Monday, February 25, 2013

Notes From A Writer's Conference

Hello world! And happy Monday to you! Today I have a very special guest, the energetic and always cheerful Jamie Ayres, author of 18 Things. She's just returned from a writer's conference this weekend and is sharing some tidbits with us FIRST. How cool is that?? I love when writers do this 'cause it's like we get all the good stuff without having to spend the money of going to the actual conference. So be sure to read through and gobble up all the good stuff Jamie got for us!

If you don't already know Jamie, here she is:

Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a public school teacher by day. She lives in southwest Florida with her husband and two daughters. 

And here's her smashing debut YA:

You can find her on her website/blog, and links to purchase 18 Things by clicking cover above.

So thanks for being here, Jamie. Take it away ....

Thanks, PK!. I just got back from SWFRW (Hearts in the Sand Writer's Conference) and had to share these tidbits with your readers. About three things I’m absolutely positive: don’t crawl into a fetal position eating donuts every time you’re rejected and stay yourself when pitching at these writing conferences, but yourself after one or two drinks. In other words, bring the fun, but save the crazy for your friends and family! Here are some other tidbits of wisdom from the conference:

Editor-at-large Leslie Wainger from Harlequin said: paranormal is still hot, but straightforward vampire romance probably shouldn’t be your first book because there’s just too much of it to get noticed as a debut author. Following trends is a double-edge sword. You have to write a book that matters the most to you but that’s going to be a “good book”—just can’t follow trends. You can do a lot of research yourself in the bookstore and the sales ranking on Amazon for debut authors (not the ones always on the bestseller’s list) to see what they’re doing right. Can’t rely on Amazon reviews because it can be their family members posting reviews. I want to see sales numbers. You have to work hard for your digital sales, so be mindful about your online presence. Have your manuscript polished when you pitch it to me. If I say, “Oh my gosh, I can sell this today,” you want to be able to take advantage of that.

 Jennifer Schober from Spencerhill Associates said: It’s a very strange time to be in the industry, and I lose sleep at night because I want the best for my authors. Just because there’s lots of opportunities out there doesn’t mean they’re all good. I don’t look for trends, but there are some realities to get your book on shelves. It has to be something different, but it’s hard to say what will sell—there’s a bit of magic involved. I want your book to weave a spell over me. I want a love/hate relationship with your book—I want to lose sleep over it. Don’t worry if you blow your pitch with me. As long as I heard something that might hook me, then I’ll request something. But I absolutely have an expiration date on my requests . . . no later than six months. I’m willing to help with revisions, but not a massive overhaul.

Nicole Resciniti from The SeymourAgency said: I think it’s a great time to be in publishing. There’s so many avenues you can take, but do your homework. You wouldn’t leave your baby with just anyone. All the big presses have solid digital lines, so you may need to do digital only before print distribution to get your foot in the door. The synopsis is key to your submission, even though it’s kind of like the dreaded book report. Think about what the reader needs to know and put it in. I also like to see the concise blurb, because it shows the author did their homework. If I’m meeting you at a writing conference, you already have a huge advantage because I know you’re honing your craft. Use those critique partners! Sometimes I’m too busy with my current clients to make comments about what I’d need fixed to represent a book, so fix it before it gets to me. Also, always follow up after you send it. I get 300+ emails a day—there’s things that end up in spam or cyberspace. So don’t wait nine months to ask me if I received your submission. If I didn’t receive it, I’ll just ask you to resend and move it to the top of my pile. 

I'd love to hear from you! Stop by and say hello! You can find all my social media links by clicking here. And thanks for having me, PK!

Awesome! Thanks so much, Jamie. That's some really great info. I love hearing what industry pros are saying about publishing today. I keep hearing agents say to follow up if writers don't hear back from a sub/query. I think that's really important to point out 'cause agents are simply inundated and keep up. 

Jamie, we so appreciate you taking the time to share with us. 

Off subject, I completely missed the Oscars last night for the first time in like ten years. BUT! They are streaming the entire show today and tomorrow at so I'll be watching it this morning while working on some pixies. 

How about you? Did you see the Oscars? Any fave highlights or dresses? Find anything helpful from Jamie's wealth of info? Don't forget to stop by and say hello to her. She is fantastic!   

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Storm Has Hit!

I'm so honored that Alex J. Cavanaugh picked me to be the first blogger to reveal the cover of his new book,

Drumroll please ...

Um, what? You mean I'm not the first? You mean his new cover has been revealed all day?? What?! Major ego shrinkage right about now. *hangs head* *collects cool*

Okay, all better. ;)

Just a little teasing because I'm late to the party, but still here to represent our most honorable Blogfather ... our Ninja Captain Extraordinaire!

