A Tons-Of-Fun Interview with Cindy Dorminy: Author of Left Hanging

Hey there writerly peeps! Some exciting stuff is on the horizon, and today I’m tickled pink to do another interview with Cindy in honor of her adult contemporary romance releasing today, Left Hanging.

First, a little about the book:

As a nurse and single mom, Darla Battle hides her loneliness behind a smile. But when she discovers that the new cute doctor everyone is talking about is her daughter’s father, she knows she needs to keep her distance from the man who abandoned her and their child, Stella.

When Theo Edwards returns to Nashville to finish his medical training, he never expects to run into Darla, a girl he spent one night with seven years ago. For reasons he can’t fathom, her attitude toward him is frosty, but he still hopes to ignite the spark they once felt.

Once Darla realizes Theo doesn’t know he’s Stella’s father, she has no idea how to tell him the truth. And the longer she waits, the more difficult it becomes. When the situation spins out of control, can the two come together for the sake of their daughter? Or is forgiveness out of reach?

If you like your romance sweet and dripping with voice, trust me: this is a novel you must read.  Cindy spins a yarn that’s fuzzy (the warm kind), funny, and keeps you turning the pages to see just what these love-crazy fools will be put through next.

Without further delay, THE INTERVIEW!!!!
1)      Theo and Darla both appreciate The Force. Which Star Wars characters would they be and why?

Theo is definitely Obie-Wan Kenobi (the young, Ewan McGregor Obi). He’s wise, young, and believes deeply in a higher force. Darla would be Padme Amidala. At a young age, she had to be strong and think of others in all her actions. And, unfortunately, Isaac would be Jar-Jar Binks (sorry Isaac).

2)      Games play a major role in the course of the story. What board game would Theo be? And Darla? Why?

Theo would be Clue because he is completely clueless at times.

Darla would be Guess Who? Their false identities made a mess of things for years.

3)      As medical professionals, Theo and Darla drink enormous amounts of coffee. If they were beverages at Starbucks, what would they be and why?

Since Theo has type I diabetes, he has to be careful about what he eats and drinks. He would order an iced Americano. It only has 3 grams of carbs and no added sugars (and a lot of caffeine). Darla would order Cupcake Creme Frappuccino. It would be a real treat for her to even go to a Starbucks, so when does get to spend some money on herself, it would something fun.

4)      Which love song best describes Theo and Darla’s relationship? Now take the title and replace the noun with “Monopoly.” What’s their song called NOW?

I’m cheating and using a pronoun. It would be a song from Bryan Adams: Everything I do, I do it for Monopoly!! That sounds so much like Theo.

5)      Speaking of Monopoly, the gamemakers are changing out the thimble for something cooler. What would Theo want to replace the piece with? And Darla?

Theo would replace it with a miniature R2D2. Darla would replace it with a nurses hat.

6)      Isaac, while well intentioned, causes some drama throughout the book. If he were to be given his own soap opera, what would the title be? (Would Darla watch it? Be honest!)

Without even having to think about it, Isaac would definitely be a regular on The Bold and the Beautiful. Darla would watch (cringing the entire time) because that’s what best friends do.

7)      Theo’s siblings get all up in his business, because that’s what family does. If his family were to participate in a game show, which would they have the best chance of winning?

Family Feud. No doubt about it. They can work together and their differences could result in some pretty crazy answers.

8)      If Darla was a shade of lipstick, what color would she be? Why?, nurturer, and not flashy.

She would Bur’s Bees lip balm. She’s a protector

9)      You knew I was gonna ask this, but does Theo wear boxers or briefs?

Definitely boxers! He’s a loosey-goosey kind of guy. And since he’s just finished med school, I bet they are quite old (no time or money to shop). In fact, they are probably the same ones he wore when he met Darla (clean, I’m sure!!)

10)   Risk is a game typically either loved or hated: Where do Theo and Darla stand on the matter?

How ironic. I’ve written Tommy’s story (Theo’s brother). Tommy LOVES Risk. His family hates it. He has to bribe them with his awesome baked goodies to get them to play with him. So, it’s safe to say Theo and Darla do NOT like Risk. It’s too serious.

