Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Query Update


 Well, your lovely blogger has returned yet again!

*Woof* There was corn everywhere...and I do mean everywhere! Our garden has started producing and corn and green beans have been coming in little by little until today the corn just EXPLODED and we ended up with corn all over the place. Well, to be clear, the corn silk was everywhere. On my clothes, the floor, in the sink--I even found some in my hair! How did that happen? Also, nothing is more fun than having a piece of silk fall on your bare arm and--believing it is a spider--having a crazy freak out dance in the middle of the kitchen while your family watches on with concerned faces. :) Heh, yea, I'm an interesting kitchen mate. 

Ever since we got a garden, I have never looked at popcorn the same way. 

Well enough about that, this is a entitled a 'Query Update' not 'A Garden Trauma Update'. 

Remember in my last post I said that I had found a whole list of agents to query? Well, I've been busy since then. I cannot say who I've queried unless the query police come in the middle of the night and cart me off to a secret prison! However, I can at least say that I'm very excited about these agencies! :D I won't hear back from them for probably a month or so, but I'm hoping for the best. People really like both agencies, and say they are very polite and professional! It's so important and wonderful to find places like that! 

I'm starting to get over my anxieties about sending in queries, I think that comes simply from practice, but it has helped to speed up my work. 

I really feel that fear was holding me back in that area, telling me over and over again that I wasn't doing something right--even though I had done the absolute best I could do and had been over my work a dozen times. Something that wasn't grounded in reality kept worrying over whether or not my wording was right or whether this particular agency was a good agency. Note: always check out agencies before you send to them. Just make sure that you have something they want and that they are a real agency and all. 

Anyway, to be fair, I wasn't experienced in writing query letters at first (no writer really is at the very beginning), but I was over stressing. 


However, after doing some more reading in my Bible, I began to realize that my fear wasn't grounded in reality. I was nervous and anxious over nothing but early query jitters! It was a huge relief to realize that! 
I began to understand that doing the absolute best I could do, and leaving the rest up to God (not an easy task for a control freak such as myself) was enough! 

Today I've already investigated an agency and sent out a query to an agent I really like! :D Granted, they may or may not accept me or ask for further material--but these are steps in the right direction! :D 

In further news, I have been reviewing my book again and I'm about to burst at the seems with excitement! To put it simply...I want to write the sequel...NOW! I've already written drafts of the second and third books--but now I want to write more of the second! My characters are feeling neglected! However, I still feel I should continue to query as much as possible. I'm still working on it, but I'm trying to devote most of my time to querying--however long that may take. 

I'm pretty sure that my friends and family on Facebook and so on are getting tired of me flooding their feed with dozens of 'just sent in another query letter!' posts! Updates are important in this field, but that doesn't mean they can sometimes be annoying! 


Before being covered in corn, I managed to have a nice long chat with my friend James from over at JandJProductions. We haven't seen each other in a while due to our now busy schedules, so it was really nice to get to talk for a while over the phone! We must have talked for an hour or so about various movies, TV shows, books and fandoms! Sheer bliss to be around someone who shares your interests! 

Our main topic of conversation seemed to be LOTRs....naturally! :)


Well, I'd better get back to sending out query letters!

Don't forget, the 'Book of the Month' will be tomorrow and the 'Lend Your Name Giveaway' winner will be announced on July 27th! 

I am really happy to see all of the giveaway entries, it's so exciting to get to meet so many new people, as well as have fun with old friends! A big thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word! You are all amazing! 

Sincerely, 

Rebecca
  


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Day Thus Far



As usual, I'm not much for posting personal notes anymore--at least, not on this blog. However, I felt like a little posting today, so here goes. 

I spent the better part of my weekend searching out agents in the Writer's Market and found quite a few eligible peeps. Just so you know, it's very hard to find and agent who will represent both YA and Science Fiction. Most want one or the other--not both. After scouring a seemingly endless list until my eyeballs wanted to fall out and roll under our sofa and enter into the vast sea of dust bunny land, I managed to cobble together a nice list that should hold me over for a while. I will still have to investigate these agents and see if they are the type of agent that I want. Of course, after I find a few I want to query I have to actually write a query according to their guidelines (which usually ends with me irritated and moody) and then actually send it in...and then I hyperventilate and pass out on my bed from absolute panic. But of course, the next day I am always fine and I end up doing the same routine over again. Although, just between us, my terrible procrastination is getting in the way. :(

But today I took a little break from both my diet, exercise regime and work to spend time with my lovely friend Jessie! However, both of us were incredibly tired. She had stayed up until twelve o'clock reading and I had stayed up watching TV. Normally, I am not a TV person...sorry just not...but that was until I found all of the old Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies on YouTube. 

Yes, I'm a nostalgia nerd. I told my brother about it (I was very excited) and he responded with an 'Oh Lord'. He knows what I'm like when I watch those movies...imagine crazed fan girl who just found out the Doctor's name mixed with a rabid   
flying squirrel. Oh yea...it's that bad! 



Any who, I stayed up until my eyes hurt from the awesomeness of Basil Rathbone and I fell asleep with the computer still going...at one o'clock in the morning! Then, at three in the morning I was awakened by something falling in my room. At first I panicked, remembering that I had forgot to return my computer to the desk, but much to my relief I discovered my computer snoozing peacefully at my feet. So what had fallen? I turned on my light and scoured my room for twenty minutes (closet included); I couldn't find anything! So that meant the only possibility was that whatever had been rummaging around in my room was living...and that it had probably scurried somewhere safe when I turned on the light. Creeped out was an understatement. But I was so tired that I just crawled back into bed...and forgot to turn out the light! GAH! Four hours later I was tired, hungry and had a splitting headache. 

I proceeded with my morning regime of reading my Bible and then checking up on all of my social media outlets (trying to do better with this). Sadly, my Internet kept going out. Fortunately it's not my computer's problem. It's just the fragile state that our Internet has been in ever since we had a really bad thunder storm about a week ago. The problem flares up every now and again.

