writing

All posts in the writing category

Rewrite Your Life book review

Published May 8, 2017 by francesothomas

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We’ve all heard the dictum “write what you know.” And most if not all writers use incidents from their own lives in their books. Yet how well do we know ourselves on an emotional level? I read an awful lot of “self-help” books but rarely do the suggested exercises. All that introspection is hard work and brings up too many things I don’t want to examine or re-live.


In Rewrite Your Life,
Jessica Lourey bravely exposes her own experiences and relates how she has freed herself by incorporating what she learned about herself. I am trying to deepen my own fiction writing, so I am actually working my way through her prompts.

Along the way, Lourey also gives good info on choosing a genre, concept, characters, plot, and setting.

I highly recommend this book to both authors and those who want to overcome the painful parts of their lives through journaling.

Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Published March 18, 2017 by francesothomas

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I just got home from the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, an event held each March in Fort Myers. When I attend, I always make a point to go to hear any romance writers who are featured. This year’s panel included Cassandra King, Susan Wiggs, and Lori Wilde.  I’ve read and reviewed Wiggs and Wilde, but King was new to me. After hearing her speak, I intend to remedy that situation.

The three women took turns introducing themselves and then answered questions from the audience. King and Wilde grew up on farms. Wiggs was born in upstate New York but grew up in various places in Europe. All three said they were from families where reading was important. King and Wiggs became teachers when told they needed to have something besides writing to earn a living. Wilde became a nurse, a profession she professes to dread ever having to go back to.

King has written five novels but also nonfiction. Wiggs’ first novel was published in March 1987. Wilde has written more than 80 books. Asked the typical question of where ideas come from, King related how she modified  her original premise for Moonrise after she rented a house to do research in the area in which the story is set. Alone in the rather spooky house, she began to read Du Maurier’s Rebecca, and the story developed from that. Wiggs wrote Family Tree during the last year of her father’s life, inspired by his unfailing optimism. Wilde wrote Christmas at Twilight when she was coming to grips with mental health issues within her family and overcoming her own need to fix everything.

None of the three does a complete outline before beginning to write although they all know the general story arc. Wilde said her characters used to keep her awake at night until she learned to give them boundaries. Wiggs motivates herself to write by rewarding herself with an M&M for each page. She writes in longhand first and then goes back later and types her manuscript. King stressed that writers must uphold their contracts and meet deadlines. Publishers don’t buy the excuse of artistic temperament.

None of the women have much say over the covers on their books. Wiggs just saw for the first time the cover of her next book to be released in August. King once had a different cover put on the paperback edition of her book than had been on the hardback. Wilde said covers are a crap shoot. What may appeal to the author might not be a cover that will sell the book.

Asked about agents, Wiggs said she’s had the same agent for decades. Wilde is on her third agent. King said her first agent didn’t do much for her. She advised authors to publish anything they can, anywhere they can to increase the possibility that an agent might find them.

I’m so grateful that this event is held every year. The authors’ back stories  are fascinating.

 

 

 

 

 

Elephantine Publishing seeking authors, bloggers, and interns

Published February 4, 2015 by francesothomas

Elephantine Publishing has put out a call for new authors. Amanda Aksel and Heather Hildenbrand are looking for Young Adult contemp that deals with hard issues, YA PNR, New Adult contemp/paranormal, and Women’s Fiction.

They are also looking for bloggers to join their team and review books and share covers. In addition, they are seeking interns to contribute 2-5 hours per week. In exchange, they will:

  1. Learn the publishing industry (whether its marketing or the literary development side) from the inside
  2. Build their resumes so that you can use their time as a stepping stone to more opportunities
  3. Have the unique opportunity to work one on one with an innovative new business model

According to their pr material, while sharing marketing tips and discussing cover art, independent authors Amanda Aksel and Heather Hildenbrand came to the same conclusion; wouldn’t it be great if there was a publishing house that offered all the resources of traditional publishing, while still allowing the creative freedom of independent publishing? They set out to create their vision, and Elephantine was born.

They refer to Elephantine as a collaborative publisher. Their goal is to partner with authors to turn a love of writing into a successful career for years to come. They work side by side with authors through every step of the publishing process to create a unique and professional title to share with the world. Using strategic marketing, Elephantine provides their authors with industry tools and resources to build readership and grow sales.

