July 28, 2010

OMG Stick a Fork in My WIP– It’s Done!

On Monday June 28, I started a test project that didn’t have a title for and the barest of ideas, created mere days before. I decided to write and see what happened. What happened is short of amazing, to me anyway. I ended up with a 102,000 word manuscript that not only had a plot, but two subplots, all well woven in a funny, sentimental and thrilling mystery with twists and turns my alpha readers never saw coming. Some I didn’t even see myself until I wrote them. What I experienced the last 30 days is nothing short of magical. I never forced it, rarely planned much, had a general idea of where things were going (knew the mystery and details in my head, let them come out where necessary) and just let it go. I sat down and the words FLEW out of my fingers. And I never had more fun writing. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, 102,000 words in thirty days? That must be a lot of CRAP!” But at least six hours a day of those thirty days, if not more (probably twelve on Saturday when you take into account I wrote until 4 a.m.), […]
July 28, 2010

The Blessing (and the Curse) of the Alpha Reader

Hi, I’m Denise and I use alpha readers. Now some of you are saying “What? What is she talking about? WTF is an alpha reader?” and others are now looking down your nose with contempt. No real writer uses alpha readers. And a few of you, some who are too ashamed to admit it, are nodding your head and whispering “I do too.” What is an alpha reader? An alpha reader is a person who reads your book while it’s in first draft. Okay, I’m going to let a few of you get yourselves back together before I continue on, because some of you would rather face a firing squad than show people your first draft. And guess what? That’s okay. Just like some people use detailed outlines, snowflake methods, or whatever else people use to intricately plot out their books, others just “pants” it and go. I fall somewhere in the middle, which if I had to guess, I think most writers do too. If someone tried to force me to use an an outline you would find me laying on the floor next to my computer throwing a temper tantrum in frustration. The rigidness of an outline is […]
July 18, 2010

Wordle of Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes first draft is halfway complete at 46,000 words in only 20 days! (And 5 of those days I didn’t write!!!) To celebrate I created a Wordle! You plug in your manuscript and it prints out your most used words, biggest to smallest. I’m not sure how helpful it actually is, but is sure is pretty! I am LOVING my exclamation point tonight!!! Yeah, my trim job sucks. Deal.
July 7, 2010

Something New

I have started a new project. Hot on the heels of the rejection of my full of CHOSEN, and facing the possibility that CHOSEN might be unsellable in the current market, I thought it best to stop writing the sequel and start something new. Its a daunting task, starting something new. For one thing, you need an idea. Lots of authors keep notebooks and scraps of papers filled with potential story ideas. I don’t. Maybe its because I can only let my mind loose on one idea at a time, although its safe to say I currently have three WIPs in various states of progress, so maybe that *law* doesn’t apply to me anymore. ANYWAY, I was about 33K into the sequel to CHOSEN when I got that rejection and honestly, I was floundering a bit, unsure I was taking it in the right direction. So I decided what I really needed was a fresh start. Something new. This was on a Saturday night, June 26. I. Had. Nothing. Although on the Thursday before, I had gone to the DMV with my son and mentioned to him that a job working at the DMV would be a cool for main […]
June 26, 2010


A consequence of writing is rejection. It’s part of the game. If you can’t take it, you’ve picked the wrong profession. But the irony is most writers are also insecure. They write their creations and display it for the world, hoping for the best but fearing for the worst. And believe me, now matter what you write, you will get the worst. Rejection lines the path of writing from the beginning of the process with no end in sight. First we face beta readers and critique partners. We take their views and advice and hopefully improve our babies in preparation of the next step: the search for an agent. We deal with rejections to queries; rejections to fulls and partials. Then once we acquire the Holy Grail , an agent, we hope to sell our book to a publisher. But we’re not done. When we hold that precious book in our hands and present it to the world, we deal with reviews. Anyone who has visited Amazon knows they can be scathing for no reason other than they didn’t like the description of the hero’s hair. Every step the ante is raised; the stakes are higher and the fall is […]
June 18, 2010

Who’s to Say if You’re Better Than Me?

Everyone knows critique partners are essential to your literary career. I have been extremely fortunate that I have stumbled upon some wonderful critique partners via Twitter. However, I have dallied with a local critique group. They meet on Friday nights, not the easiest time for me to meet. My teenagers rebel against me squashing their social activities to babysit their younger siblings. Yesterday the group received an email from one of the members, questioning the level of dedication the group had to writing and chastising members for writing different genres, stating that you must master the craft of the genre you write and you can’t do that if you are writing widely different genres. I am a passive person. I detest conflict. I avoid it at all costs. But this email has boiled my blood. So I took my valuable time, that I should spent writing the epiphany I received for current WIP (because according to the email anything not written with publication in mind is wasted time and words), and wrote this lengthy email in response. Yes, I believe I am no longer welcome. ——————————- I’m not really sure how to respond to this email. I think writing, no […]
June 12, 2010

Chosen Query

The time has come, the time that every author looks forward to with great anticipation and also with great dread. It’s time to query. For those of you not familiar with the ins and outs of acquiring a literary agent, an author writes a query letter and sends it out to agents, hoping to grab their attention and make them want to know more. Condensing your 95,000 word book into a few paragraphs is a challenge itself, but then to make it interesting enough that the agent is asking for more– let’s just say it takes more than a few tries. Below is my query for Chosen, in its current state. This is probably Version #5, which is actually a low number for most queries. Now if I can get the courage to send it out into the world and hope SOMEONE likes it. ****************************** Dear Superstar Agent: Everything Emma Thompson owns fits in a suitcase. She moves from one roach infested motel to another, running from the men intent on taking Jake, her five-year-old son who can see the future. She will do anything to protect him, even it means accepting the help of a stranger named Will. Jake […]
July 24, 2017

October Newsletter Poll

Who is your favorite Rose Gardner character? After you vote, post your email address below in the comments. After October 15, we’ll pick a random commenter to win a $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card. Winner will be announced in the November newsletter