So after a while of trying to negotiate with it...I decided to let it rest. 
Spock was kind enough to deal with it for me while I got a shower.

Isn't this just an awesome  GIF? Friend of mine found it and shared it! Thanks a heap! :D 

At least Jessie was still coming out and I was very excited about that! But by the time she arrived we were both about ready to pass out, so we spent the day watching girly shows on the sofa. Life was good 

We also made pizza, and it turned out pretty good--a great feat considering the fact that I don't cook. Yes, you heard me. I can do the laundry, clean any part of the house, watch the kids, milk the goats, work in the garden, and have no fear of mowing the lawn--but cooking is awful. It's tedious for me and requires one to follow a strict set of rules. I don't do rules; therefore, I don't cook. 

But we made homemade pizza and didn't catch the house on fire or create a poisonous meal. So all in all we were good. Then we went back to the sofa and I broke my diet by eating a Weight Watcher's ice cream sandwich and drinking a Mountain Dew. Sometimes you need chemicals over calories. 

The rest of the day was spent in relaxation while I pondered the many agencies I now had at my pestering disposal. Just for the record: they really aren't kidding when they say that agencies all want different things! 0_0 

I also managed to email some more chapters to my test readers. So far, good reviews with very few mistakes on my part! :) I just hope an agent will feel the same way! To answer your question, yes I'm usually working on something--be it school, exercise or writing. Usually writing (except during the first and last part of a semester...then it's school). I'm a bit of a project and goal oriented person, despite my terrible procrastination. 

But in a nutshell that's been my day. Rather a long and rambling post about it yes--but I felt that I needed to write something or I'd explode. So here's the result of a brain over flow: A rambling, almost pointless post that's probably filled with writing and grammar mistakes! Oh well, small price to pay to let out some of the creative steam.


Just a reminder: The giveaway lasts until July 25th and the link to the post is on the sidebar! If you want to enter please leave a comment on that post! So happy to see so many entries! I can hardly wait to see who wins! :D 

Sincerely,

Rebecca






 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lend Your Name Giveaway!


Well, as of this month, it has been exactly one year since I began writing my novel, Code. A lot has changed since June 2012, and eight drafts later, Code is being pushed towards publication! To celebrate this momentous occasion, I have decided to do a month long giveaway!

As all writers are aware, creating characters is an intense, yet greatly rewarding, process. A huge amount of detail and work goes into creating even the tiniest of roles. But don't get me wrong, it's a fun job as well! 
Which leads me to my point. 

Just me is having a 'Lend Your Name Giveaway' to help inspire a new character for Code's sequel (name to be revealed later this year!). In this giveaway, a contestant will be chosen at random to have his or her first name put in the book! But it goes beyond that! They will also be able to decide whether their character is good or bad, what military rank they are (this character will be military understand) and whether or not they live or die in the series!

This giveaway will run from June 24th to July 25th. The winner will be announced on July 31st. I will continually post notices about the contest so any late entries can be made! I'm working on getting an automatic raffle thing up, but right now the darn thing isn't working. :( 
Anyway, if you would like to enter, please leave a comment below and answer the following questions for your shot at inspiring a character in the new book!


1) What's Your First Name?
Just your first name, I will make something up for your last name if I need to. And yes, if you're a girl the character will be a girl and if you're a boy the character will be a boy.

2) What Side is This Character On?

Here are the two sides: 

On the good side is a rough and tough colonel who doesn't always play by the rules, but who has a good heart and fights for freedom and equality. He's rugged, loud, brash and boldly heroic.

On the bad side is a tortured and angry soul who's goal is to rule over the world through anarchy and prejudices against others. He's scarred, cunning, cruel, and habitually uses others to get what he wants.

3) What is Their Military Rank?

Since this book is composed of mainly military characters, you will be able to choose this character's rank. You can go all the way up to general if you like, it's fine with me! 

4) Do They Live or Die? 

The million dollar question! Note, if you choose death, you won't be able to choose how they die, simply because I alone know when and where they could die, but if you want them to die then say so! Either way it really doesn't matter to me. So go on, channel your inner Steven Moffat! 

Also, for legalities sake, I must say this: NOTE, by entering this contest you are giving me legal right to use your first name and any suggestions about this character. Please understand that you do not own this character I do. Don't worry, I'm not going to make them do anything disgusting, but I just want everyone to understand this up front so there are no issues later. Also, please don't use the name of anyone in your own work (stories, poems, movies, ect) when entering your first name. Just use your real first name. :)

Again, this will be completely at random, so don't worry about someone getting special treatment! If you want to change your answers later, then comment again and let me know! I will continually post about this contest throughout its duration, just so everyone knows about it and has a chance to enter! If you know anyone who would like to enter, then give them a shout out! 
Also, feel free to share this post, link back to it, or forward it to someone else! This is a giveaway! It's meant to be shared and enjoyed! 

If you have any questions or concerns, please comment and I will answer you as soon as I can! 

Thanks so much and I hope you all have fun! 

Sincerely, 

Rebecca





  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Newest Editions

That's not my normal bedspread there, actually it is a quilt my grandmother made me when I was younger. I'm just using it until my other one is out of the wash.


It's a known fact that I am a lover of books, okay...more of a psychotic, obsessive; over protective lover of books. 

My holy land is Barnes Noble, but I will settle for a good bookstore with helpful service! Recently, however, I was able to make a pilgrimage to my holy land, and needless to say, I went bonkers! 

  I abandoned all notions of not buying any new books--even though my bookshelf is already overstuffed as it is--and used up all but five dollars of my hard earned money to purchase several of the above. 

