Tag Archives: Literary agents

Post Writing Conference High…

 

SO I’m back home after spending a few days in Burlington, MA at the NECRW 2018 Let Your imagination take Flight writers conference. Tired doesn’t begin to describe me today. My bones are weary!

This year, I made a concerted effort to put my little introverted self out there and meet new writers. Those of you who know me, probably think I’m having some kind of stroke by referring to myself as introverted. But I am, truly. Even though I’ll talk to a rock, I still get ridiculously nervous and feel I’m being judged by people I’ve just met.

But that’s my hangup, so….

Lots of fun and informative times at the conference.

First and foremost, met the amazeballs and national writing treasure Beverly Jenkins. She gave a master class on setting and world building that was so spot on, it’s no wonder she’s the fabulous writer she is. Every writer – whether of the romance genre, or truly, an other genre, could learn something from this brilliant woman that would elevate their writing to heights never thought of before. I have 6 pages of handwritten, excited notes from her class and can’t wait to start putting them into practice.

From the phenomenal and tech-brilliant Nam Patel I seriously increased my knowledge base of keywords, SEO’s and how to navigate through google. Nam is the kind of brilliant person who is able to break down complex knowledge principles to an understandable language for tach-no-savvy’s like me!!

I’d never heard the term Fan-Fiction before until I took a class with literary agent Courtney Miller Callahan on the subject. Boy, did I get an eyeopener!

Of course there were other workshops I attended, but these three ladies were by far the best and brightest of the bunch!

Now, I’m off to start building a better world and setting for my characters, then I have to update my internet accounts, and finally, I may just take a quick trek through a few fan fiction pages to get an idea of what this whole subgenre is really about. I can smell a potential story line here for a couple of people who need an HEA in their lives!

Of course when I’m not writing you can find me here;

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

and one last shameless plug: Check out my new AUDIOBOOK version of 3 WISHES, available now at Audible // Itunes // and Amazon.

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Author Branding, Candy Hearts, Food lover, love, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press

#MFRW I don’t like your voice….

The prompt of this piece is the worst writing advice I’ve ever gotten. I’m gonna share that, but a little backstory first so you can understand why the advice was the worst!

I’ve been searching for a literary agent since I started my journey in publishing. Haven’t found one yet but it’s not because I haven’t tried. At every conference I attend that allows agent pitches I sign up for a spot. In the past three years I’ve pitched myself and my work to 9 different literary agents. 6 were NYC based, 2 were from California, and one was from the NorthWest. They’ve all been industry  pros with great author pedigrees and clients,  but none of have them have offered to represent me. They’ve all asked for me to send them my work, which I have. Now remember, I’ve pitched to 9 agents. 4 never bothered to contact me back after I’d sent the work and waited the allotted 30 then 60 days for a response. When I did re-email them, no responses. 4 sent me form rejection letters within 15-30 days after I’d mailed my CV and work, not commenting on what I’d sent. The last agent I met with was last year. I’d actually connected with her via email  prior to the conference and she’d asked me to send her my work right away so that she could get a feel for what I wrote before meeting me. I complied.

I met her face to face for an allotted 15 minute meet/pitch and the first thing she said to me was “I don’t like your voice.”

 

I knew she meant my writing voice, not my actual voice voice. Even so, that was a bit…harsh as an opening line. She went on to say she’d read 5 pages of the 30 she’d requested and couldn’t get past the way I wrote. There was nothing technically wrong with it, she said, just that it was unappealing.

Huh?

Okaaaaaaaaay. This had taken exactly 15 seconds of a 15  minute space. What was I supposed to do? Sit there and just stare at her until time was up? Stick up for myself? Cry?

 

I mean really. Talk about how to hurt someone’s feelings. Only, mine weren’t hurt, surprisingly. No, I was feeling something else entirely.

When I get really mad I tend to get very quiet. Deathly so. People around me have remarked that me, quiet, is terrifying.

 

I was so stunned by what she’d said, I couldn’t think of a response. That silence, I think, prompted her to say her next thing – the worst advice I’ve ever gotten. “You should think about changing your voice. Experiment with something different, because I just don’t think you’re going to sell commercially sounding the way you do.”

Huh?

It was apparent to me that she hadn’t read the publishing CV I’d sent along. Last year I had already had 8 books traditionally published and had contracted for 3 more. So without an agent I’d already sold 11 book to publishers. If she’d read that she would have known that SOMEBODY liked my writing voice enough to publish me. 11 times. Traditionally.