11)   If Liam Neeson and Chuck Norris got into a fist fight, who would Theo and Darla put their money on?

That’s a tough one. Not many people can beat Chuck, but I think Theo and Darla would put money on Liam Neeson. He was Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Aslan beats Chuck every day of the week.

12)   Oh no! Aliens are invading! Quick, what do Theo and Darla grab to protect themselves (and little Stella)?

Darla would grab Yeti, her fierce Chihuahua. He would protect her against anything, no matter how big or scary. Theo would probably grab his diabetic kit. Maybe the alien’s sugar level is tanking and a quick injection of Glucagon would turn him into a human again.

 

Thank you so much, Cindy! As always, you’re a hoot! And a million congrats!

To buy Left Hanging , click here. To find it on Goodreads, click here. To learn more about Cindy, click here.

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Blitz Book Tour: CATALYST by Kristin Smith

Hey there, Writerly Friends! I’m excited to be a stop on this Xpresso Book Tour to highlight and get y’all excited about Kristin Smith’s YA Dystopian novel, CATALYST. Read on for some teasers and a chance to win the Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box! (Say that ten times fast.)

caralyst

(Gorgeous cover, isn’t it? Now let’s get dig in! And if you didn’t read that in the same voice as Jane The Virgin’s narrator, then you are missing out.)

Synopsis:

Too pretty.
Too smart.
Too perfect.

In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teenagers, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she’s ever known and loved changes in an instant.

With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she’s falling for as bait.

In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who’s too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most.

Catalyst is a thrilling adventure of danger, romance, intrigue, and deception.

Purchase:
GIVEAWAY:
CLICK HERE to enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win the Clean Teen Mystery Box. Hurry: the last day to enter is December 1st!
AUTHOR BIO:
kristin
Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.

You can find Kristin at these places: 

 

EXCERPT:

 

 

I scoot to the wall and watch the GM girls in their fancy apparel—gaudy blue sequins, diamond-studded bodices, and red taffeta skirts. They talk in groups, sway to the music, and chat with their handsome GM matches, while their parents monitor their interactions from across the room. From what I understand about GMs, the amount of time they spend with their future match is minimal. Seems as if Zane and Arian are the exception; I don’t think they’d ever even met until today.

 

A cascade of illustrious, golden hair mocks me from across the room. Rayne turns around, smiling wide, her gown barely covering all of her important parts. I try not to gape at her exposed belly and the slit in her dress. It comes up so high it shows off the entire length of one long, perfectly sculpted leg. I only hope she’s wearing panties underneath.

This is a different lifestyle. A completely different way of thinking. These people have had things handed to them on a silver platter, while my family lives day to day. If I don’t work, we don’t eat. If I don’t bring home money, we have no place to live. And if I don’t kill Harlow, I’ll never see my mother again.

Hot tears sting the back of my eyes when I think of my mom lying on a hard, cold surface somewhere, alone and scared. This is my fault. This is all my fault. If I had never taken the assignment to steal the computer chip, none of this would have happened. Because of my stupidity, I’ve placed all that I have left in this world in danger. And I don’t know how to make it right other than by killing Harlow Ryder.

I hurry over to the veranda and step outside. Thankfully, it’s empty except for some large potted plants and a few wrought-iron tables.

The tears I’m holding in fall on the white balustrade as my mind churns with unanswered questions. How did I get mixed up in all of this? What did my father know that made him a threat to Harlow Ryder? How could he leave us in such a position?

The door opens behind me, and I quickly wipe the tears away.

A melodic voice speaks. “Sienna? Are you okay?”

 

I regret telling him my name. Why did I use my real name?

Be charming, Sienna. That’s how women at these parties act. Charming.

 

I turn slowly and find Zane staring at me. He looks every bit the part of the Chromo 120 poster child in his expensive black tuxedo.

***

Exciting stuff, right? Personally, I’m excited to see the Dystopian train pulling back into the trend station, so I can’t wait to crack open a copy of CATALYST:) Congrats, Kristin!

 

 

Ghost Blog

Yeah, so you might have noticed I haven’t been blogging lately. It’s a long story, but the short version is: my kids and I did all the things this summer and I have no regrets. Perhaps you’re thinking, but Jym, your blog has become a ghost blog. And you’d be right.

