Thursday, June 30, 2011

What a cookie (recipe)?

I deleted a ranting post. I figure you've probably got your own problems--you don't need to inheret mine. So, instead, here's one of my favourite cookie recipes.


Oatmeal cookies

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup butter

2 beaten eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 cups oatmeal

1 cup raisins


Cream sugars and butter; add beaten eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt; mix in oatmeal and raisins. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown (approximately 10 minutes).

Yield: approximately 2 dozen


I could eat one dozen right now. : ) There a great non-alcoholic way to drown your troubles.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My meeting with a literary agent

British Columbia is the place to be this year first for the Olympics, now for the hockey play-offs and last weekend for Bloody Words.
Bloody Words is Canada's largest gathering of crime writers and related genres.
In one sentence, I loved it.
It was the first time I attended such an event as a published author. I had the opportunity to sit on a panel and meet with a literary agent. Both experiences took me out of my comfort zone, but I'm so glad I made the leap.
I know many Decadent authors have a literary agent. I'd like to invite them to share something of their journey in the comments section. Please join me on mine.
At home, to prepare, I...
-asked more experienced authors for advice.
-used a search engine to research the literary agent I was to meet.
-visited the Preditors and Editors site. This site lists agents and gives information regarding their legitimacy.
-worked on my presentation. This was the most daunting task. I wanted to represent myself fairly in terms of my past success, my current project and my future goals. I had a presentation tie of fifteen minutes.
-gave my presentation to my writers' group. It was forty-five minutes too long. They suggested I revise it and use cue cards to stay on topic and cover the main points.
-cut fat from my presentation--reducing it to seven minutes.
-did additional research. Fearful that I'd forgotten something, I read writers' magazines.
-developed questions to ask the literary agent.
On the ferry, sailing from Mayne Island to Vancouver Island, I rehearsed with my travelling companion.
Just before meeting the literary agent, I took ten deep breaths and remembered to smile. Thankfully, the literary agent smiled back.
It was a pleasure meeting with her. However, the meeting didn't go as I had imagined. For example, she didn't throw her hands in the air and shout, "Oh, my gosh. I've finally found YOU!" For another, she didn't want to listen to my carefully rehearsed presentation. Instead, she wanted to get to know me. She did say, however, that she was pleased that I was so well prepared. So, I don't feel that the time I spent preparing was wasted.
I was delightfully surprised at how well I conducted myself--smiling was easy and words flowed. Even without my cue cards, I was able to highlight my past successes, current project and future goals.
At the end of the meeting, she gave me her business card.
I had thought that meeting with a literary agent would be the end of a journey. As it turns out, it's just the beginning.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Design your own stitch pattern

Since Monday, May 30th--when I shared the Spring Garden pattern with you--we've been exploring ways to make the pattern truly yours.

Today we will talk about stitch patterns. Spring Garden is worked in the "seed stitch" stitch pattern.



seed stitch (over an even number of stitches)


Row 1: knit 1, purl 1--continue to end of row


Row 2: purl 1, knit 1--continue to end of row


Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern




Seed stitch is a fun stitch pattern to alter. Here are some of the stitch patterns that I have "uninvented" while playing with the seed stitch. (I say "uninvented" because as Elizabeth Zimmerman pointed out, knitting is so old that it is very hard to invent something new in knitting.)

















Here are some ideas you can use to uninvent your own stitch pattern.


Combine two stitch patterns.


I combined purl and seed stitch.


Here's what I came up with...


Row 1: purl one, knit one--continue to end of row


Row 2: purl


Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern




Experiment with the number of stitches in the stitch pattern.


Here's what I came up with...


Row 1: knit two, purl two--continue to end of row


Row 2: purl two, knit two--continue to end of row


Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern




Experiment with the number of rows in the stitch pattern.


Here's what I came up with...


Rows 1 and 2: knit one, purl one--continue to end of rows


Rows 3 and 4: purl one, knit one--continue to end of rows


Repeat rows 1 to 4 for pattern


Note: When uninventing a stitch pattern for Spring Garden, first read the pattern carefully. Keep in mind the number of stitches you will be working while you play.