 

Again, I stayed silent and smiling, even though I wanted to stick my tongue out at her and say, “so there!!” I know. Real mature. By now I knew even if she offered me a contract ( which she didn’t) I wouldn’t sign with her. If you have an agent you want her/him to be on your side, have your back, and promote you and your work and strengths. When I continued to stay mute she said, “Well, I have a lot of people to see today. I’ll be making decisions on who I want to take on, what work, and such, so  I’ll get back to you within a week or so with my decision.”

Huh?

Hadn’t she just told me my voice was horrible and that I’d never sell commercially? That certainly didn’t sound like she wanted to represent me, does it? I couldn’t take it another minute. I stood, shook her hand and said, “thanks for meeting with me. Enjoy the rest of the conference,” and I bolted before she could say another word.

Weird, right?

Do I really need to tell you she never, ever, got in touch with me again? Not even a form letter.

Like I said: weird.

So that advice –  to change my writing voice – was simply the worst piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten. Who would say that? WHY would you say that? Each writing voice is unique; distinctive; individual. I could understand that she didn’t like mine. You can’t please everybody. But as an industry professional to actually tell me to change something that’s so inherently part of me is like asking me to change my DNA makeup; my height; my personality. Would you ask Dr. Suess not to rhyme? Would you advise ee cummings to capitolize?  Make Janet Evanovich ditch the humor? Good God, would you ask Jane Austen to stick to writing letters and give up on the whole fiction thing?

Needless to say, I am still on that quest to find an agent. Preferably one who likes my voice.

Since this is a blog hop, click on the other authors in this challenge and see more example of bad writing advice!

 

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How just a few words can make all the difference in your psyche!

It’s Friday and around here that usually means an entry in the #MFRWauthor 52 week blog challenge. This week’s topic was Meet my Pets. Since I have no pets, I didn’t see the need to write anything. So that left me with a bit of a blog hole.

Until…..

You all know my newest Lyrical Shine release, A SHOT AT LOVE, dropped on 10.3.17. I’ve been involved in a busy blog tour for the past month promoting it. Well, the reviews have started to shower in an I can’t believe how amazing they’ve been. Truly. Hearing readers I DON’T PERSONALLY KNOW praise the book has been so ego inflating at a time when my fragile little psyche has been battered and bruised.

Let me ‘esplain.

I have one more book for Lyrical, CAN’T STAND THE HEAT, due to release on 4.3.18 (available for preorder right now — shameless plug).

After that….I have no more book contracts. I’ve been writing up a storm and trying to get the next book sold, but so far, nada. Since I started this journey in 2015 I have never NOT had a book contract coming down the pike. This is a new experience for me and one, I will admit, that has me terrified. I retired so I could write and PUBLISH full time. I’ve been doing my end of the bargain….now I need a publisher to help me along that track. The added insult is that I still haven’t been able to get an agent. If I had one, I feel, navigating this publishing quagmire would be easier. But… what can you do? This is me, shrugging with acceptance.

Now, during this soul sucking time, my reviews have been coming in. Truly, peeps, these kind words have inspired me, strenghtened my resolve to keep writing, and put a smile in my heart. This one came in yesterday and I’m still tickled pink about it:

“Thank you for writing another great story, Peggy Jaeger!

Who remembers Alias, the TV show starring Jennifer Garner? Well, I was such a HUGE fan of Alias and Sydney Bristow.

Gemma, the heroine, in this story reminded me of her. Gemma was so kick-ass, feisty, and strong. And Ky. Ky. Sigh. So dreamy and hot!

I loved the fast pace of the story. I loved the chemistry between Gemma and Ky. Each scene was so vividly described that reading felt like watching an incredible good action-themed tv show/movie.

I couldn’t put this book down. So, so, so, so good.

If you like your romance books with action/suspense/FBI-related arcs like I do, I would definitely recommend this book.”

Warms the cockles of my fragile little ego’s soul, it does!!!

So, enough bellyaching. Back to my WIP. Maybe I’ll have a Christmas miracle this year and be offered a 5 book deal from the publisher of my dreams…. maybe.

When I’m not being depressed ( not really, heehee!) you can connect with me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, romantic suspense, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Conference comedown #NECRWA2017 #romancewriter

This past weekend I attended the NECRWA 2017 conference in Burlington, MA. Historically, this is a fabulous conference for romance writers to network with professionals, learn about craft, catch up with old friends, and make new ones. This year was no exception. Ii fact, this was a banner year for the conference and for me.