Speaking of ghosts though, you ought to head over to Jolene Haley’s blog and check out my short haunted hotel story. It’s a screaming good time. (Also, it’s hardly spooky. Because I scare easily!) I hope you enjoy it:)

Oh, and I’ll do my best to not neglect this blog in the future.

An Out Of The Box Interview with Tuned Into You author, Cindy Dorminy

Writerly friends, I am pleased as punch to participate in this blog tour and even more pleased to share this Out Of The Box interview with my CP and Bestie, Cindy Dorminy. As per her request, the questions were off the wall, abnormal, and had nothing to do with writing. Enjoy!

Ten Off-The-Wall Questions with Cindy Dorminy

Thanks, Jymie, for shaking it up a bit. These questions were so much fun to answer. Thanks for being a part of my special day.

1)    What are Abe and Lydia’s spirit animals? Why?

Abe would be a toucan. Toucans are the most popular bird, very colorful and seen as conduits between the worlds of the living and the spirits.

Lydia would be a pygmy shark. A pygmy shark is one of the smallest sharks in the ocean. For their size they are pretty fierce.

2)   Does Abe wear boxers or briefs? (This says a lot about the guy!)

He’s a boxer-brief kind of guy. Probably a different color for every day.

3)    Let’s pretend Lydia has upset a witch and now she’s been transformed into a piece of jewelry. What kind of jewelry would she be and why?

Lydia would be a simple silver necklace with a cross on it. She is a preacher’s kid, after all.

4)     If Lydia and Abe were elements on the period table, what would they be?

Abe would be Pt – platinum because of the number of albums he sells.

Lydia would be Ti – titanium because it’s a tough metal and very small mass.

5)    If Abe were to write a (short) song about dinosaurs, what would the lyrics be?

(I had to get help from the lyric master in the family)

We own the earth ain’t no doubt

When we bite you you gon’ shout

With our little bitty arms and our great big head

You better be glad that we’re all dead

6)    There’s a part in Tuned Into You where Abe’s horse gives birth to a pony: If Lydia and Abe were transformed into characters for My Little Pony, what would their cutesy names be?

Abe would be Dream Note. He’s musical and all the girls think he’s dreamy.

Lydia would be Lightning Rider. She’s fast as lightning both on the field and with her snarky personality.

7)    Which ride(s) at Disney World would make Lydia and Abe lose their lunches?

Probably It’s a Small World.  That song would get stuck in their ears until they spewed their fairy tale lunch. It’s a good thing Cinderella didn’t ride with them.  And Lydia’s so short, she may not be tall enough to ride some of the big roller coasters.

8)      If Abe and Lydia were cupcake flavors, what would they be? Don’t forget the frosting!

Abe would be Rich Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting. It’s yummy and only one bite is enough to fall in love with it. It would have a tiny bit of red sprinkles on it just to stand out.

Lydia would be strawberry shortcake flavored cupcake. Vanilla cupcake because on the outside, she’s average looking. On the inside it would be strawberry filling. Once you get to know Lydia, she’s real yummy. And her personality would be the strawberry butter cream frosting.

9)     If a taco and grilled cheese sandwich got into a fistfight, who would Abe and Lydia put their money on?

They would both lose to BBQ. Nothing beats a big ole plate of Tennessee BBQ.

10) Quick! Zombies are coming! Abe and Lydia grab what items to save their lives?

Lydia would definitely grab her baseball bat to smack the crap out of the zombies. I think Abe would grab his guitar and try to serenade them to death.

 

Tuned Into You by Cindy Dorminy is available NOW! To celebrate, Cindy has put together a very cool swag pack, so stay tuned for more information on that! For now, let’s talk Tuned…

 

A summer party is the last place Lydia Flowers wants to be. Beer pong? Stupid, foot-wrecking shoes? Random hookups? No thanks. Lydia would rather be in her cleats practicing her bat handling skills.

Enter Abe Fischer, the Nashville Teen Idol superstar. He’s a lip-syncing party animal with a short fuse; or at least that’s what the tabloids say. Except, Abe turns out to be nothing like the guy Lydia’s read about online. He’s sweet, and the way he talks to his horse…sigh.