My finds at Barnes and Noble are: Ender's Game and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Official Movie Guide. This in and of itself was a rare find! The original asking price was fifteen dollars but I snagged it for five! Big change there! I was extremely excited, and it was only my first find of the day! I also got a brand new book bag with the cover of To Kill a Mockingbird on it as well as something that will make all Harry Potter fans scream. I bought a golden snitch! Afraid I don't have pictures of it now, but I bought one and it's actually the correct size...I was surprised! 

Anyway, the other books came from a montage of different sources. City of Ashes is the second book in the Mortal Instruments Series and is a library book that I'm nearly done with. The last two Harry Potter books came from a used bookstore along with Beautiful Darkness, the second book in the Beautiful Creatures Series, and The Great Gatsby (which I have finished). The Harbinger is on lone from my mom, though just between us I'm going to try and keep it! Heheheheh. 

My poor bookshelf is really over burdened now, but it will (hopefully) survive. After all, with a new bookstore only fifteen minutes from my house, it will probably have a lot more weight added to it as the weeks go by! 

I'm hoping to do some more reviews based off of these books in the coming weeks. Also, I'm looking for suggestions as to book series. Usually, I'm very picky about what books I read and don't buy or rent a book unless a friend recommended it, I don't like wasting my time or money on lousy books. So if you have a series you think is good, let me know! Like I said, I'm open to a few pointers! :D 

Thanks for reading.


Rebecca 


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Newest Baby


Our newest farm animal has arrived! Meet Lucy, our new baby calf who was born this past week. Her mom, Beulah has been as cantankerous as ever now that her new baby has arrived; we really haven't been able to get close to her. However, yesterday my mom snagged this pick with her new (and really awesome) camera!    
I know this is a blog about writing, but who wouldn't want to see a cute calf every now and again! 
So here she is, cute and precious! 

Sincerely, 

Rebecca

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book of the Month: The Great Gatsby


Hello all! I've decided that on the first of each month, I will review a book and call it 'The Book of the Month'. Yes, I know that this is hardly the first of the month, but better late than never. June's Book of the Month is, as you have probably guessed, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Plot: 

Set in the midst of the roaring twenties, when the morals were looser and the liquor was cheaper, The Great Gatsby tells the story of an eccentric; mysterious millionaire named Jay Gatsby. His neighbor, a humble bonds clerk, Nick Carraway, recounts the story.

Nick has just recently moved East and takes up lodgings in Long Island on the island of West Egg. His cousin, Daisy Buchanan lives directly across from him on the much more 'fashionable' island of East Egg with her husband, millionaire, and former football star and polo enthusiast, Tom Buchanan--a cruel looking, husky man who hides a deep secret. Nick is invited over for dinner at the Buchanan estate one day and while there  he meets a young, female golf champion named Jordan Baker, who tells Nick that Tom is having an affair with some woman in New York--a fact that they all believe the frail looking Daisy is unaware of.

A few days later, Nick is approached by Tom who wants to take him to New York to 'meet his girl'. Nick refuses, but Tom's forceful personality wins and Nick accompanies him to the seedier side of New York where they meet Myrtle Wilson, the wife of a simple mechanic, George Wilson, who Tom views as very dumb and uncultured. 

Tom helps Myrtle sneak to New York to meet him in the city at their apartment. Afterwards, a small party is arranged where Myrtle, angry and drunk confronts Tom about Daisy, whereas Tom breaks her nose and Nick returns silently to his lodgings on West Egg. 

During the next few days, Nick learns more and more about his neighbor, Jay Gatsby, from his new found friends.

Gatsby is the mystery man of Long Island who is not only rumored to have killed a man, but who also throws lavish, beyond the imagination parties at his large estate on the island of West Egg. However, despite the fact that there is a party every night, no one claims to have ever seen or met Gatsby, that is, until Nick is formally invited to one of the parties, even though all the others who attend are not--in the words of Jordan Baker 

"People aren't invited to Gatsby's, they just show up"

Instantly Nick is introduced into the fine world of the rich of New York, and begins to become fascinated by the legend surrounding his host. Some claim that he comes from Oxford, while others insist he was a spy for the Germans during World War One. Nick puts very little stock in the rumors, and wants to seek out Gatsby  personally, but his goal is accomplished more easily than he thought when Gatsby himself appears at Nick's table and introduces himself. 

The two begin to become friends, more on Gatsby's part than the reluctant and curious Nick's. Gatsby tells Nick of his stay at Oxford college, of his fine service during the war and how he inherited his fortune from his now dead relatives. His stories weave together beautifully, but Nick still feels that Gatsby is lying. 

As they spend more and more time together, Gatsby introducing Nick to the wonders of the upper class world, he begins to inquire more and more about Nick's cousin Daisy Buchanan. Eventually Gatsby wishes for Nick to invite Daisy to tea at his cottage, where Gatsby will just happen to stop by for a visit. Nervous about this plan, Nick tells it to Jordan Baker who says to arrange it just as Gatsby planned, believing that Gatsby is secretly in love with Daisy, and that all of his lavish parties were designed to attract her attention. 

Nick is reluctant to go ahead with the plan, but in the end agrees. The plan goes without problem, until both Daisy and Gatsby become nervous and embarrassed about meeting one another again. Nick then learns that Gatsby had once been desperately in love with Daisy before the war, and that when he did not return from combat in time, she married Tom whom, Gatsby believes, she does not love. 

Despite her marriage, the two begin an affair that ultimately pulls all of them to the very brink of destruction. With the clock ticking, Nick learns that all secrets eventually come to light, and that one can never full shake the ways of a past life. 


Characters: 



Jay Gatsby: 

"No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart." 
-Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby

Charming, larger than life and an idealistic romantic who can buy anything he wants, Jay Gatsby embodies the ideal man of the 1920's with his lavish parties and fancy clothes, but his inability to release the past holds him in a tight grip. Gatsby has a dream, and always has since he was a child, a dream of a better life and ultimate acceptance into a world that he was not born into. His life's purpose is to prove to Daisy that he is worthy of her affections and that his tragic loss of her nearly ten years before can be undone. 

