27 February 2009
26 February 2009
Since I've always been a temptress of Fate, I have decided to post another part of my baby for public dissection. The venue is Miss Snark's First Victim, and the piece is the last 250 words of a chapter, a "strong chapter ending." I understand that some of you may not like spoilers, and if that's the case, I'll understand you not wanting to pop over there to read and leave comments. But, if you don't have that objection...
Visit my submission (Post 43).
Please also feel free to browse and leave comments for others. I'm sure they'd all appreciate the feedback. That is, after all, why we all submitted.
25 February 2009
18 February 2009
16 February 2009
First, though, here I am. Sam Elliott reduced to stereotypes.
I am so blonde that: I got stabbed in a shoot-out; I put lipstick on my forehead to make up my mind; I told someone to meet me at the corner of 'walk' and 'don't walk'; I tried to put M&Ms in alphabetical order; I tried to drown a fish; they had to burn the school down to get me out of third grade, I tripped over a cordless phone; I took a ruler to bed to see how long I slept; I studied for a blood test... and failed; I thought Boyz II Men was a daycare center; I thought Meow Mix was a record for cats; I thought I needed a ticket to get on Soul Train; and I sold the car for gas money.
[Fiction! Boys II Men was the first CD I owned. I scored very well on my SATs, ACTs, GREs, ABCs (okay, maybe I made that last one up). I graduated Valedictorian of my high school class a year early and with an honors lit degree from a top 50 university.]
As a Southerner/Texan, I'll never say:
- We don't keep firearms in this house.
- You can't feed that to the dog.
- I thought Graceland was tacky.
- No kids in the back of the pick-up, it's not safe.
- Honey, did you mail that donation to Greenpeace?
- We're vegetarians.
- Do you think my hair is too big?
- I'll have grapefruit instead of a bowl of gravy.
- Honey, these bonsai trees need watering?
- Deer heads detract from the decor.
- Spitting is such a nasty habit.
- I just couldn't find a thing at Wal-Mart today.
- Trim the fat off that steak.
- Cappuccino tastes better than espresso.
- The tires on that truck are too big.
- I'll have the arugula and radicchio salad.
- Little Debbie snack cakes have too many fat grams.
- Does the salad bar have bean sprouts?
- I believe you cooked those green beans too long.
- Elvis who?
And as a woman, I: am crazy, like really bad entertainment, don't understand sports, am impractical, want to settle down, and am like the Incredible Hulk while under the influence of PMS.
[Fiction! The voices tell me I'm as sane as the next woman. I only watch Gossip Girl (or GG, as I like to call it) for the great character development and attractive actors. David Beckham's totally hot! My latest shoe purchase was only $75, and they were on sale!! Aww!!!! Babies!!!! WHAT DID YOU JUST CALL ME?!!? That's really mean.... *sniff*]
If you'll excuse me, I need some hot tea to treat this scoffing-induced soar throat of mine and some ibuprofen for the constant eye-rolling.
13 February 2009
Today I thought I'd share a little about myself. You see, the entry form asked that we include biographical information with our entry. I believe that the information is intended for use with our excerpts on Amazon.com, should we get that far. But I could be wrong.
I know, I know. Yes, it does happen occasionally.
Anyway, for your reading pleasure, I give you...my bio (plus the added bonus of personal anecdotes and local interst).
By the way...you'll get to see my book's description when it's posted on Amazon, or here if I don't make it past Round 1. Let's all be selfless and pray for the former, okay?
I currently work as the office manager/Jill-of-all-trades at a small, woman-owned PR firm just outside of Washington, DC. My position there allows me to listen and learn and experience as many varied peoples, places and things as possible--as have every opportunity in my life. My aim is to soak up as much of our world and this life as is possible and then to use my creativity and education to share it with others in the most unexpected and entertaining ways imaginable.
Despite my typically elitism-creating degree and the fact that I've been trained to read further beyond the page of any given text than is probably necessary, I adore young adult fiction. I proudly house my YA series on the same shelves as Shakespeare, Bronte, and Steinbeck. I even wrote my senior thesis on Lewis Carroll's Alice stories and managed to convincingly relate them to the theories of Freud, Lacan, and de Man (at least enough to get an A).
I had an amazing teacher in 3rd grade. In addition to my multiplication tables, she taught me taught me to have faith in myself and never think that I was too young or inexperienced to do anything. I firmly believe that children will rise to whatever heights we allow and that their failure is our failure to expect greatness. And that includes YA fiction.
However, I travel as much as possible, and the places I've been are invariably incorporated into the landscapes of the stories I tell. In ANJIDIA, that includes the majestic Redwood Forests (inspiration for the Old One, aka Owan--the wise and mysterious tree Aryli meets soon after her return to Anjidia) and the beautiful, seaside town of Dubrovnik, Croatia (inspiration for the Arymarnia--Aryli's ancestral home and stronghold of Josthene, the murdering usurper).
My writing network (an incredibly helpful group of plot troubleshooters, readers, and editors) consists of respected college friends and acquaintances.
12 February 2009
What's all the fuss about? I created a CreateSpace preview for Chapter One of ANJIDIA. You can read and review it here.
It's a very scary step, having it out there for anyone/everyone to read and say whatever they like about it. It's one thing to hear agents' opinions, it's another to actually be reviewed. But, I decided that if my pitch carries my ABNA entry through to Round Two, my excerpt will be reviewed. I might as well get used to it now.
Here's hoping people don't show me all the ways I could have made it better...now that it's too late for this contest. Then again, advice is advice, right?
Are all things better late than never?
No, seriously, are they?
11 February 2009
Enter your unpublished, English-language, fiction manuscript until 11:59 PM EST February 8, 2009 or until 10,000 entries have been received, whichever comes first. The contest consists of four judging phases by expert reviewers, publishing professionals, and Amazon.com customers. The winner will be announced on May 22, 2009.
Initial Round: Expert reviewers from Amazon select 2,000 submissions from the 10,000 initial entries based each novel's "pitch." The 2,000 entries are then rated and receive two excerpt reviews from Amazon Editors and Amazon Vine Reviewers.
The field narrows to 500 entries...
Quarterfinals: Excerpts of the 500 are displayed on Amazon.com along with the reviews from the previous judging round. Publisher's Weekly now reads, rates, and reviews the 500 remaining full manuscripts.
The field narrows to 100...
Semifinals: Penguin Group (USA) reads and ranks the 100 semifinalists, taking into consideration the reviews from the two previous judging rounds.
Penguin chooses three novels to move to the final round of judging...
Finals: The three remaining manuscripts receive reviews from industry experts, including authors Sue Grafton and Sue Monk Kidd. Amazon.com customers select the Grand Prize Winner for 2009.
Well, considering that right now some reviewers could be reading my pitch after finding out about the death of loved ones or breaking up with their significant others...or being drunk out of their minds, I thought I'd share my pitch with you.
If nothing else, this will have come out of the contest. Uh, maybe I'm the one who needs the drink. Excuse me.
By blending the rich world-building of high fantasy with the edgy chick lit voice of its protagonist (seventeen-year-old Aryli), ANJIDIA modernizes the "hero[ine]'s quest" and makes it accessible to gossip girls and magic-obsessed muggles alike. It is coming-of-age, thriller, adventure, romance, and fairy tale all in one uniquely contemporary mythical journey.
There may be a smart-mouthed phoenix that cries healing tears, but she also acts as Aryli's metaphorical spirit guide and, when needed, as her "reality check" giver. There may be talking dragons that breathe fire, but they also discuss politics and make great personal sacrifices to support Aryli. And Aryli may fit the mold of a flawed, journeying heroine trying to win back her throne, but she also relates her story, her flaws, and her pain in a raw and accessible way unlike any other. And then there's the fact that she's literally incapable of harming any other living being, can talk to trees, ages years in mere days...
In this "golden age" of YA literature, teens are a consumer force to be reckoned with. The creation, and success, of imprints like Razorbill Books and HarperTEEN attests to that. But gone are the days of short, formulaic novels that underestimate readers.
Today's YA fans crave originality and savvy; think OCTAVIAN NOTHING: TRAITOR TO THE NATION and CRANK. They want stories that reflect their struggles (finding the right clique, figuring out who they are, and just trying to make it to graduation). But they long for stories that temper that reflection. ANJIDIA does just that through high fantasy and the struggles of Aryli (deciding if it's better to trust the inexplicably helpful man working for the enemy or the resentful fairy-tale creatures joining your cause, having total amnesia, and literally trying to save the world).