Then life throws Lydia and Abe a curveball. They are wrongfully arrested for destruction of property. Their choices? Either work on the Fischer Farm for the summer earning nothing more than blisters and a sunburn, or have the arrest go on their records, which would ruin Lydia’s shot at a softball scholarship. It’s a no-brainer. Lydia picks up a pitchfork, pulls out the SPF 40, and prepares for the worst two months of her life.

When the press gets wind of a big secret Abe’s family has been keeping, things become even more complicated. Now Lydia has another choice to make: stick around for Abe’s messed-up life in the spotlight, or go for the scholarship of her dreams.

 

About Cindy Dorminy

 

Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can’t let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories. When she’s not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way. She shares her house with her musician husband, her awesome daughter, and a cool, four-footed child that would eat all the cheese ifshe could figure out how to open the refrigerator. Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Romance Writers. She resides in Nashville, TN where live music can be heard everywhere, even at the grocery store.

 

Click here to Buy It Now. You know you want to:)

Or

Click to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway: Enter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bookish Fun: It’s Finally Ironic

So, between my laptop being in the shop for weeks, and being busy with FicFest edits, I haven’t blogged much. My apologies, you few but loyal followers of mine. Anyhow, my husband sent me this YouTube video because I needed a laugh, and now I’m sharing it with you. I did not make this video, I don’t have any rights to said video, and all that jazz. So don’t sue me. Just enjoy it.

My Journey to FicFest: Or “Why you shouldn’t let failure keep you down.”

Today has been strangely normal for me. I don’t know why I thought being selected as a FicFest mentee would change any of my day-to-day things, but deep down I did. Because this? Winning or going on to the next round? This is completely new. Last year I entered ALL THE CONTESTS. All of them, and didn’t get a single line of feedback. It was heartbreaking, and I thought maybe I wasn’t good enough to do this.

That’s right friends. Two months ago, I was on the verge of quitting.

Nothing seemed to be going right. I had queried my YA historical fantasy for over a year before it got a full request (before that? Just  form rejections and crickets.), I’d shelved two previous manuscripts (a starter one that will hopefully never see the light of day, and the MS that was just selected for FicFest. More on that in a minute), and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Was my writing so terrible? Was my MS a trope from cover to cover with a bunch of cliches strung together? Why wasn’t my MS gaining attention? What was I going to do if this dream never came true?

I started to feel guilty. I have four kids and a husband that’s almost never around, and here I was spending EVERY spare second writing books no one wanted to look at. Was I wasting my time? How much time was I WILLING to spend chasing this impossible dream? I asked for a sign. In desperation, I begged for something, anything to show me what to do next.

Then my laptop broke. Yep, a hard drive fail right in the middle of a massive overhaul of aforementioned YA historical fantasy, and I thought, “That’s one heck of a sign.” Guess I’m done. And I cried, and I tried to tell all the characters living inside me to go away. And I read even more than usual and tried not to let the beautiful words inspire me to try again.

Three weeks later, my laptop was returned. My husband happened to be home and put as many of my word documents back onto my computer as he could. He’d backed it up sometime before, and while all my new things were gone, those two previously shelved manuscripts remained.

Finally the characters boiling under my skin won, and I decided I needed to keep trying. Even though I had no real reason to believe I would succeed, I sat down and got back to work. I couldn’t deal with my fantasy. (It’s something I believe in, but just can’t face right now.) I didn’t know what to do except to pull out my NA Contemporary Romance, the second MS I had shelved, and try to revise it. I cut thousands of words. ( I won’t even tell you how many because that thing was embarrassingly long.) I restructured the story line. Made each of the characters’ voices as different as possible. For weeks, I bled into this revision, the way I’d bled into the story when I wrote it the first time, and I was in love with it again.

Then that something I asked for a sign came back to me and said, “Hey look. FicFest opens this weekend. Enter.” And I told the something it was stupid. It had given me a BLATANT sign that I was to quit and I do what I want. And the something was like, “No. I wanted you to stop that story and pick back up the other. It’s the right time, and you have the right tools to tell it now. Enter.”