Continue to explore and you be delighted by the results.

Happy uninventing


Friday, June 24, 2011

Welcome Knitwear Designer Janel Laidman

Who taught you to knit?
*
I learned to knit by watching Danish girls knitting when I was an exchange student in Denmark. They all had been knitting since they were young children and I was too shy to ask questions, so I copied what they were doing and puzzled the rest out of knitting patterns. Because of this I ended up with a few quirky habits.
***
What knitting method do you use? Continental? English?
*
Well, here's my first quirky habit. I actually do both, although mostly Continental, and I'm also a combination knitter which means my purls are mounted in the opposite direction from most people's. For a long time I couldn't follow patterns very well, because I didn't realize that my combination style affected things like decreases and it never seemed right to do a k2tog or an ssk when the pattern suggested it.




What is your favourite stitch pattern?
*
I like to create my own stitch pattern so I guess my favorite is always the one I'm currently working on right now.
***
What is your favourite yarn?
*
All of it! Well, maybe not all of it. I like different yarns for different projects. I'm also a spinner so I always have the option of creating the exact perfect yarn for whatever I want to do.
***
Is there a needle size that you prefer to work with? Bamboo, plastic or steel needles?
*
I work a lot with size 0 (US) needles because I knit so many socks. I think my favorite sizes though are the US 3 -- US 5 range. I like different finishes depending on the project. For sock knitting I like a nickel plated needles or the Blackhorn carbon fiber needles. For lace and sweater knitting I like the Darn Pretty Rosewood circulars. For swatching I prefer straights and for that I have a nice set of Lantern Moon needles which are both pretty and lightweight. I have yet to try the Signature needles, but I have a feeling I would like those as well.



What is your favourite item to knit?
*
Currently it is lace. I also love socks of course, but I have had a very long love affair with lace.
***
What are you currently working on?
*
I'm currently working on a stitch dictionary of new stitches with tutorial information on designing your stitch patterns. I also have two different sock clubs running the illuminations club which is all stranded colorwork, and the Art & Sole sock club which is sock and other accessory patterns inspired by art. All of these activities keep me pretty busy, but in between I try to get a few other patterns out. Right now I'm working on designing a lace shawl.



Why did you become a knitwear designer?
*

Well, I used to be a biochemist, and my job involved growing huge quantities of e.coli. Knitwear design seemed like a much less smelly alternative! Joking aside, I became a knitwear designer because I love designing and I saw an opportunity to try and make a living from it. I also wanted a portable career because I was planning to move to an area without a lot of biochemistry type jobs.




Do you attend fibre festivals? Why? Why not?

*

I love to go to fiber festivals! I love to see the sheep, watch the dog trails, eat the fair food and buy lovely goods from small business vendors. I used to be a vendor at fiber festivals and so I know that it's a tough job setting up and taking down and selling all day long. I love to support these folks. Plus, you find amazing stuff that you can't find through regular commerce channels.

***

Have you taught knitting classes? Where? When?

*

I love to teach. I teach both knitting and spinning and I've taught at Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat, Stitches West, Sock Summit, Knit Nation, SOAR and other places.

***

What is the most rewarding aspect about being a knitwear designer?

*

Seeing what other people do with my designs. I love when people take my design and make it their own.

***

Challenging?

*

The most challenging part is being a one-woman business. It's tough to wear all the hats, designer, bookkeeper, promo department, secretary, mailroom and more. It seems I'm always behind on something!




Knitter's eye candy--visit Janel Laidman's...Blog Website

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is art validate only if it sells?