In case you haven't already read the blurb for the number three book in Alex's sci-fi trilogy, allow me to present it for you:

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

Release date: September 17, 2013
Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure
Print ISBN 9781939844002
E-book ISBN 9781939844019

Aw man, you mean we have to wait til September?? How d'ya like that. That Alex, such a tease. 

I know we're all proud and more than happy to help spread the word for our bloggie buddy who never hesitates to support any of the rest of us. 

Hope everyone has a stellar weekend! Check back here on Monday because I'll have Jamie Ayres here guest posting on what she's learned at her latest writer's conference. Also, Blogging A-Z is coming up in April. This will be year number three for me. Always a great time!

How about you? Are you doing A-Z? Got anything happening this weekend? Please share!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blogo Bash and The Truth

Happy blogoversary to Michelle Wallace and Elise Fallson! Michelle blogs from South Africa and Elise from France and they are both fabulous. I'm talkin' two snaps up in Z formation fabulous!

They're having a bash today with fill-in-the-blank cartoons (with bonus words in bold), so check mine out, then head over to Michelle's and Elise's to wish them happy blogoversary! (sorry for wonky formatting!)

 Panel 1: Michelle (in balloon): "Elise, help! I had too much champagne! Get me out of this thing before I vomit!"
Elise: "I'm coming, Michelle! I will save you with my extra swift super strength girly power!"

Panel 2: Michelle: "Nice one. Now I shall puke on you."
Elise: "Guess I got myself in a bit of a twist. Don't know what happened."

Panel 3: Superboy: "Well hellllllooooo, hot ladies. I am the man who will fight for your honor. Lucky for you, I was in the neighborhood. " *wink*"

Panel 4: Superboy: "DOH!"

Panel 5: Michelle: "Aw, man, I just washed my hair, too."

Panel 6: Elise: "Was that Brad Pitt?"
Michelle: "You think he knows how to tango?"

Panel 7: Dragon: "Hey did you just kill Brad Pitt?"
Michelle & Elise: "Listen, lizard-brains, buzz off, all right? We'll send word to his baby-mama and kids ... right after we upload the pics to our blogs ...."  

Congrats again, Michelle and Elise! Glad to know both of you!

Speaking of fabulous, bloggie bud, Leigh T. Moore's new contemporary YA sequel, The Truth About Letting Go, is out!

Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.  Congrats, Leigh! Click on her pic above to get to her blog. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! I listened to a Publisher's Weekly webcast today on the YA market with editors from Disney Hyperion and Teen Harlequin. If you write YA (or NA as it was mentioned) check out the hashtag on Twitter for some informative post-webcast tweets. #pwwebcast.

Have anything you want to share? Spill it! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Writers 4 Writers

Happy Monday! Hey what happened to February?? I'm still trying to catch up from January. :s

Today's a great day 'cause it's the Writers 4 Writer's day. It's a great way to give back to the community and introduce yourself to other writers and their stories. Just think about when your book comes out, how much you'd appreciate others spreading the word. This is a great way to connect and learn more about each other. To sign up, click on the picture above.
Check out the links below to two fab writers, and simply head over to their blogs to copy a tweet and/or facebook post and paste them into your own social media haunts. It's a simple way to spread the word. And when it's your turn, you'll be glad others made the effort for you.

You can find Gwen Gardner here.

And Melissa Bradley here.

Head over and say hello, congratulate them on their book, and share, share, share!

I'm busy giving my latest few pixies their wings so they can fly off to their new owners. So exciting! It's always a big deal here at Pixie Patrol HDQ when a new fairy gets her wings. If you know someone who needs a little inspiration in their lives, check out my Pixie Patrol page on the sidebar.

Also, I've put up my Twitter hangouts in the sidebar as well. Come hang and chat with me and other writers!

Have a great week! I'll be back on Wednesday, and will be hopping around to visit you in between. How was your weekend? Any news to share? Or just say hello. I love to hear from you. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kissy Kissy!

Happy Heart Day to all!

Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers--it's for everyone and anyone you value. Like YOU! Have I told you all how much I value your visits and comments?? I really and truly do.

And a VERY SPECIAL heartfelt thanks going out to Candilynn Fite today for her blog post that made my day. Check it out right here!

And to Al Diaz, AKA Father Dragon, who left me the Cutie Pie Award the other day, THANK YOU! Check him out right here.

So watching my kids get to their classrooms with their sacks full of valentines and their excitement in passing them out, just made my morning. Remember those days/? I remember once in fifth grade I got a really big extra special valentine chocolate heart from a little boy admirer and I just didn't know what to think. lol I was so embarrassed. Hee hee....