So I did. My CP (Hey Cindy!) helped me pull together a query and a synopsis, I finished my crazy rewrites and entered. I thought maybe I’ll get some feedback. Maybe it’ll be like all the other contests and I’ll come up empty handed. But I had to try.

Imagine my muppet flailing when I got a request for a partial from one mentor, then a request for a full a few days later, from a different mentor. I still tried not to get my hopes up. And yes, I know there were only 35 entries in the NA category, so my math brain kept shouting, “That’s a one in four chance of getting picked! One in three if you count the alternates!” And I told math brain to shut up. I didn’t want to be hurt again.

Then something wonderful happened. The amazing Vanessa Rodriguez selected me as her mentee, and my hands went numb, and I cried. The something came back and said, “I told you so. Follow your gut. Work hard. You’ll get there.”

This is just one part of my writing journey. But it’s the first part that feels like success. I wanted to share it with you, because I KNOW how hard it is when you come out of the other side of a contest empty handed and not selected. I know that tears are shed, and questions are asked, and you feel like packing it all in and never writing again. But you can’t stop. And you shouldn’t! If I had quit two months ago, I wouldn’t be here, selected and on my way to an agent round. It’s not even a sure thing that I will land an agent out of this, but I never would have known how much interest this MS could generate, if I had let my disappointments stop me.

So from me to you, writer to writer, friend to friend- DON’T QUIT. You can do it. Just keep going and you will get there. If your stories live in your skin like they do mine, then you have to push on until you get your chance to share them with the world.

Write on, friends.

Cover Reveal: Tuned Into You by Cindy Dorminy

There aren’t words to describe how excited I am about today. I’m so please and humbled to be apart of this cover reveal because, not only is this going to be a fantastic book, but Cindy happens to be one of my good friends and critique partner. So, without any further preamble………… TA-DA!

Tuned Into You

Isn’t it just the best?????? And here’s the blurb:

A summer party is the last place Lydia Flowers wants to be. Beer pong? Stupid, foot-wrecking shoes? Random hookups? No thanks. Lydia would rather be in her cleats practicing her bat handling skills.

Enter Abe Fischer, the Nashville Teen Idol superstar. He’s a lip-syncing party animal with a short fuse; or at least that’s what the tabloids say. Except, Abe turns out to be nothing like the guy Lydia’s read about online. He’s sweet, and the way he talks to his horse…sigh.

Then life throws Lydia and Abe a curveball. They are wrongfully arrested for destruction of property. Their choices? Either work on the Fischer Farm for the summer earning nothing more than blisters and a sunburn, or have the arrest go on their records, which would ruin Lydia’s shot at a softball scholarship. It’s a no-brainer. Lydia picks up a pitchfork, pulls out the SPF 40, and prepares for the worst two months of her life.

When the press gets wind of a big secret Abe’s family has been keeping, things become even more complicated. Now Lydia has another choice to make: stick around for Abe’s messed-up life in the spotlight, or go for the scholarship of her dreams.

You can find Tuned Into You on Goodreads.

And here’s a bit about my bestie and the fabulous author:

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Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can’t let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories.

When she’s not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way. She shares her house with her musician husband, her awesome daughter, and a cool, four-footed child that would eat all the cheese if she could figure out how to open the refrigerator.

Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Romance Writers. She resides in Nashville, TN where live music can be heard everywhere, even at the grocery store.

Due to some technical difficulties, I’m unable to post the link to the raffle-copter for the chance to win a $25 iTunes gift card so be sure to check out either Kelly Hopkins  (https://khopkinswriter.wordpress.com/) or Monica Hoffman’s  (http://www.mmhoffmanbooks.com/) blogs to get the details!

CONGRATS CINDY!!!!!!

The cover reveal is hosted by Lola’s Blog Tours:

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A Firsthand Look at Subjectivity

As writers, we’re told A LOT about how subjective this business is. “Keep trying, someone else might really like this.” “Strong writing but it’s not for me.” The variations on “Thanks, but no thanks” are endless. Sometimes, you’re left scratching your head and going, “Okay, but how do I fix it? WHAT do I need to fix actually? IS there anything to fix or has this just not crossed the right agent/editor’s desk yet?”