On a blog I like to frequent an author said something alone the lines of... If no one buys my book than all the time I spent writing it was a waste.
Um...
A few weeks ago a friend said something like... You have to create to fulfill a need inside yourself. If it sells that's fine, but that isn't the bottom line.
Um...
So, what do you think? Why do you create? Is it for tangible or intangible reasons?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Developing the Hook in a Query Letter

Lately, things have been appearing before my eyes when I most need them.
Case in point, an email from Writers' Digest arrived in my inbox. I opened the email and found a link to the Guide to Literary Agents blog. I clicked the link and found a very helpful post by Chuck Sambuchino (June 14th)
Here's the link to that post (Developing the Hook in a Query Letter)
Thanks to this article, I rolled up my sleeves and re-wrote Turning's blurb...
Lyndi Wimpel longs for a boyfriend, an adventure, a life. Flipping through a magazine she spies an ad for a youth group. She wants to join.
However, her mother insists it's too big a step. Lyndi has her own doubts. She feels that dyslexia has rendered her stupid and socially inept. She fears she won't be able to live in a group with teenagers.
Regardless of these fears and doubts, Lyndi joins Katimavik--a government run youth service program. The adventure takes her form her tiny community in rural Manitoba to St. Anthony, Newfoundland to Brantford, Ontario and to Village des Huron, Quebec.
Lyndi is challenged and transformed by the experiences she has and the people she meets.
Current word count: 50, 844 words
Now the fear isn't will I have enough words but will I have too many.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Working a sweater pattern on circular needles

Spring Garden


Finished sweater measurements

Bust: 32 (36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64) inches

Length: 20 (20, 22, 24, 24, 26, 26) inches


Knitting needles: US 10/6.00 mm OR size to obtain tension

Circular needle, two pairs of straight needles

Yarn: worsted weight approximately 700 (800/900/1,000/1, 100/1, 200/1, 300/1, 400/1, 500) yards

Stitch holder: two


Tension: 4 stitches x 7 rows = one inch over seed stitch


seed stitch (over even number of stitches)

Row 1: knit 1, purl 1--continue to end of row

Row 2: purl 1, knit 1--continue to end of row

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern


Note: Worked from bottom up. Bottom section worked on circular needles.


Cast on 128 (144, 160, 176, 192, 208, 224, 240, 256) stitches

Work in seed stitch for 12 (12, 11, 13, 15, 15, 17, 17) inches


Note: Upper section worked on straight needles. Front and Back are worked separately.


Slip 64 (72, 80, 88, 96, 104, 112, 120, 128) stitches onto stitch holder.


Back

Work 64 (72, 80, 88, 96, 104, 112, 120, 128) stitches in seed stitch for 8 (8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9) inches

Cast off


Note: Slip stitches from stitch holder onto straight needle.


Front

Work 64 (72, 80, 88, 96, 104, 112, 120, 128) stitches in seed stitch for 5 (5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6) inches

Scoop neck

Work in seed stitch for 12 (16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44) stitches, cast off 40 stitches, work in seed stitch for 12 (16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44) stitches

Shoulders worked from two balls of yarn

Work 12 (16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44) stitches from each yarn ball

Work for 3 inches.

Cast off


Sleeves (make 2)


Note: sleeves worked on straight needles


Cast on 64 (64, 72, 72, 72, 72, 72, 72) stitches

Work in seed stitch for 7 inches

Cast off


Finishing

Sew on sleeves. Weave in ends.




***
More fun to come with this pattern next Monday.
***
Next post: The Hook to in a Query Letter

Friday, June 17, 2011

Please welcome Author Kathleen Gallagher

How/why did you start to write?
I've been wiring since I was a young girl. I wrote poetry first, and then I advanced to short stories. I had a passion for musical theatre, and wanted to pursue it as a career. My course changed when I got married, and became a young mother. I put my writing aside, and later became a registered nurse, but my desire to go back to writing grew stronger with time.

How did you become an author?
With my manuscript in hand, I began to query editors, agents, and small presses. I got an acceptance letter from Decadent Publishing in October 2010.

What was your first published piece?
Echoes at Dawn, a paranormal romance, is my first published novel.

Where was it published?
Echoes at Dawn was published by Decadent Publishing on March 30, 2011.