Anyway today's also the Indelibles Kissing fest! If you don't know the Indelibles, they are a group of INDIE writers leaving their marks on their world with their self-pubbed books.  Proving to the world the time for self-pubbed stigmas is gone, and independent can very well mean quality writing and stories.

Head to the Indelibles' blog for HDQ and a list of participants by clicking on the picture above, and get ready to swoon! But first! Check out my entry below.

I've posted this one before, so it may be familiar, but it's my go-to standby kissing scene from my YA contemporary story called Starsong. It's about a teen couple, Wynona and Sami, trying to make a relationship work despite the fact they come from controlling families with conflicting faiths. The full blurb is on my sidebar under MY PROJECTS.

This is the scene of their first kiss, at a lake on Fourth of July. Hope you enjoy ....

From Starsong 

I can feel his presence like he's already touching me. The hairs on my arms are standing up like a static current just settled over my skin. I look at his face, his eyelids are heavier than before. Thank God it's dark, I'm sure I'm blushing right now.
            “You reminded me how much I love to sing,” I say.
            “You didn't need me for that. You just needed to find your voice.”
            “Maybe. Guess it was kinda stupid of me to stop singing—just cause of my mom.”
            “We all do stupid things sometimes.”
            “Oh, so you agree with me then? That figures.”
            His face looks serious.
            “I was … just teasing you ...” My heart beats faster.
            “I know,” he says, inching closer to me. “I know you have this thing with your mom, and some time I'd like to talk about it, but not tonight.”
            The first of the fireworks whistles through the night, then pops and crackles over the trees. Neon colors splatter across the sky, reflected by the lake, and drawing my attention away for only seconds.
            I look back at Sami, his face is only inches from mine. “Fireworks,” I say.
Duh. Way to be Captain Obvious, Wynonna.
            Sami says nothing. He takes one of my hands in his, then the other, standing in front of me now. His hands are warm, skin smooth. I can smell the sandalwood on his clothes.
            He raises our hands between us, our fingers intertwining slowly, then palms pressing together with more force. And that's all it takes—a single touch to trigger the feelings inside me. We embrace. I allow my hands to run up along his back, feeling the warmth of his body, welcoming it.
            A tiny gasp escapes my lips. I didn't know he'd feel this good. He caresses my arms, my back. Still our lips haven't met. Something so erotic stirs inside me—a swirling of emotion and desire like I've never felt. He pulls just barely away from me and I search his face for a sign.
            His eyes are blazing like embers, his face approaching mine. Our lips touch, blend, unite. His mouth is like comfort food—warm, nourishing. I let the passion inside me take over my body, kissing him harder, deeper. He lifts me up, our lips still locked together, and carries me.
            Fireworks still whistle, pop, and crackle overhead, but I can't tell if they're from my body or from the pyrotechnic display. I don’t care which it is. All I care about is Sami here with me, our bodies together.

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to swing by Candi's blog , Al Diaz and the Indelibles today!

Do you have a fave kissing scene from a book or movie? Or one from your past? Care to share what your first kiss was like?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Bad Underwear Day

You know the one. You think you made a good choice in under garments for the day. Maybe it's your favorite pair for comfort. Or the fit is so right on with whatever outer clothes you wear. Or maybe a thong is the only pair that works with your outfit.

Whatever the reason for your choice, you've made a commitment to be with this pair throughout the entire day. And you expect full support and reliability in return.

Then it happens.

Starts out with a bit of tugging and squirming. Maybe a trip to the restroom to readjust. You're determined to make it work. But the fact remains, you're just not comfortable. Maybe the elastic popped. Or the low rise fell too far below. The thong feels more like a prong, or a bunch is crunching the jewels.

Hey, it happens. To the best of us.

If you or someone you know is a victim of Bad Underwear Day, rest assured you're not alone. Many suffer from this ailment. Get help. Be prepared. Carry along a "spare pair" in your briefcase, backpack, or purse. Extend your lunch break to allow for a "quick change." But whatever you do, don't try to bite the bullet and deal with it all day.  Have a plan.

And don't be afraid to speak up. If  you see someone squirming in their seat, or their hands disappearing into their trunks  to rearrange, give them a little encouragement. Try saying something like, "Bad underwear day? Happens to the best of us."

Sometimes that's all it takes. And hey we all need all the support we can get. (pun intended) It's important to know we're not alone.

True story as shared by my son's teacher:

Her father drove an airport shuttle during the day on the weekends and one day while he was working, and the family was at home, her father pulls up in the driveway with a shuttle full of passengers on their way to the airport. Her father runs in the house while the kids and her mom are staring out the window at a shuttle full of people, who are staring right back at them.

"What's going on?" her mom asked.

Her dad disappeared into the bedroom and returned with a quick hug. "Bad underwear day. But not anymore."