Well, up until this last month, I’d been pretty down on my manuscript and hating the very mention of the word “subjective.” No one seemed to like what I was doing and therefore, it couldn’t REALLY be that subjective if every contest entry/twitter pitch/query sent out resulted in a “Not for me.”

Then enter Pitch to Publication and three fantastic editors that, despite not selecting me for the contest, gave me some pretty great feedback. And maybe without meaning to they also gave me an insight on JUST how subjective this business really is. Let me preface: I’ve entered pretty much every writing contest in the last year and to this point had received not so much as a sentence as to why no one wanted to look at anything more than a page of my MS. I had no idea if I was cut first or last, had no idea if maybe I was closer than I thought to getting in or maybe I sucked so badly I ought to quit and take up a different passion.

Without naming names, let’s take a look at the feedback I was given ON THE EXACT SAME ENTRY by three different editors:

Editor #1- She actually told me I was one of her favorite pitches. She didn’t care for my MC and she hadn’t read enough in my sub-genre to feel like she could best edit this, but hoped someone else picked me. In fact, she wanted a time machine so she could go back, read the books sitting on her shelf in my genre so she could pick me, but since that’s not possible, she hopes I’ll either hire her or enter again in October for the next P2P. (I was flattered. Especially about the time machine. Keep this in mind as we read on.)

Editor #2- This editor felt I had great voice, pacing, and she LOVED my MC. But my concept in the query was muddled, not succinct, and therefore she couldn’t connect with my project. I ended up on her short list. (And keep this in mind as you read even further.)

Editor #3- She liked my concept but thought I had issues with voice, pacing, and my MS would need more work than the allotted month for the contest. (If I had to guess, I did NOT make this editor’s short list.)

Okay. So did you catch that? I’ve read this feedback over and over… and it’s really subjective isn’t it? One editor loved my MC, while another liked everything BUT my MC. One thought I had fantastic voice and pacing, while another thought I had issues with both. One, if she’d read enough in my genre, thought the issues with my MS could have been fixed in a month and might have picked my entry, while the another thought it’d need more time.

You know what I loved about this though? Even though they said different, contradictory things I learned SO MUCH from this experience. Like: I’m getting closer than I thought I was. I ended up on two short lists, which is something I wouldn’t have known if the editors hadn’t said as much. I’d still be in “Well, I didn’t get picked but am I getting better?” mode. I learned that even though my MS has some definite issues, it also has potential. LOTS of it. So I have to keep going. I also learned that THIS is the reason you don’t accept and use every piece of feedback you’re given, because what works for one MS might not for another, and HOW ON EARTH COULD I IMPLEMENT SUCH DIFFERENT FEEDBACK?????

(A good rule of thumb for feedback: One person says it, it’s an opinion. Two people say it and you might need to look into it. Three or more people say it, it’s an issue.)

So once I had this feedback, I did what they say you’re supposed to do: I sat on it. I thought about it from every angle, asked for some impartial third party advice (HI LANA!) on what I could do to improve, and I played around (in thought only) about what changes I would make if I agreed and accepted certain aspect of my feedback.

And guess what happened? I had a breakthrough. Suddenly, I saw that ALL the editors (Plus other betas and CPs) were right about different things, and I knew how to fix it.

Some people didn’t like my MC because, as I came to realize with my ‘muddled’ concept, she wasn’t the true MC and was difficult to relate to. I’d told my story from a limited perspective (which is why I’m adding a few more POVs and changing many of the existing scenes to a different character’s POV), I’d focused on the wrong story arc (which is why the pacing was off), and I’d pushed so much of what made my story unique into the background that what was front and center felt too common, which is why it wasn’t gaining interest.

In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t make it into P2P. It definitely will take more than a month to correct this, and now I’m free to recreate as much of the story as I need to, and have an opportunity to fully realize the new vision for my novel. Of course, a tiny part of me is sad that I went from something almost ready to query, to something that’s going to be In Progress for a while still, but my novel will be the better for it.

I’m so grateful for my failures, as well as the feedback from these editors, my CPs and Betas, and I’m grateful for the chance to do this story right- the way it deserved to be told all along.

You know what else I’m grateful for? Subjectivity. Because while my project might not be right for everyone, it will be exactly right for someone, and that someone will make all the difference.