What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
I am a registered nurse in an emergency room. I care for people from a diverse group, and interact with them when they are most vulnerable. This allows me an advantage when I write a scene that involves an illness or death. My interaction with people in a crisis situation gives me insight on the multiple challenges people face, and how they deal with it. My experience in a stressful environment allows me to learn how to cope with adversity.

What inspires you?
I get my inspiration in various ways. Sometimes simply observing people in every day life is the most beneficial. Other times, a song opens my mind to help me create a storyline. An old photo or beautiful landscape can also lead the way. Above all, I find love to be the best inspiration of all.

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques?
There are so many great ways to promote your work in today's computer savvy world. I enjoy contests, and believe they draw in potential readers. I make it a point to be friendly and positive when networking at conventions and conferences. I try to visit blogs and leave comments. You'd be surprised at how much you can learn from other writers. You'll make new friends, too. It's a good idea to try something new when looking for ways to promote. I've tried being in the author spotlight on sites with multiple followers. The most important thing is to always be available to listen to readers when they have something to share, and always be ready to talk about your book.

What are you currently working on?
I'm working on a contemporary romance entitled, A Single Word. It's a story about an aspiring anchor woman, Savannah Mason, and the challenges she encounters while faced with the disapproval of her career by her family. Savannah dreams of being a headliner on the evening news, but her estranged father Dr. Stuart Mason will not accept it. He had big plans for his only child to take over his medical practice one day.
The last thing Savannah wants is to meet a doctor; however, an opportunity to advance he career, and interview the bestselling author Dr. Rob Sinclair takes her on a journey to places in her heart that have been empty for years.
Rob Sinclair may be a top cardiac surgeon, with a new book about to be released, but his doubts as a parent gnaw at him after his wife abandons her family for a hippie musician.
Will Savannah be able to forgive herself, and offer her heart, as she battles the terror from a recurrent nightmare of a mistake she made in college? How does a man who has always placed his work above his personal life, learn to love again, and will he ever be able to trust a woman?

Do you attend writers' conferences?
I try to attend conferences as often as I can, and I will be at New Jersey Romance Writers Conference, Put Your Heart in the Book, on October 21-22, 2011, at The Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin, New Jersey. I hope to have my print release of Echoes at Dawn with me at the book signing. I'd love to see some of you there.

Part words...
Thank you for your hospitality today, Leanne. I always enjoy my time at The Sweater Curse Blog. I've had an exciting year, and look forward to my continued journey as a published author.

(Your most welcome, Kathleen. Thank you. It was a pleasure--as always.)

BLURB

Echoes At Dawn

The strangely intertwined lives of a widowed woman, and a charismatic bachelor come together in order to show that in life, there are no coincidences...only destiny.

Waterfront restaurant chef Madeline Young adores her job. If only her love and family's lives were as successful as her career. With a teenage son, who spends time in the emergency room for alcohol poisoning and a dementia-plagued mother, Madeline doesn't know how much more she could handle. Then her mother enlists the help of her deceased twin sister, Mary, to guide Madeline to true happiness. An early dawn visit from the spirit directs Madeline to volunteer at the local hospitals center for addiction recovery, where she comes alive for the first time in many years under the attention of Nat Griffin.

Nathaniel Griffin, a part-time counselor and contractor, fascinates his clients with his lectures. In keeping with his philosophy of professionalism, Nat prefers to keep his personal life private. When attraction tests his beliefs, Nat must confront his marred past. Is he willing to face his demons or take the easier path and remain isolated?

Can unworldly ghost save this couple form their own self-destructive behavior?