Gatsby represents idealism at its highest, but underneath it all lies a deep grief of losing the woman he loved. 


Daisy Buchanan: 

"I hope she'll be a fool. That's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." 
-Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsby


Life for Daisy is a jolly game filled with pretty things and lovely parties. However, this life of selfishness and protection has left her completely incapable of handling reality, as shown when Jay Gatsby--her former lover--re-enters her life with plans of winning back her heart. 

Daisy models one of the two typical types of woman in the 1920's. Selfish, flighty, fragile and almost completely thoughtless, Daisy moves through life without pause or reflection. She's a woman who doesn't fully know what she wants out of life, and therefore allows herself to be pulled in all directions. Abusing the love of Jay Gatsby on more than one occasion and tolerating the undeceive love of her husband, Tom, Daisy has two roads before her, and walks with a foot in each one--not caring what havoc and destruction she brings in her wake. 



"Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

-Nick Carraway (quoting his father), The Great Gatsby

Nick is an idealist, but still hast more realism in his veins than Jay Gatsby. Having fought and survived World War One and now moving into the bonds business, Nick is a comfortable old shoe who has never been involved in the life of the rich. His view of the night life of New York is one of complete wonder, like a child gazing into a candy store window. He sees his new world as jolly and carefree, but upon diving deeper begins to understand the terrible price that it carries. 

Nick is sensible, intelligent, slightly awkward and very loyal and plays the best friend of the story while narrating the marvelous tale of his new found friend Gatsby. 



"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."

-Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby

Tom is an angry, mistrusting and sometimes brutal man who hides a terrible secret. Using his vast wealth to woo and charm the seductive Myrtle Wilson, while simultaneously declaring a deep love of his wife Daisy, Tom is a man who--like his wife--walks to roads and brings destruction and heartbreak with him. He lives a life of getting what he wants and when, and has always fixed whatever problems arose with a few subtly dropped bundles of cash. 

Tom is the typical, new found millionaire who enjoys his money yet still does not fully appreciate, or understand, the cultured world. 

Clumsy, arrogant, brutal, and selfish, Tom features as both an antagonist and a tragically lost soul.




Myrtle Wilson

"She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can."

-Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby

Myrtle Wilson, like Tom is selfish and very cruel. She uses her beauty to not only inspire lovers, but also pity at the fact that she is tied to a very common mechanic. However, despite her desperate attempt to look and sound more like an upper class woman, Myrtle is, at her core, a very common and unattractive woman who betrays the trust of her husband for brief glimpses into the life of the rich.



Jordan Baker:

"You said a bad driver was only safe until sheet another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn't I? I mean, it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride." 

-Jordan Baker, The Great Gatsby


Jordan represents the second stereotypical woman of the 1920's. Beautiful, determined, career orientated, yet still very self centered and demanding. Jordan has a lot more in common with the modern woman of today than any of the other women in the story, yet tragically she too falls victim to the loose moral code of her world and allows herself to aid in the destruction of another.






Thoughts: 

I really enjoyed the book and spent most of my weekend reading it. I have yet to see the movie (I know, it's biggest movie of the summer and I have yet to see it.) but just based off of what I have seen, I know it's going to be really good! In fact, let's just stop right here to talk about the above pictures! 

What caught me as I was putting the character pictures up, was their eyes and how beautifully they express the character within! Gatsby's eyes are determined; on a mission to bring his ultimate dream to life. Daisy's are wide, soft, and confused, perfectly expressing her state of mind during the story. Nick's are filled with endless, hopeful wonder while Tom's are stern, cruel looking and defensive. Myrtle's conveys the seductive nature of her personality while Jordan's are careless and faintly happy. It's really quite interesting to see those details in the characters! 

I have, however, heard a lot of guff from people about the story, and a particularly lot of hate towards the characters. It irritates me now to hear these things because I can't help but feel that sometimes people don't fully understand the meaning and message behind the madness. 

You were not supposed to like the characters. There, I said it. The characters in The Great Gatsby were supposed to convey the careless and utterly selfish lifestyle and mood of the 1920's. To understand the people and the story you must first understand the time in which it was set; I cannot state this enough. 

Now granted... I didn't like any of them either but that was the way it was supposed to be. Daisy was supposed to be horrible, Jay was supposed to be a bit crazy and Tom was supposed to be cruel. Everyone in this story was made the way they were for a reason, and that reason was to tell the tragic fall of Jay Gatsby by the loosened morals and wild lifestyle of those around him. 


Also, F. Scott Fitzgerald left the reader with the message that Daisy, Jay, Tom, Nick and all the others were Westerners who failed to adapt to the standards and lifestyle of the East. Basically they were fish out of water, so when something went wrong they handled it in the way that felt natural to them, the way of the West. It think this was also further demonstrated by Fitzgerald's use of the islands East Egg and West Egg. The East Egg was more fashionable, like the East while the West Egg was not. Daisy and Tom had almost adapted to the Eastern way of life, and lived on the more fashionable end. Jay however, was stuck on West Egg, not only illustrating the fact that he could never fully make it to what he wanted, but also tying his desire for the 'better world' with his desire for Daisy. He came from the West, and felt trapped by it. He had Daisy, but lost her in the past and felt trapped by that as well. Jay was a man who could never fully reach what he wanted, but never the less spent his whole life trying to get back what he had lost.

Yet, despite their flaws, Daisy and Gatsby will go down as a pair of the most tragically torn lovers in all of history.  


As a whole, however, I really enjoyed the book! It was very well written and a pleasure to read; I would definitely recommend this one. The style was stunning and gripping; holding readers tightly as the world of Fitzgerald's creation unfolded before them. This is a magically crafted piece of literature that I will read again and again.





Next month's Book of the Month review will appear on July 1st. Until then, what are your thoughts on The Great Gatsby? Please comment and share your favorite moments, quotes are whatever thoughts you may have. 


Thanks for reading! 

Sincerely,

Rebecca



Saturday, June 15, 2013

What Do You Think About Giveaways?



I'm thinking about having a few giveaways this summer, I won't say what they are right now as I want to keep them a surprise. What I want to know is if anyone would like me to start doing giveaways? Would anyone participate? I'd love to know so I can go ahead and start them! :D If you have any comments leave them below or visit the poll on the sidebar!

Thanks!

Rebecca



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug | official Trailer US / CZ (2013) Pet...




Oh my gosh it's finally here! :D I thought it might come in June sometime! Still looks like a lot of CGI though, oh well, it will still be good! :D

The First Letter Flaps Away


I have finally launched the first query letter out into the world! It's a truly thrilling moment, however delayed it might have been!

You see, my mother hasn't felt well for the last week (she's doing SO much better now! :D) so I tried to help out as much as I could, and that put query letters at the back of my mind. But now that she's feeling better I was able to piece together a query and send it to an agency last night! SO HAPPY! :D 

Of course, I know, that I probably won't be accepted by this one--but all the same it's thrilling to take an official step! :D I've already got several other agency's to query to, and hopefully I will get to do that this week! 

It takes a LONG time, however, to do a query letter because each agency is different--and I am bad (I mean BAD) about procrastination! Also, I don't like sending my baby out into the world just yet. I sometimes feel like an overprotective mother bird, sitting angrily on top of her baby; dreaming of the day when it will take flight--but all the while being too afraid to let it out of the nest for fear it might fall. 

That's why I had to keep repeating 'Flap little birdy FLAP!' over and over and over again to myself as I went over the query letter and sample 2,500 words for the hundredth time. And now the birdy is off flapping to scope out a possible nesting ground. It's junior's first time out so he's probably going to come back home within a month, but hey--least he's flapping.

A huge thanks to both my family and my friend Hannah for so graciously helping me with the first query! You are the best!

As of right now, I'm scoping out other agency's to query to (I already had a bunch, I'm just looking for their guidelines!) Most want at least two to three chapters--which is the problem. I've already gone over them again and again, but I still worry that they need more work. That's where my test readers come in! Thank heaven for friends and family who will help with editing! :D 


Also, I am (hopefully) going to go to a bookstore this afternoon! My mother found this really cute little used bookstore that not only has a wide array of books, but also has a thing for self-published authors and a writing club that meets once a month! 0_0 Sounds like the bookstore of my dreams! Oh, and did I mention that it's close by? :D I'll let you know about how it all pans out!


But please pray for favor with the agency's and that God will guide me to the right one! 

Thanks so much to my faithful readers! You are amazing! 

Sincerely,

Rebecca


Monday, June 10, 2013

Interview with Kaitlin



Hello readers, it's time for another interview here on Just me: Writing Edition! This time we are talking to Kaitlin from The Mistiness Of the Future-Actor, Writer, Dreamer about her exciting new book series! Geared towards teenage readers and filled with sci-fi; futuristic and a dash of fantasy, this story is sure to captivate!

Thank you to Kaitlin for allowing me to interview her about her book! 



1)What is your book about?
Oh gosh...this is a hard question. ^-^' Okay, without giving too much away, this is basically it: In the near future, AFTER a devastating war, a teenage girl is growing up in the after effects (although, they aren't as bleak as it might sound after a war).  Things have pretty much gone back to normal...or so everyone thinks. The main character goes on a normal business trip with her mother and best friend (because she has too)However, when they get to their destination, the main character starts noticing things are getting very weird around her. So instead of listening to her mother, she goes against all reason to find out who is trying to take control of the world and stop her world from collapsing around her. She finds that large corporations have started planting seeds of disruption to uproot the peace. But to match the growing threat, she slowly notices that she has powers. She is unsure if they are like superhero powers, or something...more. (DUN DUN DUN!!) :P (Sorry I couldn't help it.) Anyway, that is just book one. Over all, the story is about her finding out more about herself, and not being afraid to help everyone. She isn't like all heroes who just accept their job and save the world; she is scared.  On the way, she meets a certain group of people and she asks them to help. (I can't say who they are just yet.) The story progresses through other plot lines and weave into time and space. Literally! ;) She finally meets the antagonist of the first four books. The crossing of paths scars her permanently, and that sets the next four books in motion, where she accidentally lets the true villain on the loose. (That's all I can say without giving away the whole plot. :P )
Anyway, this is basically a story of finding what you are looking for, who you are, as well as your place in the world, and that you are allowed to love even if you don't feel worthy. <3 ^-^  (I'm not that good at descriptions. Sorry!)


2) Who are your main characters?
(Does that mean personality?) Again, since I don't want to reveal the name just yet, let's call her "M". :) M is the protagonist of this story. (She starts out turning 14 in the second chapter, and progresses to be 17 in the last book.) She is basically an average person, though she can be quite apathetic. Her emotions fluctuate at random times, she is an introvert, she loathes violence, she gets freaked out easily, she shies away from attention, she's curious, gets embarrassed easily, she believes she is to blame for everything, and she thinks she has to fix every problem herself. She doesn't exactly realize it, but she is mentally damaged to some extent. Most everyone is.

The next character is "E". She is M's best friend. (She begins being 13 and ends up 16 in the final installment.) Her personality is: outgoing, crafty, teasing, violent, energetic, tomboyish, hungry(always), commanding, demanding, and caring.

The next two characters aren't really main characters, or villains, but they play an important part in this story, so I'll mention them here.  There is the boy: "N". And the girl "C". N is an older teenager(19). He has a artificial outer personality to which he uses when he is around the protagonist, which leads her to believe he has some secret. Since he is so closemouthed, his true personality is a mystery. C is his girlfriend. She is bubbly, kind, supportive, and friendly. Though she seems like a ditz, there is more to her than it seems.


There is also another character I will call "D" (age 15). He doesn't appear til book 2. He is a main character, who might be even more important than the M. The choices he makes change everything. :) He is tied to every character in my book, (big or small) and is one of the most important gears in this story. I will try to explain his personality, but it is hard because he is sort of a mystery wrapped in a enigma. :P He is intense yet calm, strategic, pacifist, cool and calculating, oddly good at many things, trained in fighting for one reason or another, kind, protective, he is not easy to anger, and strangely happy/sad. (My sister and I like him the best out of all the characters. :P So I would suppose you will too! :D Though for me personally, it's a tie between D and M. ^-^ And don't worry!!! He is NOT a Mary-Sue. And not cliched. ^-^ )


3) Who is your villain?
(I can't really answer this since the villain does not appear until a later book, but I'll try my best to describe him.)  We'll call him "Z". No one knows his exact age, though he looks like he's in his very early twenties. One basic way to describe him is: an oxymoron who is a bit crazy. (More of insane, actually.) Though he is also: very cold, quite creepy, likes elegance, a captivating person, commanding, and loves to play with everyone as if they were a bunch of pieces on a chess board. He thinks of everything as a game. He is one of the....more "interesting" characters in my entire story. I find him quite enigmatic. (That's all I can say for now.)

There are four other villains who aren't as big/evil as Z. First is "G". She is a calculating woman who wants nothing more than power, and she is almost void of emotion except anger, triumph, and pride.

Second is another "C" But I'll call this one "CV" because he is a villain.  CV is a team member along with "S" who work for "G". CV is closed off from the world, and only follows orders without protest. "S" is a crazy, violent, hot headed, and mentally hurt girl. She and CV are both a good team, but they don't know how to do anything but work for G. And they have many run-ins with M throughout the course of the story.

Lastly is "B". He is my least developed character, though I can say he is greedy, selfish, power hungry, and a sociopath. He appears in book 1 and is the antagonist.


4) What genre does your book fit into?
Wow. This is even harder than the first question! :P Okay, well it is sort of this: a futuristic, low fantasy, sci-fi. Though the sci-fi elements don't exactly appear til later books.  And I would find it nice to know some other books in this field, because I've never read one like mine. :)
One other thing: IT IS NOT A DYSTOPIAN!!! More of a post ALMOST dystopian. ;)



5) What age range of readers are you trying to reach?
Teens. Or anyone who wants to read it, though preferably 14 and up, because I can't be responsible if people don't like mild language. And it is necessary, because I don't think if you were getting attacked you would go and give your attacker a daisy, now would you? (Lol! :P) You might say something in the spur of the moment; I'm just trying to be realistic even though I don't like cussing. ^-^ But there isn't much, luckily.


6) What style is your book written in? Is it first person? Is it third?
Humorous, soft, warm and cold, emotional, creative, and oddly innocent. ^-^'' Hopefully I'm describing it correctly.
It is in first person. Originally, I had it in 3rd, but it just didn't sound right. It was like I couldn't convey my character's thoughts and feelings the way it was then. So I switched over to 1st and it felt so much more realistic!


7) Is this a single book or a series?
A series.  There is four books, a break and then another four. :) So eight in all.


8) What are your goals for this book(s)? Is it just for fun or is it for publication?
PUBLICATION!!!! :D I want people to read it. I think it would be amazing to go and look in a library or bookstore to see my OWN work on the shelf. I would just be so happy! And I've written this for fun as well. Writing is one of the best things EVER! I highly recommend it! :D


9) Why will readers love your book?
Because hopefully, they will be able to connect with the characters, and understand why situations are turning out the way they do. I also hope they like the plot, and my writing style. It seems similar to a lot of authors I know and I wish that it could be accepted by an audience. I just really want a few people to like it. :) There also won't be much romance, because I'm not the best at writing it (unless it's very humorous and teasing) and I don't have the main character fall in love the very SECOND she sees the guy she likes. Because I like build up, and originally, she is just oblivious to the fact she likes him. ;) Though, for those who like romance, I do put a lot of stuff you will like in it!! :D


10) Where did the idea for your book come from?

How the state of the world is in right now. I was frustrated one day, and said I wished I could be the one to fix everything, and BAM! I got an idea! :D
 What if a person had superpowers who could help fix political things instead of ONLY fighting evil bad guys from other dimensions, like in books I've read. :)


11) What is your inspiration?

MUSIC! I like to listen to it while writing scenes. If the scene is dark, I listen to dark music. If it is happy, I listen to happy music and etc... Also, I read and watch movies. I try my hardest not to copy anyone, but I do get ideas from other stories and it helps a lot. :D


12) Any writing tips for fellow authors?

DON'T beat yourself up about your work not being immediately amazing. (I am guilty of this. And I need to stop it. ;) Just keep writing and writing and writing and writing and writing and writing....
ANYWAY, make sure you enjoy yourself and don't try to do too much at once! Take it slow so that your story comes out as amazing as it can. Nothing is perfect, and nothing ever will be, so just do your best! ^-^



A huge thank you to Kaitlin at The Mistiness of the Future-Actor, Writer, Dreamer for letting me interview her! 

If anyone else would like an interview, or knows anyone who would like to be interviewed, please leave a comment below or visit the Interview page for further information! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Platforms for the Unpublished Author


Platforms are basically a compiled fan base for a writer's work. A long time ago (before Internet! 0_0) agents and publishers were solely responsible for promoting a book, but now that we (the fans!) have the Internet we don't want to hear things from the publishers or agents, we want to hear them from the authors! Authors have, in a sense, become public figures and are expected by publishers and agents alike to attract and build their own fan bases, aka, build their own platform.

But platforms aren't just for a published author, unpublished authors can also build platforms for their work!
Now, I'm no expert in building platforms--I'm still a newbie in many areas--but I'd like to share with you a few things that I have learned through my study! 


Building a platform is actually really fun. This is where you get to promote your book and create a whole new way to 'sell' it to the audience! This means getting the word out and letting people know what you are doing! 

Part One: Getting the Word Out


As we all know, there are lots of different places to connect with people, but I will only list a few of the more prominent ones. 


1) Twitter

Twitter is like a Facebook, but it is a little bit better suited for authors and their books. On Twitter you can solely post about your book as well as connect with other authors and link to helpful websites or events you will be at. Twitter is a great way to tell the world how things are going, but remember, don't just post about the book! Post about other things, articles, interviews, anything interesting about writing. Do not go personal though. If you want a personal account then make one, but other wise don't intermingle the two. Having a 'work' Twitter and keeping your posts fun yet professional will give you the appearance of a confident personality who knows what they are doing. 

2) Blogger

Blogs are a great way to give in depth info about what's going on with the book and you! You can connect with others as well as share pieces of your work and articles that you found helpful! Blogger is also YOUR turf, unlike with Facebook where you are just out there with no real neutral ground. On blogger you can be a little more opinionated and can talk about what you want, which is exactly what authors need! In depth accounts of what's happening with the book or publication process can not only help people become interested in your work, but can also help others who are wading into the fierce waters of the publication world! Trust me, having a friend or two really helps! 

3) Facebook

Okay, as for getting the word out, the only thing I can really see valuable in Facebook is the pages. As an author you CAN make your own fan page for your book and list yourself as a pubic figure (yes authors must do this too sometimes.) You represent yourself and therefore have the right to do so, no one else does. However, from what I have seen, this step is pretty big; making fan page or a personal page is usually done with authors whose books are already published, or at least accepted by an agent. You can still do it before, but it'd probably look and sound a lot more official if you at least had a book on the market at the time. My advice: stay out of this until publication.


4) Personal Websites


Personal websites are great ways to promote your work! You don't have to be published to do this, in fact, lots of authors have personal websites for books that aren't published yet, just to let people know that they are out there and to maybe get some future readers! I use Weebly for my website, but there are many other places to start! Do not however start off with one you have to pay to use. Start small with the personal website, keep it on topic and update it regularly, when it's time to move up do so, but not before it's time! 



For these Internet methods to work, however, you must update your feeds regularly (uhhhh....no comment!).       
Try to use Twitter and Facebook (if you're at that stage) everyday or at least every other day if you can, and update your blog and website two to three times a week. Having a platform is not easy, it's work and takes a lot of time. However, having these resources and the discipline to manage them shows an agent/publisher that you are in the business for the long haul (which is what they want) and are willing to work hard to get fans. 

But these are just a few of the ways to get the word out about your book, there are other ways besides the Internet, such as doing an interview or a podcast/comcast where you discuss your book. However, timing of all of these events and methods is key!


Part Two: Timing 


1) Don't start a platform before you've gotten to query letter stage!

A lot of the things I've read say that you should leave the platform stage until you've finished your manuscript and are ready to start sending out query letters. Making one before could serve as embarrassing if you didn't, or decided not to, finish the book. Also, making one at the very beginning--such as the day you got the initial idea--could be counter intuitive because by the time your readers could actually purchase the book, your fan base would be at least two years old and your fans wouldn't have gotten too much satisfaction out of it. Basically, it'd be old hat. 

2) Don't do everything at once!

Pace yourself, allowing your readers time to digest everything you've done so far and mull over it is essential, but don't give them too much time, after all--they could get bored! 

3) Don't make all of your websites at once!

Learn to manage the ones you've got before making more (a lesson I learned the hard way many times over).     

Keep your sites updated regularly (again, no comment) and write about things that not only interest you, but also your audience. Providing a link to something helpful is a good way to fill up your post timeline if you are too busy to post. However, don't overdo on the links because then people will begin to believe that you are always trying to sell them something. Readers usually want actual posts, not links, so keep that in mind as you navigate through your feeds. 


Platforms aren't hard to begin, but they are very hard to keep and maintain. After all, you are trying to get people to read something that you wrote and like it. It's a big order to fill, but it is doable! My advice is make a time table of what you want to do and when, then stick to it as much as you possibly can! Remember that the road ahead of you is going to be hard, but the rewards far outweigh any struggle!


Thanks for listening! Again, I'm no expert, I'm just sharing what I've learned--and sincerely hoping that someone out there finds it helpful!

Sincerely, 


Rebecca




Friday, June 7, 2013

Interview with Maegen







Hi everyone! I had the fortunate experience of getting to interview Maegen at about her fascinating book! Author Maegen gives us a look into the world and structure of her upcoming book which is sure to please all sci fi readers!

I like to thank Maegen so much for letting me interview her! It has been a real pleasure!  




1)What is your book about? 
      This has always been a hard question for me but I think I've come up with a good way to describe it. It is about a girl in the middle of a war, it is about descent and how far a person can fall, it is about people who are broken, it is about corruption and the areas and shades of gray in people, it is about how far humanity can fall and how high it can rise, and it is about the large and small tragedies in the world of different people, especially the heroine and villain. My story, at its core, is a psychological study on how people can be so similar yet so different. 


2) Who are your main characters?
        (Just remember these are very rough descriptions of my characters- they have more layers which you will have to read to hear and learn about). 
The main character is a teenaged girl (she goes from 16 - 19 over the course of the series) who, in the first novel, joins the galaxy's military(they live in a completely different galaxy then ours- Andromeda). I can't reveal her name as of yet, but it is space-related(her whole name is, in fact). She is a strong, high-strung, emotional, volatile, character who, through unlucky mishap and circumstances, gains the hatred of the main villain and becomes an important factor in the war(though she is definitely no chosen one and isn't the 'one who will save everyone'; she's just a regular teen). She is also, in some ways, based on me. 

Besides the two people the plot threads of the story revolve around, there are several other characters that take center stage. One is a girl around the lead's age(just a year older) who is mature, energetic, and, at times, stoic. The second is a boy a couple of months older than the lead; he is calm, strategical, and thoughtful. Next is a humanoid girl who, in human years(and physically looks it too) is around eight years old, but is actually teenaged in her people's culture; she is easily affected by events and, while way more mature than a human child, can act like a child sometimes; she is a kind being but can be rude at times(the three individuals I just mentioned are all in the army). 


3) Who is your villain?
The villain is, actually, the second main character after my lead. He is a man(mid twenties) who has suffered through much and wants to make things better. He is a cold, cruel, though sometimes emotional and volatile, individual who doesn't seem to understand that what he's doing is wrong. In the series, his goal is to save the galaxy from the people who exploit it(I don't really think it's a spoiler since it's brought up in the beginning). His character is tied with my lead's for favorite character in my series, though I love all of them. :) :) 
Another villain is the main antagonist's sister- she is a lot louder and more openly violent than he is and out of all the characters, she is the best fighter. 

4) What genre does your book fit into?
 Science Fiction, especially the sub-genres of Space Opera, Soft/Social Sci-Fi, and Military Sci-Fi since it takes place in a different galaxy than ours, focuses on the character's thoughts and feelings, and is about a war and those who fight it in. It also has some slight fantasy elements that become more prominent as the series progresses. The story is also psychological study since I explore many themes such as PTSD, Depression, Bravery, Strength, Pain, Death, Hurt, Abuse, Good v.s Evil, Areas of Gray, Right and Wrong, Love, Hate, etc


5) What age range of readers are you trying to reach?
Anyone from mid-to-late teens and up. My story is pretty dark(don't worry, it's not horror or anything) and might be a bit scary/disturbing for younger children. Though, if you've read The Hunger Games trilogy, you should be fine. But really, I'm mainly writing it for myself and for people who would love it and enjoy it as much as I do :) 

6) What style is your book written in? Is it first person? Is it third?
My story is told in third person, past tense, though I do use first person for some sequences involving my lead. However, the majority is told in third person since, for the context of the story, it needs to be told in that way (besides, I started the book that way, so I couldn't go back and change it, now could I? ;)   ) 
I would say my style of writing is, hopefully, emotional, character-driven, and intellectual. 

7) Is this a single book or a series?
It is a series(well, two in fact, each five books long); it takes place over the course of roughly four years. Both series' revolve around the same characters and setting, but with different plot lines. 

8) What are your goals for this book(s)? Is it just for fun or is it for publication?
I have several goals for my books. I definitely want to publish them by a Professional Publisher and I hope to get at least some readers and fans who enjoy it. 
I also want to have them made into movies/TV show with me playing the lead character(I'm not meaning to sound stuck up, I just always imagined myself in the role). 

9) Why will readers love your book?
Well, I hope readers will like the book series; I understand it might not be for everyone, but I hope I get a good fan following at least :D :D 



Okay, here are some points I think people will enjoy.

Science Fiction fans will enjoy the setting in another galaxy, the space travel, and the different planets and species. I believe and hope it will especially appeal to fans of Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Firefly. 

Action fans will enjoy the story because there are a lot of fight scenes, battles, chases, and some very weird confrontational events. 

Feminist fans will enjoy seeing an empowered female character who is smart and very capable and who will stand up for her gender but never will put the other gender down. 

I also think people will enjoy the characters(at least I hope they do). I worked really hard on these characters, especially the main character and the antagonist, and I hope you all end up liking them as much as I do :D

Oh and guess what?! For those of you who don't like sappy romance, you will find none of that hear. In fact, there isn't any romance(though there are some subtle hints) until the second series and even then it is quite mild. But what the little that is there, I really like  it and I hope it will be awesome and  well done. 



10) Where did the idea for your book come from?
I came up with the book idea a long time ago when I was nine years old. I've always enjoyed coming up with stories with my sister, friends, and cousins and writing them down, so I think I was just waiting for the right one. I finally did find that 'right one' after I'd watched Star Wars. A friend of mine and I were coming up with stories and since he was making a science fiction story, I thought I'd make one two. At first it was quite silly and a kind of a rip-off of Star Wars but soon, after many re-writes and some talks with my cousin, sister, and friends(we help each other out with stories a lot), the stories are now fully, freshly original and I hope you all love them as much as I do (I said that before didn't I? Oh well XD). 

11) What is your inspiration?
I have many inspirations. Fiction, I have to say, inspires me the most. Watching a really good movie/TV episode or reading a really good book wants me to make my story even better and inspires me to challenge myself. I'm also inspired by real life people and my own experiences which help me to better my craft and my characters. 
Music is also an inspiration. It helps me create a mood and connect even more closely with my characters and what they are feeling at that moment. 

12) Any writing tips for fellow authors?
  Read and watch stories as much as you can, especially those pertaining to your genre( for example, I should read a lot of Sci-Fi). 
You also need to write; not everyday, of course, you have to find a rhythm that works for you, but make sure you do actually write.
And of course, never give up. Novels/series' take work(I'm working on my ninth year with this series) and it's important to, once you've found your right story, to stick with it and make it as beautiful as you possibly can. 
Stay Positive and May the Force Be With You...Always :)


To learn more about Maegen and her book, visit her blog at Pens, Thespians, and Words


Thank you so much Maegen for letting me interview you and I'm sure the readers, as well as myself, will be absolutely thrilled when we can purchase and read this sure to be amazing novel! :D 


If you're an author who wants to talk about their work, then please leave a comment or visit the Interview page! I'm more than happy to interview any and all authors, published or unpublished! 


Sincerely,

Rebecca