Write on, Friends…

Comparing: STOP IT!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have a big problem. I tend to compare my writing journey with those of my peers, and it results in nothing but depression, self-loathing, and serious doubt in my writing abilities. This is clearly not a good thing, and I need to stop it. If you’re doing it, you need to stop it too.

Really. Because if you’ve read about any handful of famous authors, you’ll see their journeys are as different as their writing styles. For example:

Both Veronica Roth and Stephanie Meyers wrote, found an agent for, and sold their books within a 5-6 month period. Meanwhile Kathryn Stockett queried for 3 YEARS before finding representation.

Nicholas Sparks got an offer of representation with the first query he sent, while Stephen King talks about having enough rejections that he had to nail them to the wall with a spike.

J.K. Rowling spent the better part of 6 years writing the first Harry Potter book, and it was out on submission for a year before finding a home at Bloomsbury. (Did you know, Rowling said there were times she HATED her book while she was editing it? HATED it. Can you imagine?)

As you see, no two stories are the same, and the amount of time it takes to “catch your break” doesn’t indicate the level of success you’ll have.

I have friends that have been querying for years with no luck. I have friends that jumped into the query trenches after me and have book deals already.

Personally, I’ve been in the trenches over a year now and I don’t know if I’m any closer to finding an agent than I was when I started. But I’ve learned a lot. My manuscript gets better with each rejection. I keep writing, and I tell myself that I’ll get there if I just keep moving.

In the meantime, I need to remember that my journey is my own. I don’t need to follow somebody else’s path or feel threatened when someone finds success before me. Because that would be comparing. And I need to stop it. So do you.

Good luck on your individual writing journey, and write on friends!

Shout out in the comments: Whose writing journey inspires/surprises you the most?

 

Bookish Fun: Paper Heart Chains

So I guess calling this craft a bookish project might be a bit of a stretch (ie books are made of paper, har har), but it’s my blog and I do what I want, so here we go.

My daughter begged me to put up a bead curtain between the living room and the toy room, but since we have wee ones in the house, that was a hard no. Not wanting to completely disappoint her, I decided to make some valentine’s inspired paper heart chains to put up instead. They were easy and fun to make. Not to mention the whole project was completed in less than 45 minutes.

What you’ll need:

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A sewing machine (a quilting machine works best for going through thick paper)

Scissors

Quilting thread (you could use regular thread but it’s more likely to break)

Several sheets of card stock (whatever color/pattern you like. I stuck with classic Valentines’ colors: pink, peach, beige, red, coral, cream, etc.)

Step One:

Fold your card stock into uneven thirds. (Shown below) This will help you get the most hearts for your paper and minimize waste. (Be sure to cut hearts from both folds!)

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Here’s another angle so you can tell if you’re doing it right. Unfolded it looks like this:

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Step Two:

Cut out a bazillion hearts. (Not really, but cut a lot. Cut the like wind, very old one. Bonus points if you know what film that’s from.)

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It’s more fun if you cut them into all different sizes. Here’s what I ended up with when mine were all cut:

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Step Three:

Sew those puppies right down the middle, one at a time! If you want some space between each heart, just run the machine for a bit and pull gently on the heart you just sewed through, and then add the next one. (Here are some pictures to demonstrate, because it’s hard to visualize.)

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Tip: Make sure you leave some extra thread at the top of each chain or else you won’t have anything to hang them up by! (Shown below)

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Here’s another shot after I added the second heart. You can kind of see the spacing. I did larger spaces than this too, just remember to pull the preceding heart gently or else you’ll break the thread.

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Step Four:

Once you’ve added all the hearts you want, cut the chain free and see how it looks.

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(Oh, and then repeat until you have all the chains you want.)

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Fun Variant:

If you want to make a “pop-up” heart, sew two hearts that are about the same size (you can match color too, if you like) and then fold it out. (shown below)

(Yes, that’s my toddler trying to free my needle from the machine, lol. He’s a great helper.)

Step Five:

Tape your chains to the place of your choice and enjoy them!

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I think they turned out pretty cute and my daughter likes them much more than the bead curtain!

Happy Bookish (Belated) Valentine’s Day!