EXCERPT

Echoes At Dawn

The willowy vision swirled around a circled like a cyclone before she vanished. The hazy fog gradually thinned, and it was as if she never appeared. Mother reached inside her robe pocket, took out a five-pointed star necklace and a tiny charm that housed a photo of her twin sister Mary. She loved to keep her precious belongings close to her heart. She clutched the pendant tightly before she put it around her neck.
Mark sat next to her on the bed. He wrinkled his forehead and tightened his jaw.
The room seemed like it closed in on me, and it felt like there was a thin veil over my face. I struggled to breathe and gasped for air. It took a few minutes before I could speak.
"Are you okay? What happened?" Mark's voice drummed in my ear.
As I shuttered, I pulled the coverlet over my shoulders. "I saw a ghostly image, and I believe she gave me a command," I blurted. I held my hand up, and pressed my fingers against my mouth.
"What do you mean? Were you dreaming?" Mark shouted and sprung from the edge of my bed.
"No, I was awake," I replied. I shook my head.
"Did she touch you?" he asked; his voice rose.
"She didn't come close enough."
"Did she come to rob us?" he screeched.
"I don't think so."
"The doors and windows are locked. How on earth did she get in?" he questioned.
"She appeared after a bright light," I responded and found it all hard to believe.
"Well, you're all right. That's all that counts." Mother moved over to the antique armoire which was in our family for over a century.
It was the only item she kept from her own bedroom when she was young girl. It had a mahogany finish with beautiful gold handles. Around the doors were carvings in the shape of vines. She ran her hand across the old relic and opened the bottom drawer. She adjusted the back wall to reveal an extra space. I never knew there was a hidden area in the back. To my amazement, she lifted out a box of white candles before she advanced over to the mantel. Mother lit five candles and lowered her head. She moved over to the window, mumbled in what sounded like a different language, and then returned to my bedside as calm as could be.
"She had on an old-fashioned dress with a lace, hoop skirt," I said. I closed my eyes for a moment and tried to remember more details. "It had a wide sash around the waist, and she wore high top shoes. She floated in mid-air." I moved to hang my legs over the bed.
"You must have been terrified," Mark said.
"Was she someone you know?"he asked. Mark glanced around the room for clues.
"She looked like Aunt Mary." After I made an attempt to place her. I felt a chill. It became as cold as the outdoors in my room. "It was Aunt Mary!" I cupped my hand over my mouth.
Mother peeked over her shoulder and recited a strange chant.



Author Kathleen Gallenger's

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good news

Starting today, The Sweater Curse paperback is available at Miners' Bay Books on Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada.



Readers on Salt Spring Island will have to wait until Friday to buy their copy from ArtCraft gallery (in Mahon Hall).




I was up most of the night being secretary to my muse. She has such awesome ideas for the final chapters of Turning--my work in progress.




Slight confusion on my part. The song and story circle on this Saturday requests stories of island life. This isn't an appropriate venue for Turning. For this reason, I will not be reading at this event. However, free not as there is another venue available-July 8th. I will try again and hopefully this venue will be appropriate.


This Friday author Kathleen Gallagher will be visiting this blog.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Staying Encouraged During Querying

Author Elizabeth S. Craig wrote a helpful post for Author Karen Walker's blog Following the Whispers. In this post, she shared strategies for staying positive while querying. Here's the link
Thanks to Tweeter I found it. Now, thanks to blogger I like to reply to Ms. Craig.
Thank you for this helpful advice.
How do I cope?
As well as employing many of the strategies you have listed I...
-remember past successes and marvel at how far I've come in such a short time.
-remember that not everyone (reader, agent or publisher) is going to love everything I write, but they are my words. They have power. I try to seek validation from within.
-remember that writing and submitting takes courage. Each obstacle I encounter makes me stronger.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Knitting: the long and short of altering the sweater

Spring Garden is worked from the bottom up so adjusting the length is very easy. For a longer sweater body, simply keep knitting. For a shorter sweater body, simply stop knitting sooner. The Standards & Guidelines for Crochet and Knitting (compiled by Craft Yarn Council of America) lists hip length as 6" (15 cm) down form waist. Tunic length 11" (28 cm) down from waist.
Sleeves too can be altered. Cap sleeves work for 2". Short sleeves work for 4". T-shirt sleeves 8". Long sleeves 18".
Would you like a deeper neck line? Currently the neck line is 3 inches deep. 5 inches makes a nice deep neck line. In order to deepen the neck line you need to start shaping the neck sooner. You need to calculate when to start the neck. For example, say I want to work a sweater that will be 20 inches long.
20 - 5 = 15 inches
Now I know that I will need to start shaping the neck after working the sweater for 15 inches.
"Deeper, deeper, deeper," You chant.
Sure, why not.
20 - 8 = 12 inches
Contrarily, if you want a more swallow neck line.
20 - 2 = 18 inches
To summarize, simply subtract the neck line from the sweater body length--this will give you the number of inches you will need to work before starting to shape the neck line.
This pattern is found here
What other fun can we have with this sweater? Find out next Monday.
***
Today I'm visiting Anne K. Albert's blog
Next post: In answer to a very interesting blog post: Encouraging during querying

Friday, June 10, 2011

Please welcome Author Bri Clark

How/why did you start to write?
Because the voices in my head wouldn't shut up. No seriously it was a way of therapy...Turns out some people call it a talent.

How did you become an author?
I just kept reading and writing. Then I got my break with Astraea Press and Stone House Ink.

What was your first published piece?
The Familial Witch

Where was it published?
Astraea Press

How long ago?
1 year

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
I was a realtor/office manager. It has helped as far as being organized and multitasking...and working with a phone.

What inspires you?
I am surrounded by other authors via social media and they keep me going.

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques?
Having a consistent blog schedule with worthwhile content.

Parting words...
Thank you so much for having me and I love interacting with others so if you see me on Facebook or Twitter say hi.
(Thank you, Bri. It was fun. And we will definitely chat and tweet)

Author Bri Clark's links...
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Glazer buy link...Realeasing in June
Book Trailer link



Marie Kincaid suffering the greatest loss a woman can know runs from the pain. Falling asleep deep within the forest she awakes in an infirmary with a loss of memory and a power, she's always possessed yet never known: Glazier. Glazier enables Marie to embark on a new life free of pain but most importantly free of the past. Heightened senses, accelerated strength, speed, and learning abilities make Marie a perfect candidate to be a spy...also a perfect companion for Henry Tenison...the only other known Glazier.

Henry, a loner and proud rogue finds his world upended when his connection to Marie is forged through Galzier. Unsure of how to progress with any relationship with her he endeavors to keep it strictly platonic and professional. As far away, missions and romantic surroundings entice him into pursuing his deeper desires he caves. However, Marie's love changes everything.

Determined to free them both of the spy world and hold Abram their superior has over them Henry implements a plot to disappear. However, when things become dangerous in their latest mission, their first undercover, and memories of Marie's past surface suggesting another man...will Henry's efforts prove to come too late? If Marie remembers her past, will she still want their future?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

radomly blogging Thursday

Today I'm here but not really here.
To this my husband would add, "What's new."
But disregard him.
So, where am I, if I'm not here.
Well, today I took an ocean cruise to Mayne Island's big sister island--Salt Spring Island.
So, why am I there and here?
It all has to do with this bag.

Intrigued?
Here have a look inside...


This is the inventory I'm delivering to Salt Spring Island seasonal gallery--ArtCraft.
My art is: writing, knitwear design
My craft is: knitting, books
I feel right at home in beautiful ArtCraft.
***
Something else is on my mind. It's something you could possibly help me with.
I've written a new blurb for Turning
"Lyndi Wimpel is from rural Manitoba, she is the youngest in her family, she was born to overprotective parents, she suffers from low self-esteem and has dyslexia.
Do these words define her or can she fulfill her dreams to transcend them and become something else? If so, how? If so, what?"
Do you think that sounds better than the last one I shared with you? I know it's hard to tell without reading the book. I guess what I'm looking for is if you can see the conflict and if you are intrigued by the story.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Photojournalism report from Bloody Words

We arrive at the Hotel Grand Pacific--site of the Bloody Words writers' conference
Bloody Words is the largest gathering of crime writers--and related genre--in Canada.



Me


I attended this conference with my friend Amber Harvey. She has an informative post regarding the conference on her blog.



Conference organizer Lou Allin prepares to introduce William Deverell



Canadian author William Deverell is interviewed by Adrain Chamberlain

Some of what I learned...

-write what you know

-don't be afriad to junk great chapters if they don't fit

-to be a successful author you have to want it really badly

-read a lot

-learn the craft

-William Deverell begins each day by re-writting

-don't wait for your muse

-avoid overwriting

-use an outline to guide you

-get to know your characters


Grant McKenzie interviewed the international guest of honour Tess Gerritsen

'medicial suspense queen' -publisher weekly

Some of what I learned...

-readers want to know secrets

-to write well you need to read a lot

-find an emotional charge to ignite your story

-half-way through writing your story you'll want to walk away--don't

Remember: you can fix a bad page, but not a blank page

-successful authors need to write a book a year (at least)

-there's no one right way to write--what works for you works for you

Michael Slade's Shock Theatre

a recreation of 1940s radio play

You: So, Leanne, how did your literary agent interview go?

Me: Thanks for asking. I wrote a post revealing all for the Decadent Publishing's blog

***

Also today, I'm visiting Author Stephanie Willimas' blog


Monday, June 6, 2011

Knitting Spring Garden

Late again today. I was busy working on my WIP.
Thanks to my meeting last weekend with a literary agent, I now know that Turning is a YA. One of the things I worked on this morning was a new blurb for this work.

Lyndi Wimpel is bored she wants a boyfriend, an adventure, a life.
Flipping through a magazine she spies an ad for a youth group. She wants to join.
What stands in her way?
Lyndi's mother, fearful for Lyndi's safety, wants her to stay close to home.
Lyndi has her own doubts. She feels that dyslexia has rendered her stupid and socially inept.
What will Lyndi do?

This week promises to be interesting.
Wednesday and Thursday I will be on Salt Spring Island delivering my inventory to ArtCraft.
Saturday I will be sitting a booth at Mayne Island's farmer's market.
This morning I reached a word count of 49, 958 words on Turning.

Today, let's talk a little more about knitting Spring Garden
Access knitting instructions here


One thing you need to determine is your size.
This top is designed to have a ease of about two inches. This simply means that if you have a breast size of 46" than you should use the instructions listed for size 48".
Once you have identified your size. Use a highlighter to mark all the information that pretains to your size.
Happy knitting,
Leanne
***

Next post: come with me to Bloody Words

Friday, June 3, 2011

Please welcome Author Maureen Betita

How/why did you start to write?
I'd always wanted to be a writer. I often thought of myself as a writer who hadn't begun to write. Then one day, I started writing.

How did you become an author?
Nice distinction! I'd always dreamt of being published and after a near death experience I decided rejection from an editor wasn't so bad...and began to query. Two years later I had an agent offer me representation, within months I had an offer, and then a book published.
Much easier than almost dying.

What was your first published piece?
The Kraken's Mirror, in January of this year. Then two sci fi erotic shorts, The Ship's Mistress and The Sister's Story. My publisher signed on for the rest of the kraken's Caribbean trilogy a few months ago, so I expect The Chameleon Goggles to be out in the fall, followed by The Pirate Circus before the end of the year.
Yup! Been a banner year!

Where was it published?
Decadent Publishing

How long ago?
Is there an echo in here? :-) January, this year, 2011.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
I've worn many hats... Worked in fast food, a hand bindery at a big print shop, telephone directory assistance, newspaper delivery, and bookstore sales clerk. The last was helpful I think when it came to considering marketing, genre classification, even whether I wanted a penname. And someday, all those years working in a metaphysical bookstore will be fodder for a story...fascinating place to work.

What inspires you?
Dreams and what ifs. Many of my stories came from that wonderful place between waking up and still being asleep. When the mind is still dancing to the tune of Morpheus and the imagination is playing like the bell to end recess is nigh...
And the what if game...I do love that game!

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques
Well, I'm not sure what works yet. I'm still trying out so many things. From my point of view, I loved making buttons and giving them away at the Romantic Times Booklover Convention. And I have plenty still, so they are going to conventions and being left out to be picked up here and there. I sent 50 to a convention in Australia and will be inserting them into the swag bag at Moonlight and Magnolias...
As for simply what gets feedback...my "Where Did the Kraken Go?" contest has been a lot of fun. Asking people to post sightings of my missing kraken has been amazing. I loved the responses I got!