Let me ‘esplain….

For the conference itself, the committee tried several new “things” conference-wise that just worked. A bigger and expanded book fair; an exceptional cocktail hour and meal service; a large and varied collection of conference topics, and two break-out sessions after the conference was completed. I don’t think I ‘ve ever heard so many participant comments in the past that were so glowing of all aspects of the conference, so Kudos to the conference committee. You should all pat yourselves several times on the back!

As for me, well, this was the first time I’ve ever given a professional writing speech. Okay, speech isn’t the correct word. It was a workshop on writing romance stories for people over the age of 40. I’d given this presentation to my local NHRWA chapter last month and it was warmly received. I even wrote a blog about my nerves concerning it.  But they’re all my friends. I didn’t think they’d be mean and they weren’t ( of course they weren’t!!!) This time, the presentation was for a room full of people I didn’t know. At all. Now, some of my chapter mates attended to support me ( gotta lovelovelove that, right!!) And I knew the moderator from previous conferences. But the majority of that room was alien to me and boy-oh-boy was I nervous.

Turns out, I didn’t have to be. They all laughed in the right places, asked en-pointe questions related to the topic and I never once saw people yawning, checking Apple watches, or fidgeting.

Nirvana for a speaker!!!!

The best part? A few hours later I met one of the attendees in another workshop and she stopped me and told me how much I had inspired her and that she’d had an immediate story plot jump into her head. When she told me about it I started to well-up because I could see – really SEE – how the talk had inspired her. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so emotionally invested in a stranger before! Sniff…sniff…

So, now I’m home, getting back to the editing and writing grind today. Although, it really isn’t a grind. It’s an absolute delight in every way, especially, now that I know my words and thoughts actually helped another writer.

Le sigh…..I’ve got a great life.

When I’m not attending conferences you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Winner! Whiner?

Strange blog post title, right? Well, maybe not.

So, November is a memory, but not the November challenge of NaNoWrimo. You’ve – hopefully – gotten your winner banner, letting one and all know you managed to eek out that 50,000 word minimum for the month, and maybe even a little more ( like me!) and now you’re internally debating the next step.

Dive right into editing? Start to query agents, editors, and publishing houses?  Print out the book and give it to one and all of your supportive peeps to read and review and critique?

Well, I hate to give advice because I hate to receive it, but….

Let’s sit back for a second and think this through.

You’ve just spent 30 arduous days giving literary birth to your new baby. A quick pregnancy in potential plotting ( if you’re a plotter) and then 30 continuous days of delivering it into the world. 720 hours, 43,200 minutes, 2,592,000 seconds ( does this remind you of a Broadway show tune?) That’s a lot of time spent in doing one thing, any way you slice and categorize it. The goal of the challenge is to write your story. To get it onto paper or the laptop. Like most writers competing  in the challenge you did not edit along the way. I’m sure your manuscript – like mine – is rife with spelling, grammar, and tense mistakes, not to mention maybe a plot hole or two. Or three. Now is not the time to submit it or allow ANYONE to read and review it.

Now is the time to….sit back for a little bit. Let the manuscript safely stew in your file section. Don’t read it…don’t edit it…don’t start letting the publishing world know it’s available, because it’s not.

I know the excitement of getting the story down – and quickly – is high. Believe me, I know it. But you need to rest your creative brain for a tad and forget some of the words you wrote. Then, when sufficient time has passed – and that can be two days, two weeks, or even a month ( like AFTER the holidays!), you can open it from the file and start to read it with fresh eyes. Eyes that will see all those mistakes, plot holes, and character problems. Those setting mixups and description errors. You’ll be able to SEE you gave your heroine green eyes in chapter one and then realize the hero described them as brown in chapter four. You’ll be able to SEE the motivation you gave your killer to kill was the same internal struggle you gave your hero to. You’ll SEE the escape plan you concocted in chapter 6 is pretty much impossible if you’re penning a contemporary tale and not one filled with dragons and wizards.

Right now you are high on the fabulousness of what you’ve written. Let it stew a while and you’ll realize it’s still fabulous, but needs work. Namely, editing.

Editing with fresh eyes is the best way to find the problems and think of ways to correct them.

