, they believed in important connections between Art, Landscape, and the Divine. Vacations lasted all summer and were spent in lavish, sprawling hotels located in gorgeous spots.

My other favorite period is the 1920s. The Flapper--independent and bold, gorgeous in silk and satin and beads, dancing all night and riding in roadsters with chisel-chinned college men...The 1920s were a seminal time for women. They forged their own path and have never been more drop dead glamorous.

The challenge of writing historical fiction is to place yourself there. To feel, touch, see, and even smell it. To imagine landscapes and towns and cities as they once were. You must create characters true to their time and way of thinking. Research is key, and perhaps in another post, I'll share my secrets regarding digging out facets of the past that will enrich your writing.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Frites and Fries

I know you're thinking: what the heck is she talking about? Aren't frites and fries the same thing? By definition, yes. But you never see "fries" in fancy restaurants, do you? They are always "frites."

I am using this humble food item as an analogy for--what else--writing. Frites are served on dome-lidded platters. They are perfectly crisped, not greasy, and oh so delectable. In contrast, fries are limp, soggy, cooked in old oil and served in grease-stained cardboard containers. Frites = good, fries = bad.

I started my writing career as a business writer, which at least gave me lots of experience being succinct and meeting deadlines. Naturally, I wanted to write fiction (the most fun!)  since childhood but I lacked something vital: inspiration. I quite simply didn't know what to write about.

Like most aspiring writers, I devoured frites constantly and avoided fries whenever possible. But it was a serving of fries that first inspired me. Surely, I said to myself as I threw the fries across the room, I can do better than THIS! Those lousy fries gave me the confidence to try.

Disclaimer: I know in the superstitious society of writers, we're not supposed to criticize anyone's work. Reason one is, who are we, lowly writer-worms, to judge? And two, if we diss someone, our work might be slammed in turn. Plus we know how much it hurts. OK, that said, how many of you secretly agree and have been inspired by fries not to our taste and standards of reading?

Now on to frites as inspiration. No, I never picked up Shakespeare and said, I can do better! Ha ha. But frites inspire me all the time. I love love LOVE frites. Deft description here, subtle plotting there. Atmosphere. Intrigue. Narrative drive. Heart-pounding truth. Tears. Laughter. Worlds you can dive into from page one. Characters that you don't want to relinquish at "the end." Sigh.

Frites and fries: all potatoes but some are better potatoes than others. However, tastes vary widely and other readers may feel differently.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Revenge

As a writer toiling in mostly quiet obscurity (or quiet mostly obscurity), I've enjoyed connecting with other writers through contests, the Blueboards, and Twitter. Then I heard about this blog hop...Thursday's Children, where writers talk about inspiration. Sounds like fun, another way to make new friends and share the writing journey.

Inspiration comes through so many sources but I thought I would focus on one that is so sweet: revenge.

Now, as a good person (ahem), I don't believe in actually getting revenge on people. Living well and all that. Plus who wants to lower themselves to be like THAT?

(sounds of hands rubbing together with cackles of glee) But I do have a saying: Don't Piss Off A Writer!

In our deft hands, the most egregious character flaws, personality disorders, iniquities, screwing-overs and "f***** withs" can be avenged through a discreet character assassination, er, portrayal. Names and identifying characteristics changed to protect the guilty, of course. More likely, the writer's pocketbook, life, and personal property.

Think of it: the jerks in your family, ex-lovers, horrible bosses, obnoxious co-workers, all those creatures who have messed with your mind and life--don't they inspire you to create truly authentic portraits of the vile underbelly of humankind?

I thought so. Lift one and toast the writer's fount: revenge!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A New Gig

Today I signed another agreement - to be an editorial intern for Entangled Publishing. They're a new company with an innovative revenue model that has resulted in skyrocketing growth. Recently they signed a worldwide distribution agreement with Macmillan.

I've wanted to be an editor since I was a kid. That's odd, isn't it? Most girls back then wanted to be ballerinas or nurses or teachers. But I adored books, a love sparked by the library in Readfield, Maine, an ancient Colonial house crammed with dusty books. From then on, I was a voracious reader. I devoured every single Nancy Drew--and all the Hardy Boys. Fairy tales, adventure, 1950s sci fi, mysteries, historical sagas...anything I could get my hands on.

It seemed like a dream job to work with actually producing the books.  Still does. Recent experience mentoring three writers for PitchWars, an online agent contest, sparked that interest again. It was pure fun reading their work and providing feedback they said helped them improve their books.

When I saw that Entangled had an editor, Rochelle French, interested in cozy mysteries, I knew it was a match. I not only write them, they are one of my favorite genres. Along with dark and suspenseful, but hey, I have eclectic tastes in both reading and writing. 

This is another step toward the career I want to live--immersed in books and screenplays and creative projects. Along the way, I hope to help other aspiring authors see their books in print!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Signed for Creative Woman Series!

Today I received a very exciting piece of mail--a contract to write a cozy mystery for the Creative Woman Series. This series, featuring a Scottish craft store owner and set in Oregon, is published by Annie's as part of their book club. Their marketing concept is really cool. As a direct mail seller of craft supplies, they have created several mystery series of interest to their target audiences. The books are not sold in book stores or to libraries.

Annie's will be publishing the book with my name, unlike other series publishers. Nancy Drew, for example, was actually written by several writers but all books were published under the fictional name, Carolyn Keene.

I look forward to seeing my original books in print but in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy writing Book 12, untitled for now. The first step was writing an outline, something I never do, and it was actually fun.