Parting words
Pirates. Ice cream. Caribbean. Chocolate.
Oh, you wanted me to make sense?
Thought you just wanted favourite words.
Okay, well...never pass up the opportunity to do something where you have to dress up in a costume.

The Kraken's Mirror--blurb

Treated by our youth-orientated society as invisible and sexless Emily Pawes attends a pirate festival to recapture the make believe magic she knew as a young woman. She wins an interesting bit of booty at a bric-a-brac stand. The Kraken's mirror is a magical portal and transports her to a land of Hollywood piratitude, where swashbuckling heroes own iPods. With little choice, she embraces the madness, deciding she'll play pirate until she figures out how to get home. Or wakes up in a padded cell.

Instead of men in little white costs, she encounters the handsome Captain Alan Silvestri. He is a man haunted by a strange curse. Good luck is his to command, but it comes at the cost of any place to call home or people to call family. Resigned to die shunned by all, forced to sail every three days, he begins to dream of a special woman.

When they meet, sparks fly, passion flares. He needs her to be free, but more than that, he needs her to be whole. They set sail, uncertain of who has control of the wheel, seeking to defeat his curse of good luck and discover all the Kraken's mirror plans for them.



The Chameleon Goggles--blurb


Captain Jezebel came to the Kraken's Caribbean thirty years ago, a fiery young girl of fifteen with more nightmares than six adults. Born and raised on the capitalistic steampunk world of Novan, she left all the fifth and terror behind to become a pirate captain with her own ship. And she flourishes in her new role. Until the day an offhand comment about a zeppelin in the sky above the bay of Tortuga brings all her fears to the surface. Jezebel's past isn't dead after all and will soon come rushing to destroy her and all she has built.


Mick has spent the last fifteen years of Jezebel's side. He knows her better than she knows herself. Save for the secrets she keeps. When her behavior changes overnight he is determined to uncover what troubles his woman. What he discovers doesn't surprise him; he suspected her wounds ran deep. But the enemies at them both present a challenge that could tear them apart.


Novan has come for their lost daughter and all her stolen inventions, especially the cameleon goggles. What can a 17th century pirate ship do against a military airship? Even with the great Albino Kraken at their side?


Author links


Facebook: Maureen O. Betita author

Twitter: Maureen O. Betita

Blogging as 2nd Chance on The Romance Writers Revenge, www.romancewritersrevenge.com

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Randomly blogging Thursday

What's on my mind today...


Meeting with a literary agent


Take time to consider why you want to work with a literary agent.


This is a new publishing age. It's no longer necessary for an author to develop the traditional relationships with a publisher or literary agent.


Why do I want to?


As I am new to the publishing industry, it would be nice to work with someone who knows their way around.

Once finished, I want to bring Turning (my WIP) to the largest audience possible.


How did I prepare for this meeting?


I asked more experienced authors for advise.

I used a search engine to research the literary agent.

I visited the Preditors and editors site. This site lists agents and gives information regarding their illegitimacy.

I worked on my presentation. This was the most daunting task. I wanted to fairly represent myself in terms of my past success, my current project and my future goals. I have to do all of this in fifteen minutes.

I presented my presentation to my writers' group. An hour later, they suggested I revise and use cue cards.

I revised. I'm proud to report my presentation is now seven minutes long.

I did additional research. Fearful that I'd forgotten something, I read writers' magazines.

I developed questions to ask the literary agent.

Are we a good fit?

I'll let you know what happens.


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Next post: Please welcome author Maureen Betita

Saturday's post: Barbara Elsborg's new book

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#Podcast author reading

Who's reading?
Me
What am I reading?
Chapter 4 Part 2 of The Sweater Curse










Please take another helping here.



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Next post: It's going to be a surprise to me too. Hopefully I'll think of something.