Now, as far as querying – don’t. Not now, and certainly not after the first read through. My last three NaNo written books have been published AFTER they went through extensive edits and rewrites BEFORE I even submitted them. The books I submitted to my publisher were the ones where I removed all the mistakes, fixed the grammar and tense, and idealized the plot and story line. My settings were all consistent, my characters fully formed and possessing the correct hair and eye color throughout the book! And even after they were bought they still needed more editing!!!

Do yourself a favor: have a glass ( or two or…) of wine, sit back and put your feet up on the ottoman. Watch a good romance chick flick or even an action adventure movie. Or both. Relax. Rest. Revive. Then you can review, revise, and rework those wonderful NaNoWriMo pages.

Trust me. You’ll be happy you did.

AND ( here comes a shameless plug and I’m not ashamed in the least) if you want to escape into something funny and read a holiday tale, try A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, available right now. It’ll take your mind off writing and put it back on reading someone else’s work for a bit.

When I’m not being shameless you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Lifetime Student

 

beforeyouhitsend_300dpi

Those of you who know me – either personally or through my writings in this blog – know that I lovelove love to learn new things and that I am a lifelong student of writing: techniques, story building, plotting, and grammar, just to name a few. I simply love to learn new things related to writing in all its aspects. My personal writing library has over 100 books on subjects of plotting and structure, dialogue,  character traits, etc. I refer to many of them whenever I am starting a new book or even when I a looking for guidance with a problem I incur during writing.

Writing technique books are it for me, but I also live to go to writing conferences. My goal is always to learn at least one new thing at a conference and so far, that number has grown exponentially with each new conference I attend.

The reason I mention this lifetime and lifelong love of learning is because my New England chapter of RWA is hosting such a writing worshop/conference this month. An Editorial Director at Carina Press, Angela James, is presenting her wonderful  BEFORE YOU HIT SEND class for writers of all genres. You can click on the SPECIAL EVENTS toggle at the NWRWA website for details and to register, here:  NHRWA

I have taken this class twice before: one at a New England RWA conference and once on-line. Both times I learned something I hadn’t learned the time before. Nowadays, with the publishing industry changing by the second, and editors pressed for time to find the next big author, if you are a writer, you MUST, absolutely MUST submit a manuscript that is professionally polished and worthy of a complete read-through. I have been to too many conference talks to count with editors and agents who persistently and consistently only read the first page of a submission and if there is any kind of mistake ( typo, wrong grammar use, poor tense) their reading stops at the end of that page. We all want to make the best first impression we can, and  unfortunately, your first impression is usually a query letter and/or a few pages of your manuscript. If there is anything that stands out and makes you look like an amateur, it is poor spelling, grammar, and sloppy writing.

Angela James’ class BEFORE YOUR HIT SEND tells you how to avoid and prevent all those pesky problems, how to correct them when they do occur, and how to get your  manuscript as ready and as polished as it can be for an editor or agent’s eyes. You only get one shot to make a favorable first impression (What a great title for a book, btw!). Do you want to take the chance a professional will simply disregard your writing because it is riddled with mistakes? Mistakes that could have been prevented and corrected before you hit that send button?

I hope you join my chapter for this wonderful conference. If you do one thing this year to make yourself a better writer, this will be it.

Self-Editing Workshop with Angela James

Saturday, May 21, 2016

9am – 4pm

The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire

James_pixJoin Angela James, editorial director of Harlequin’s Carina Press and developmental editor of New York Times Bestselling authors Shannon Stacey, Lauren Dane and Jaci Burton, for a day-long workshop covering ideas, tips, tricks and lessons for polishing and self-editing your manuscript.

Topics include: point of view, passive vs. active voice, show don’t tell, formalizing your manuscript, and more!

Spend the night at a special rate and have use of our meeting room for quiet self-editing/writing Sunday morning to put all you learned into practice before you head back on the road.

Conference Schedule

Saturday, May 21, 2016

  • 7:30am – 9:00am:  Check-in/Registration
  • 9:00am – 4:00pm: Workshop & Buffet Lunch

Sunday, May 21, 2016

  • Morning:  (OPTIONAL) Meeting room will be open for attendees to use for quiet self-editing/writing time.

Registration Information

  • Regular Registration for NHRWA members (3.1.16 – 4.30.16) = $90
  • Regular Registration for non-NHRWA members (3.1.16 – 4.30.16) = $100
  • Late Registration for ALL (5.1.16 – 5.14.16) = $110

Registration includes the following:

  • Admission to the Before You Hit Send workshop.
  • Saturday lunch buffet & afternoon snack.

Ready to Register?

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, First Impressions, Life challenges, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA