Friday, October 26, 2012

Scattered, Smothered, and Covered

And no, I’m not talking about Waffle House. I’m talking about my life. In the last three weeks I haven’t had one second to breathe. It’s been my regular job, on top of being audited, on top of becoming a new step-grandmother, on top of going to evening doctor’s appointments….there hasn’t been one afternoon I’ve been able to rest or hell, to write. I haven’t read or opened my laptop in three weeks. How did that happen? And I was so motivated to do NANOWRIMO but, now I can’t. I’ve been barnstormed and derailed and there is nothing on the horizon that motivates me to get back on track.

I wonder if I’ve been too hard on myself. If maybe I’ve pushed so hard, I’ve burnt myself up. Maybe all of my creative juices have bled out through my wrist and all of the silence and ice cream in the world can make me right again. Maybe I’m going through a midlife crisis….or a mid-book crisis. But, like all of my books, I get mid-way and then I stop. I can’t seem to find the words or time to finish them. I wonder if that’s a sign. That maybe this one book isn’t the one that’s going to make me the next Stephanie Meyer.

So, now…what to do. Do I blog? Do I stop writing my current WIP (which technically I’m not writing because I haven’t found time). Or do I just wait for the riffs to calm and to be saved on the island with Robinson Crusoe? I don’t know. All I know, I better figure it out soon. Migraines, back aches, full time jobs, new grandbabies are only excuses. Persistence is key…now if I can find some…which is an entirely different story.

Oh, and P.S. OUR PAGES AREN’T NUMBERED HAS HAD 4444 PAGEVIEWS. If that isn’t karma, I don’t know what is.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Going Outside of my Comfort Zone

In my family, I am the quiet one. I come from a family of talkers. I don’t think my brother Brandon ever stops talking. My son who is two and half just started talking and he talks non-stop all day long. I like to think that I am a pretty outgoing and talkative person. I can be shy and reserved at first. The initial start up is what I have a hard time with. I don’t normally approach someone and start telling them my life story. I wait for them to approach me first before I tell them my drama.

At the COFWC (Central Ohio Fiction Writers Conference) we were told that we should confront the other editors and agents there even if we don’t have an appointment and to talk to them. Right away I got butterflies in my stomach. I could pitch when I had an appointment already set, but to go up to a stranger and try to sell my idea made me nervous.

After the morning keynote speech from Simone Elkeles, which was amazing, I saw Editor Emily Keyes go out into the lobby. I followed her. As she ate her apple I approached her and started the conversation. I ended up pitching my story and she asked for me to send her the first three chapters and synopsis of Dreamer. I conquered my fear! There was something about her demeanor that I liked. She seemed shy and apprehensive which made me like her more. I have sent her the pages and I am eagerly waiting for a reply.

I got my rejection letter from Kristin Nelson two days ago. It was a very nice rejection letter. I didn’t cry when I got this one. I knew it was coming. I am not being pessimistic on this actually. I knew after pitching to her and hearing some of the stories that she liked, I knew that we wouldn’t be a fit. So, I am OK with the rejection this time because I am very hopeful that someone else is going to fall in love with my story and my characters, just like I have.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Inspiration VLOG Part One

Okay Guys. Here it is! Let me know what you think!


Hey Peeps!

I’m going to be experimenting with Vlogging this weekend. For people who don’t know what it is that is video blogging. I’m going to sit down and rant about my inspirations, favorite authors, distractions, the trials and pitfalls of being a writer, etc. I am hoping to have it completed and posted by Monday. It might be earlier or later, depending on my complications and what edits, etcetera I decide to include in the video. After all, this is my first one.

I’m hoping it will be a smash. Or a wreck. Either way, it will definitely be entertaining. Who knows? I might go into spews concerning different rounds of social media, how to socialize, twitter, Facebook, and moderate different writer’s pages.

I’m excited. I hope you guys don’t get bored. But, hopefully when I’m done everyone will get a clear idea about the things I love, the reason I write, and the motivation it takes to complete a book. Until VLOG release day, I bid you adieu and hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.

Lessons Learned Part 2

Part two of what I learned at the Central Ohio Fiction Writers Conference

After three hours of driving, I arrived in Worthington Ohio at the Holiday Inn where the conference was being held. Because I hate being late, I got there early and had to wait for Stacey to get there. She is a slow driver! Coming from Michigan automatically means that I drive at least ten miles over the speed limit at all times…driving through Ohio was torture, their speed limit is only 65!

The next lesson that I learned was that I really miss my best friend!  Living 500 miles from Stacey is hard. I was so excited to hang-out with her for the weekend. I was planning on going to the conference all along, but having Stacey meet me there made it that much sweeter.

The first session that we attended was on pitching our novel to an agent or an editor. The pitch practice session was really helpful. We had a small group of seven aspiring authors and one published author. We pitched our novel to the group and then got feedback. Not only was feedback on my own pitch helpful, but listening to others helped me to hear what I was missing in my own pitch. I was really impressed with a few of the others pitches, I hope that they get published so that I can read their books.

