Thursday, November 10, 2011

Someone thinks I'm versatile

Thank you to Cindy Keen Reynders for my lovely blogging award, The Versatile Blogger. She writes a wonderful blog about writing that's humorous, sassy and fun. You can find it here. And you can look for her book, The Seven Year Witch, to be put out by Angelic Knight Press in January. I haven't gotten to know Cindy that well yet, but I'm looking forward to working with her as her editor for the book. I can tell you that the book is very funny, a little fantastical and a little romantic. Isn't that a great combination?!

So the rules for the award are that you have to thank the person who gave it to you (see above), list seven things about yourself and pass it to 15 other lucky winners. So seven things about me...

1. I grew up an Air Force brat. My father was in the Air Force for 26 years before he retired. I've lived in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona and North Carolina. I also lived in Okinawa for two years and England for four. I've visited more than half of the 50 states.

2. I met my husband 3 days after I returned to America from England. He was my cousin's best friend. I was 17 and he was 16. We have been inseparable ever since.

3. I love winter. I love snow and storms. Most people want to retire somewhere warm, I want to move north. I hate being hot. You can always put more clothes on, you can only take so many off.

4. If I could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, I would choose Stephen King and Joe Hill. I just want to figure out how their minds work. Besides that, they are kind of goofy and look like they'd be fun to hang with.

5. I read magazines from back to front. They always put the good stuff in the back.

6. I've wanted to write since I learned to read at age 4. But I originally majored in psychology in college. I switched majors to English when I went back to school after having my children.

7. I love to act. I've did a lot of it in high school and even won a few awards at the Speech & Drama festival. I've also done some Community Theatre here. My children caught the acting bug and participated in our Community Theatre's student theatre when they were younger.

Okay, now on to the next participants:

1. Carson Buckingham- if you haven't read Carson's blog, then go there immediately. Do not pass "Go". Do not collect $200. It is sarcastic, humorous and undeniably addicting. Her novel, Home, is also addicting.

2. Lisa McCourt Hollar- Lisa's blog is full of her scary works of fiction. Bite sized little pieces of horror to consume during the day. Be careful they don't torment you at night...

3. Rebecca Treadway- Rebecca is the very talented cover artist for Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls. She's also a talented author and does some fantastic interviews and book reviews on her blog.

4. Scott Niven- Scott is the author of three books of short stories that defy labeling. Part sci-fi, part speculative fiction, all fantastic. He also does book reviews, author interviews and blogs about writing and marketing strategies.

5. John Wiswell- John's Bathroom Monologues blog never fails to amaze me. I'm either laughing or thinking when I get done reading his posts. The man is a talented writer and often offers a new perspective on things that I might not have thought of on my own. Visit his blog, you won't be sorry.

6. Lisamarie Lamb- Lisamarie's blog is a mix of her fiction and her life as a writer. I've only recently discovered it, but I'm already a fan.

7. Sam Williams- Sam Williams is another talented author. I worked with him on his book and loved it. His blog features his fiction.

8. Claudia Lefeve- Claudia is another author I've worked with and loved. In fact, I bought her book as a Christmas gift for my sister, whom I know will also share it with my daughter. Claudia's blog is about her life, both as a writer and a person.

9. Jason McKinney- Jason is a good friend. Sometimes on the internet we're lucky enough to meet people and become friends. That's what happened with Jason and his wife Tab. I haven't met them in person, but you can bet that if I'm ever close enough to their house, I'll be stopping by. Jason is also a talented author that I've been lucky enough to work with. His blog features his fiction and his thoughts about writing.

10. Ray Garton- I can't claim that Ray and I are friends, but we are acquaintances and we've had a couple of Facebook conversations. Ray has several published works and has been at this game far longer than I have. I enjoy his books and I really enjoy his blogs. Some are humorous and some offer the story behind the books.

And that, my friends, is that. I know you're supposed to do fifteen, and I probably could, but it takes a long time and I'm short on time today. So give these blogs a try and find some great new reads. And thanks again to Cindy for thinking of me!


Monday, November 7, 2011

What I learned about being a writer from being an editor...

I've been a writer much longer than I've been an editor. I've been writing since I could pick up a crayon and form words. Editing, I've only been doing for a short while (in the grand scheme of things). But I've learned a lot about being a writer from my work as an editor.

Oh, of course I've learned the basic things you would expect, I edit my own work far more critically now than I ever did before. I'm extra careful to look for repetitive words, grammar errors and verb tense confusion. Oh and speech tags! Let's not forget those pesky speech tags. But beyond the expected benefits of honing my skills via editing others, I've learned to take rejection far less painfully.

I had been told (in pep talk format) that you couldn't take rejection personally. But, and I know you're all nodding your heads, that's far easier said than done. I was told that sometimes a story just didn't fit the publisher's needs. Or maybe they had other similiar stories. I never believed what I was told and imagined the editors I had submitted to as harsh, souless characters who only wanted stories from successful (ie: published) writers.

Then, enter my joining the ranks of "editor". I am not a harsh souless character who only wants published authors. Don't get me wrong, I won't turn down a published author, provided the story is good. See, that's the thing, I'm looking for good stories, regardless of the author. I read every submission that comes to us. Some we accept, some I have to turn down.

And obviously, if the story is too reminiscient of another story I've read, if it just isn't good, if its going to take far too much editing, or the writing is well, bad; I'm going to have to reject it. But what they say is absolutely true. Sometimes, no matter how great I think a story is, it just doesn't fit with anything we're publishing at that time. And sometimes, we receive two stories with the same plot lines. I have to take the best one and regardless of how well written the other one is- it gets passed over. And sometimes? It just doesn't grab me. It might be a well written piece, I just don't feel it. Editing is subjective and just because I don't like it, doesn't mean another editor won't snap it up.

And so, recently when I received a pass on a story I'd submitted to an anthology, I shrugged. Yep, shrugged. I found myself completely okay with the rejection. I know that I'll find a home for that story someday. Today, this anthology, just wasn't the right place or time. And that's ok.

So when you receive those inevitable (we all get them) rejection letters, try not to take it so personally. If the editor has been kind enough to send a personal letter and any recommendations, pay attention, they are doing you a favor. And believe the reasons they give you for their rejection. We don't make this shit up.

Happy submitting,

PS- for the love of Bob, read submission guidelines. Nothing irritates me more than to receive a submission that makes it clear the sender did NOT read my guidelines. Its incredibly rude and will not endear you to me.