Smart, urbanite, foodie, funny, cook, passionate, opinionated, sometimes political, irreverent, writer, photographer, busy, mom, wife, shoe fiend, fashionista, frequent hostess, teacher, displaced Californian... Formerly managing editor for several firearm magazines, then for local newspapers (a story and a half that one!) now happily writing from home.

If you know me, you’ve heard this before, but you might be wondering why I’m at it again… didn’t I get into this thing a couple years ago? Didn’t I get an agent? Yes, and yes.

If you’re new here, you might be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. If you’ve never heard of Pitch Wars, go check it out.

PW has given me some of the most amazing experiences as a writer. From the community to my mentors to the PW team. So amazing that after completing PW, I volunteered to take over the blog. My little way of giving back to the community that had given me so much.

And this year, I’m thrilled… honored… excited to be mentoring!

So… it’s time to work on a wish list, brush up my spreadsheet skills (who’m I kidding? I love my spreadsheets), and get ready for the busy to begin.

It’s no secret I’m a huge Pitch Wars fan and was lucky enough to land a mentee spot in 2018. It was, without a doubt, the most challenging, and rewarding, process in my writing career to date.

So when this PW Advice Blog Hop thing came up – I jumped at it! The idea of PW prep and survival is near and dear to my heart as year after year I’ve seen the stresses take their toll.

It’s understandable. It makes sense.

But it’s something that can be minimized. Sort of. Buckle up, this post is gonna be long. But I try to be funny. Sort of. And there are gifs – sorry, not sorry. I used to be a hater. Not anymore.

We’re a week away from mentee announcements. Woot! You’ve (hopefully) read some craft books (if you haven’t, check out here for a whole page on that). You’ve polished your manuscript until it’s as shiny as you can make it.
The wait is almost over (for now).

By the way, most of the following stuff applies whether or not you “get in”.

My biggest advice?

(more…)

No sooner had I started blogging again, getting back in the habit of regular posts then…

I got into Pitch Wars!!!

Y’all! This is a huge step for me. I’ve entered PW twice before and gotten great feedback, but never got in. But… it has also been an ungodly amount of hard work. And worth every bit of blood, sweat, and tears.

Now that it’s winding down… some fellow 2018 mentees and I have some plans (see the news). The PW Agent Showcase is coming up in early February, so this leg of the journey is almost over.

People say publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. And while that’s partially true, they forget to tell you that it’s an Iron Man Marathon – where each leg of the journey is a marathon in and of itself. And then you go on to the next.

There’s been a lot of coffee consumed…

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dep8hqfvyaaww7gLast week, I wrote about revising an old, retired manuscript…

Except this isn’t just revision. This is full-on rewriting. At this point, I don’t know how much of the original text and story will remain. I have a suspicion. Quite a bit of the bad guy will be hanging around. He’s sexy and scary, and terrific and terrible. The supporting characters, especially the main male character, are interesting and likely to remain largely unchanged – at least in personality.

That MC, though? She’s gotta go. She’s a pain in the ass and flat out awful. Not in the unlikable, but I still want to read about her way, either. More like in the I wanna smack her head into a wall, or throw this book across the room way. Not good. She’s due for a major overhaul.

And the plot? Holy slowpokes Batman! Let’s get this shit in gear, huh? I get that literary can be slower, but this is fucking molasses on a winter morning.

So, if it’s so much work, and such a pain in the ass, why am I doing this? After all, this was a story that got rejection after rejection, and finally got shelved in favor of a stronger piece.

Why make the choice to revise an old manuscript rather than write something new?

Oh, lots of reasons… But two really stand out…

At its core, it’s a good concept, and there are some really compelling bits in there (the bad guy in particular) that just won’t let me go.

It’s a story that is clearly pointing in a particular direction—now that I’m able to see it. Unlike the new piece rattling around in my head that is wavering between domestic thriller and romantic suspense.

After tearing the piece apart last week, I got to the even harder work of rebuilding the framework. It’s just an outline at the moment, a bare sketch with a few scenes (all the bad guy’s) left virtually untouched. But there is a foundation, a direction, a rough plot…

And it’s very different than before.

The pace is faster (thankfully), the steamy romance replaced with simmering chemistry and tension (damn it, I like my kissing books, but I think the tension better serves this story), and the main character has undergone a personality reboot—she’s still in the fledgling stages, but this woman is a vast improvement over her previous incarnation.

So now it begins… the work of digging into characters, finding their voices, and building their worlds, and then gleefully throwing havoc in their paths.

c5r6mc9umaa1pjxShelving a project you love is never fun, but…

My first PitchWars was (mumble, grumble, looks at calendar, gives up) more than a few years ago. I entered my then barely completed (and nowhere near ready) MS that I inexpertly described as an edgy romantic suspense.

I didn’t get in, but gained so much from the contest. The CPs, query help, and community were so amazing. I revised the ever living crap out of that piece (it became a literary thriller). Still, after several rounds of queries and only a few partial and full requests, I got nowhere.

Regretfully, I shelved it and moved on.

Two completed books later, having landed and then broken up with an agent… with countless (who am I kidding, I’ve counted) rejection letters, pages upon pages of feedback, and a completely different perspective about genre and writing… I’ve found myself in an interesting place.

My work straddles the line between romance (romantic suspense to be more precise) and domestic or literary thriller.

That’s a hard fucking sell.

I’ve been spinning my wheels on a new piece, unable to really move forward—should I write it more romance? Should I go more thriller?

My now-former agent’s advice on that question was: What do you want to write?

My answer was simple and complex and naive: Both, but I want to write what will sell.

Yesterday, I made a choice. I dusted off that old MS… and I proceeded to rip it apart, down to bare bones. Now? Now comes the scary part.

Putting it back together.

And it appears to be taking a whole new dimension, leaning toward straight up thriller, or even psychological thriller.

Let’s see where this ride goes, yeah?

Anytime there is a protest that includes even the slightest hint of violence (or more than a hint of it in some cases), a cry goes up wondering why “these people” can’t just protest peacefully… why, we’d all listen to them then!

Ahem.

Really? Because we’re all doing such a fucking amazing job listening to the current peaceful protests happening at NFL games (and elsewhere).

I do not understand how a quiet action such as this is “disrespectful”, when in fact what they are doing by kneeling is exercising their rights as Americans to protest… to voice their opinion.

If you believe there is a problem in this country… if you believe that kneeling during the national anthem is better than rioting in the streets… it’s time to take a knee.

I know I will be.