After the pitch practice I had two hours until I was going to pitch my novel to Kristin Nelson. I made a few changes to my pitch and I practiced it a few times with Stacey and then I was ready. Well, as ready as I was going to be. I felt exactly like I was going to a job interview. That is what pitching to an agent really is. I am hoping that they will take me on as a client to help me find a publisher for my novel.

At 2:23 my time was up, I had seven minutes to sell my book idea to Kristin Nelson. I was nervous and I think my voice started out a little shaky. But, I got through my pitch. She asked a few questions and then she asked for me to send her the first 30 pages. I am pretty sure that she asks to see everyone’s first 30 who pitch to her in person, but I still have my chance to gain her interest even if I bombed in my pitch.

A week later I sent her my first 30 pages. I am still waiting to hear back. I also sent out my first three chapters of Dreamer to Emily Keyes another agent that I pitched to at the conference. I will save that for next week’s continuation of what I learned. I learned a lot at the conference, so I need to keep you all in suspense until next Friday! And hopefully I will have a positive update from an agent to share as well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rejection Sucks!

All forms of rejection suck except when corrective criticism is given. My latest endeavor to acquire Kristin Nelson as my literary agent was a failure. But, with failure also came criticism which is more than I could have asked for.

This is the rejection letter I received from my COFW submission:

Dear Stacey Hays:

Thank you so much for sending Nelson Literary Agency your sample pages of DEREK'S DEMISE. After a careful reading, we are sorry to say that we don't believe this project is right for our agency.

However, Kristin would like to add this note: "Thank you for letting me take a look at your work and it was lovely meeting you at the COFW conference. You have a nice YA voice here but I just didn't find myself sympathizing with your main character as much as I'd hoped. Best wishes for your agent search."

Because this business is so subjective and opinions vary widely, we recommend that you pursue other agents. After all, it just takes one "yes" to find the right match.

Good luck with all your publishing endeavors.

So, this tells me a few things. One, Derek’s voice is loud and clear. Two, he is a douche bag so she couldn’t sympathize with him when he is given his ultimatum to reap or die. With just one sentence, she gave me the extra boost I needed to make my novel better. I have to make Derek more sympathetic as a character. How do I plan on doing that? By starting at chapter one. I must create an inner struggle/outer confrontation from the beginning and weave it in and out of the existing plotline to create an organic theme.

Rejection sucks. I had to say it one more time, but, rejections like these don’t seem like real rejections at all and thank you Kristin Nelson for giving me feedback that will make my manuscript better.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Writing isn't for the Weak!

This year has been a very challenging year. It seems like a writer’s job is never done. If you aren’t plotting, writing, or editing….then you’re planning your next book. Whose great idea was it for me to become a writer?

As horrible as this sounds, I think that you can take the girl out of writing but you can’t take the writing out of the girl. I feel like this is what I was born to do. And the world will be a much better place if I can get my books out there and published. I don’t care that people can’t relate to my books, I want them to be able to fantasize about being my characters…being a part of the story, the romances and the happily-ever-after’s. Yes, this is why I write. I forgot that for a brief moment of insanity.

Okay, so I’ve been on war path in writing this week. Jennifer has been so kind to give DEREK’S DEMISE a jump start…she’s been editing it vigorously and getting it ready for submissions.

Our book KEY OF EDEN, I had to cut and rewrite the last two chapters and Becca’s mom has been Volun-told to edit that manuscript. I am very, very, very grateful for her help. She’s also been up to her eye balls in Becca’s two manuscripts.

I rewrote both of the queries for my books and resubmitted my KEY OF EDEN query to Agent Hannah Bowman for a critique. She sent it back with lots of great comments. She loves the voice. This is what I was going for.

Now, I’m working on my WITH A VENGEANCE book. It’s pretty entertaining, I keep attempting to write a sex scene but I get embarrassed and put it down, blushing like some Virgin Mary whose favorite author isn’t the Queen of Sex Scenes, Laurell K. Hamilton.

Here in the next few days I’m going to be posting some new book trailers…representing for some of my fellow-authors. Other than that, it’s going to be a weekend full of pumpkins and apple cider. God, I love fall. Okay, peeps. Have a great weekend and stay out of trouble!

Lessons Learned

Stacey and I went to the Central Ohio’s Fictions Writers Conference last weekend. I learned so much at the conference, that I want to share with everyone. On account of the fact that I learned so much, this would be a very long blog post, so I will start with what I learned on the way to the conference.

First, I learned that I need to stop rejecting technology. In the solitude of my car I felt comfortable letting loose and belting out along with Bon Jovi, when my CD skipped. Yes, you read that correctly, I said when my CD skipped. I am still listening to CD’s when I have an iphone. I only have three songs on my iphone though. I just haven’t loaded any of my music onto it. I rarely listen to music in the car. My first lesson was that I need to get rid of my CD’s and get hip with my iphone!

Actually my second realization I came to was also while listening to music. I went back to the classics and put in my Meatloaf CD. It made me miss listening to my brother Troy play the piano. He is an amazing pianist.

While listening to Meatloaf I became confused. I was listening to the song I Will Do Anything for Love. It is a great song, I was singing along to this one too, when I started to think about the words. I will do anything for love, but I won’t do that. But, he doesn’t say what that is!  It started to infuriate me! I want to know what he won’t do. What is so important or wrong or gross that it trumps love? Then it got me thinking, is there anything that I would put my foot down to and say the same thing. Haven’t we all done that already in the past? Was it worth it in the end?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New Pitches-Check them Out!

I’ve been working on the pitches for all of my books. Check them out and let me know what you think. Also, to find out more about my projects check out my website:

Key of Eden

Seventeen-year-old Ava always wanted a guardian angel but not one she’s required to spend 24/7 with regardless if Ethan is handsome, funny, and knows exactly what to say when everything has went to hell in a Christmas colored hand basket.

When fallen angels attack Ava, she learns that she is no average hormonal teenage girl—she is the Key to Eden and to the Gates of Hell. In other words, fallen angels are out to get her and it’s Ethan’s job to keep her safe. But taking on flesh eating demons proves easier than dealing with Ava’s drunken antics, bad judgment, and trust issues.

Desperately needing socialization outside of the angel population, Ava gains the courage to ask Ethan’s superior if she can attend prom with her best friend Erica, he agrees as long as she takes two guardian escorts. Dressed in silk with Ethan as her arm candy, what’s anticipated to be a night to remember becomes a catastrophe when the Fallen angels, disguised as high schoolers crash the prom and kidnap Erica (there goes her nomination for prom queen). Now, Ava will try anything to get her best friend back even if that means surrendering herself to the fallen’s wrath.

Complete at 70,000 words KEY OF EDEN is YA paranormal. This book is in the querying/submission process.

Derek's Demise

Beer funnels and field parties are a distant memory when sixteen-year-old high school quarterback Derek Weber awakens in a hospital bed with a reaper by his side.

The reaper gives him two options: death or an immortal gig as a reaper. Afraid of death, Derek agrees to the terms. But on his first official assignment to the underworld, two rogue reapers attack him and hijack his shipment of souls.

When Heaven’s Gatekeeper threatens war against the reaper world if the souls aren’t returned, Derek must travel to the underworld to find the culprits. He has to survive flesh-eating giants, psychotic mer-people and amnesia inducing rivers and deliver the souls back to Heaven before all Hell breaks loose.

Complete at 50,000 words, DEREK’S DEMISE is YA Paranormal Thriller. This book is in the querying/submission process.

Love with a Vengeance

Angel’s husband was murdered. But dead doesn’t have to mean gone.

Charles is back, and he wants revenge! With the ghost of Angel’s dead husband riding shotgun, they track down the culprits and torture them for information until they find out who ordered the hit. But the mob isn’t dumb. After three of their members go missing…they start asking questions.

 When they find out Angel is behind the attack, the huntsmen becomes the hunted. Now Angel’s at the bottom of the Detroit River – and it’s not just her breath that’s running out.

This is my CURRENT Work-In-Progress. Estimated date of completion November 2012.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Central Ohio Writer's Conference

The Central Ohio Writer’s Conference totally ROCKED!

Becca and I were full blast the entire weekend. We were completely submerged into books and writing. I loved it. When I arrived there on Friday morning we went and ate lunch then went to the first workshop about pitching. The second class was pitch practice and that’s when I realized that Becca and I both aced our pitches. Becca later pitched her book to Kristen Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency. She received a partial request for her manuscript Dreamer. I also pitched my manuscript DEREK'S DEMISE (Reaper Book) to her and received a partial request.

Saturday was full of awesomeness. It started out with breakfast and lunch with New York Best Seller Kristin Higgins. Who, by-the-way was one of the kindest, sweetest, most genuinely helpful authors I have ever met. I also got to visit with Simone Elkeles in which I did a great job convincing her that I was her twin sister. I am pretty sure we shared the womb (Sorry Tina).

Then later that night we sat down at the cafĂ© at the Holiday Inn where author Julie Cross joined us for cold beverages. She is the author of the book Tempest and is agented by Kristen Nelson.
It couldn’t get much better until kismet happened. Kristen Nelson joined us too and she showed us pictures of her nephews and talked to us about her hobbies. I was really impressed.

While we were there Becca also pitched her book to Emily Keyes with the L. Perkins agency and another Editor. She received partial requests from both. I couldn’t have been more proud.
And now, I’ll give you what everyone has been waiting for…pictures.
Me and Becca: Our first Picture from the Conference on Friday.

Friday, after dinner...reading through the slush pile workshop.

Saturday Morning at breakfast, with Kristin Higgins
Me, Simone Elkeles, Kristin Higgins, and Becca

Me and Becca, having dinner on Saturday at a bar called the Winking Lizard Tavern.
Me and Becca on the last night, at the bar with Kristen and Sarah.
All in all it was a great success and I would do it all over again!