"You brought a busload of people to our house to wait while you changed your underwear?" the mom asked.

He shrugged and headed out the door. "Desperate times call for desperate measures."    

( lol )

How about you? Have you or someone you know been a victim of Bad Underwear Day? Please share ....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG-What Being A Writer Has Taught Me

Happy Wednesday! And it's time again for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Every first Wednesday of the month. Learn more at Alex Cavanaugh's blog by clicking the picture below. But first! Read on for what writing has taught me ....

My teen years and early twenties were spent floundering around, enjoying life, meeting people, having fun--completely unsure of what I really wanted to do or be. I was always interested in writing, and always been a writer, but back then I craved a kind of life wisdom that would only come from being out in the world and living life.

Part of our culture today is about instant gratification. We want something, we buy it. We don't like to wait. And we don't have to. We simply put it on credit and pay it off later. It's the American way.
When I was 23 I got a job with the airline because I wanted to travel and I'm no trust fund kid so I had to find a way to make it happen. All through my twenties when I wanted to take a trip, I did. Hopped on a plane, sometimes at the spur of the moment with no reservations or plans at all. (which some countries do not like, mind you) And I've done that ever since. Instant gratification.

But now that life is much slower paced and I'm dedicated to writing stories, I've really learned what it's like to WORK for something that I want. It's hard work, too. No cut-throughs, or easy hacks. The work is real, the rejection is hard, and the chances of real success, slim. But I'm still working for it.

Having this passion for writing has shown me what it's like to have to work hard for something and hope for a payoff. I find that amazingly invaluable. Sad that I'm almost 40 and just now learning it, but it is what it is.

BTW I'm reading Gone,Girl right now for my Book Club selection and WOW. Gillian Flynn writes with two separate points of view in two voices that make you wish you could have even an ounce of her talent. Anyone out there still wanting to know what constitutes voice in a story, you HAVE to read this book. It's that good.

How about you? What's writing taught you? Have you ever had to work harder for something? Read Gone, Girl yet? Please share ...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Overcoming Adversity

Howdy do! Hope everyone had a swell Superbowl evening last night. I slept right through it. lol What can I say, never was a football fan. But anyway, today and tomorrow is the Overcoming Adversity blogfest hosted by Nick Wilford over at Scattergun Scribblings.

Click on the pic above to get to Nick's blog and read all the entries. Today's blogfest is special because it's for a great cause. Nick and his family are raising funds for his stepson to attend a specialist college. (And you should see how adorable Andrew is!) The posts today will be part of an anthology for this cause. How cool is that??

You can still hop on board and post your own as it continues through til tomorrow. Just add your name to the linky list on Nick's blog and have fun helping out with this very important endeavor. But first! Check out mine below.

The topic? A fictional piece on overcoming adveristy. Here's my humble addition:

The Fire

They told her she couldn’t do it. Everyone said it. Silent head-shaking, concentrated glares, even those who flat out said no. They insisted it wasn’t possible. A waste of time. Because she wasn’t good enough. She didn’t have talent. She wasn’t gifted.

She could’ve listened.

She might’ve believed them, and the truth was, it got easier to every time she heard it. I mean, how could she ever compete with the best of the best already out there? Her chances of success were slim, she knew that. And everyone she knew reminded her every time she mentioned her dream.

She could’ve listened.

When she thought about it, it was easy to see her place was not out there. It was buried away, apart from the superstars and winners—her place was alone, out of the public’s eye where she could live a simple, mediocre life. Even the voices in her head told her this.

She could’ve listened.

But there was something else. Something inexplicable! A fire that burned inside. They couldn’t see it. Only she knew it was there. It swelled like a lantern doused with fuel. Impossible to ignore. She tried to tell them the fire existed, but they told her to forget it. “The fire will fool you,” they said. “It isn’t real. Look past it, and know your place in the world. You’re just a girl. There are others more talented.”

She could’ve listened.

And she did.

But not to them. She listened to the fire inside. Embraced it. Made it work for her. She went out into the world and found others like her. They, too, had fire, and they understood. They taught her, and she, them. They taught her about the fire—told her it was drive, explained it’d always be there, and to ignore it, she’d never be whole. They told her she could do it—whatever she worked hard for. That even those without talent could learn. Those ungifted, could purchase it for themselves with perseverance, motivation, and will. They told her the fire would lead her. The fire in her heart.

She listened.

And she made her own dreams come true.    

Thanks so much for stopping by! This short piece--more like a poem--could apply to anyone for anything--does it sound familiar? Have you overcome adversity in some way? Adversity can come in many forms, as with the conflict in a story. Are you your worse adversary? Have you listened to the fire in her heart? Please share ....