Submission guidelines are on Elephantine’s website. Potential interns should submit a resume to  elephantinepublishing@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Author envy

Published December 3, 2014 by francesothomas

It bears repeating that if I could be someone else, that person would be Eloisa James. Let me count the ways I am pea green over her life.

First, she writes the most delightful romance novels. I, on the other hand, start writing them but never finish.

Second, she is a college professor-tenured, mind you-of English literature, specifically Shakespeare.

Third, she is married to an Italian knight (I am not making this up) who is also a professor, and she and her family  frequently visit his mother in Tuscany. Tuscany. Sigh.

Fourth, she spent a year living in Paris and wrote a book about that experience. She’s currently spending a year in London, visiting the Globe Theater and other literary landmarks, and will no doubt write another successful book.

I really hope I don’t develop a head like a dog for these feelings…

From the Wikipedia entry on the Seven Deadly Sins:

Envy
Arch in the nave with a gothic fresco from 1511 of a man with a dog-head, which symbolizes envy (Dalbyneder Church (da), Denmark)

Letting Go cover reveal

Published July 18, 2014 by francesothomas

Being an Avon Addict continues to provide lots of opportunities. I was invited to share in the cover reveal for Letting Go. Here’s the blurb:

LETTING GO by Molly McAdams

On-sale 11/4/2014

When Grey and Ben fell in love at thirteen, they believed they’d be together forever. They never dreamed that three days before their wedding, twenty-year-old Ben would suddenly die from an unknown heart condition, destroying his would-be-bride’s world. Grey would have spent the next two years simply going through the motions if it hadn’t been for their best friend, Jagger. He’s the only one who understands her pain … the only one who knows what it’s like to force yourself to keep moving when your dreams are shattered.

While everyone else worries over Grey’s fragility, Jagger is the only one who sees her strength, and vows to always be there for her-even if it’s only as her best friend. As much as he wants Grey, he knows her heart will always be with Ben. But when Grey finds out that Jagger has loved her since before he even knew what love was, it might prove to be too much for her to handle.

Grey soon realizes their chemistry is undeniable, and they learn that admitting their feelings for each other means they’ve got to face the past. Is being together what Ben would have wanted . . . or a betrayal of his memory that will eventually destroy them both?

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Elephantine Publishing short story contest

Published June 21, 2014 by francesothomas

elephantinesymbolNew Adult short story contest ends June 25

Are you an aspiring author? Here’s a chance to get published.

Now through June 25,  submit your 5-10,000 word short story along with a $15 submission fee. Winners will be published in a New Adult anthology due out this fall. All of the information (including FAQs for quick reference) can be found  at http://www.elephantinepublishing.com.

Listening and learning from the best

Published March 15, 2014 by francesothomas

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I had the very great pleasure of hearing Eloisa James and Julia Quinn speak this afternoon at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. The ladies seem to be good friends and have collaborated more than once on books but were quite different from each other.

Julia is the more outgoing of the two. In answering questions from the audience, she generally went first in answering and was careful to repeat the question since those asking didn’t have microphones. Eloisa is slower to answer and a bit more thoughtful as befits her other job as a professor of Shakespeare.

Eloisa’s yet-to-be-officially-released book, Three Weeks with Lady X, was available at the festival, so the romance readers of Fort Myers got a present.

Asked why they began writing, Julia said it was because she loves to read. Eloisa was more practical. She had student loans to pay back and wanted to have a second child. That child, a daughter, is now 15 and into black nail polish. Julia’s 13 year old daughter is “angelic” by caomparison, Eloisa said.

Eloisa said both ladies are rather slow writers and claimed not to be as dsiciplined as she could be. She has been known to take a lengthy time off between books and sometimes even while in the middle of writing a book.

The ladies take a different approach to editing their work. Julia edits as she goes along. She has been with the same publisher and editor since her first book in 1994.

Eloisa says her editor is “intrinsic” to her process. She says editing is painful, but she welcomes it. In fact, she switched editors because her first editor wasn’t editing her enough, she felt. Her current editor recently cut 100 pages from her manuscript in progress.

Another question concerned the inclusion of modern issues such as PTSD or alcoholism in historical settings. Julia, married to an infectious disease specialist, calls herself a science geek. Eloisa tends to incorporate conditions that people she knows personally have grappled with.

The ladies agreed that in order to sell a novel to a NY publishing house, an author must have a literary agent. The exception to that is Harlequin.

Eloisa and Julia were scheduled for only 45 minutes, but those in the audience left wanting more.