Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Should Rejection be Personal?

Tell me what you think, because frankly, I think there was a better way to go about this.

My son tried out for the middle school baseball team. He didn’t make it. That’s okay. Disappointment is part of life. 

The tryouts lasted seven days. Yes, you read that correctly. No one is getting paid to be on this team. I don’t think, anyway. I’m not sure why it takes seven days to figure out who can hit, run, and catch, but that’s not the point here.

The point is he was told he didn’t make the team in a boiler plate rejection letter that was handed out at the end of the last day. I know the sting of receiving an impersonal rejection letter from editors and agents. Letters that start, Dear Author, thanks, but no thanks. I put my blood sweat and tears into my work and it hurts to get a rejection letter that a cold blooded zombie could’ve written. These boys put their backs into those tryouts. Didn’t their effort afford them a little more than a form letter from teachers that walk the halls of the school amongst the rejected everyday?

Have we become a society void of personal contact? Has the land of Twitter and Facebook enticed us to believe the impersonal is appropriate no matter the message? Have we lost all sense of kindness because it is easier to type the message than look someone in the eye and have to feel uncomfortable delivering bad news? Or are we just plain lazy? It’s too much work to talk, to muster up a smile when you don’t feel like it, to shake the hand of a young boy and say, good try, but here’s where you need to improve. What’s next? Rejection via text message?

I say shame on those coaches for taking the easy way out. They would have taught the boys who didn’t make it far more about life by looking them in the eye and delivering the news than what they will ever teach on the baseball field.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Next Big Thing–Blog Hop

How psyched was I when middle grade writer Leslie Zampetti tagged me for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop! (You can click on Leslie’s name to read her Next Big Thing blog post and all her other great posts as well.)

The Next Big Thing is a blog tour showcasing authors and their work. Each author must answer the ten questions below and then “tag” other authors they think are the next big thing! What fun! Who doesn’t love a good game of tag?! (Make sure to read all the way to the bottom so you can see who I tagged as the Next Big Thing!)

What is the working title of your book?

Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I had been writing adult thrillers and speaking at elementary and middle schools about creative writing. My husband and critique partners said, “why aren’t you writing a book for the kids you speak to?” One morning my son told me about his nightmare. He was stuck in hell and the only way out was to climb a staircase and answer math questions. I thought, “What a great idea for a book!”

What genre does your book fall under?

Middle-grade fantasy adventure.

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

If I am blessed to have my book made into a movie I will be happy with whoever is casted!

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

What if a thirteen year-old Lesser boy lands in the scariest place imaginable and has twenty-four hours to collect three mystical objects or he and his Moor friends will be lost forever?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Good question. I’ll keep you posted on that one. Decision will be made soon.

How long did it take you to write your first draft?

Nine months. It was like giving birth!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think readers of The Maze Runner or The Lightning Thief would enjoy Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My children. My husband. My critique partners. Without any of them I would be lost.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

It’s a fast paced action adventure. The characters race through a magical forest and encounter all kinds of creatures some that eat you whole, some that want to steal your treasures. Every chapter will leave the reader wanting more.

I think the Next Big Thing is:

Contemporary Romance Writer, M. Kate Quinn

Paranormal Romance Writer, KM Fawcett

Paranormal Romance Writer, Shari Nieschmidt

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hearing Clearly

My right ear was plugged up for four days. You know that water in your ear feeling? That plus a good dose of ringing in the ear too. So, plugged ear and all I went to yoga class. We had a substitute teacher. She did a lot of hip opening poses. For those of you who don’t know, yogis believe we hold all of our emotions in our hips. Working on the hips will release any or all emotions we might be storing.

The next morning I practiced at home and did another hip opening sequence. Coincidence. Or was it? Hmmm. That same day I was to find out if I moved to the second round of the Amazon Breakout Novel Contest. I did not, unfortunately. And I was pretty upset about it. More than I thought I’d be. Had myself a good old fashion cry and a full dose of “I’m quitting!” I was even go to put that in writing!

In the mean time, my ear popped! Thank God for miracles!! I could hear clearly again, but not just with my ears. In the middle of my pity party I heard a clearer voice. One that said, “stop your whining.” And just like that a calmness washed over me. I felt open and freer than I had in months! That rejection and the yoga poses were just what I needed to clear my inner channels and show me the path I always seem to be trying to walk in the dark.

My freer self found two more agents to query. I had a goal of 100 queries and those two put me at 98. I had been struggling to find more places to send my novel. Well, guess what? One of those agents asked to see the first half of the book! Of course, I sent it.

Who knows what the future holds, but because I am hearing more clearly than before I trust the journey.

Do you have an inner voice you listen to? Who do you trust most? How do you pursue your dreams?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Learn Something New

I’ll be honest.  I’ve written  today’s post because I learned something new. Windows Live Writer! I always enjoy blogs with pictures and I struggle to get them on my page. I stumbled upon Windows Live Writer and thought, “let’s check it out.” It allows me to post pictures with ease. See? I may actually have some fun with this! Anything to make the writing feel like less of a chore. I don’t know about you, but some days I stare at my screen and think about a thousand other things I might enjoy doing. Like reorganizing the pantry.

photo (4) 

Have you learned anything new today?

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Power of One Sentence

As writers, we are told to choose our words carefully. Every word used must have purpose. We pick through our sorted list of vocabulary with dauntless effort. It's a lesson non-writers should use when they speak.
Would you allow me a moment of back story? My daughter, she's 10, likes to make crafts made from duck tape. (Yes, "duck".) It's like duct tape, but it's colorful and full of patterns. She makes headbands with big bows on them. It's wonderful and she wears them proudly. Until an adult decided not to be careful with her words. An adult, she is not related to, but is forced to see once a week. And not forced by me! Because if I had my say, this lady would be gone. This adult decided to tell her that she was a baby for wearing her bow. (I had a conversation with this person, but that's not my point today.)

She won't wear those bows anymore. In one sentence, that adult slashed her self-confidence. And it won't matter how much I tell her it's okay to be an individual and she should be proud of herself. It won't matter now, anyway. Some day, but not today. Today, that one sentence has more power than a thousand of mine.

When I'm writing dialogue between Gabriel and Owen, I think, "how will Gabriel react if Owen says that?" Shouldn't everyone mutter those words to themselves before they allow their lips to open and the words to tumble out? I can delete dialogue that doesn't work. You can't take your words back once you've said them. Even if you've asked for forgiveness, your words have left their mark.  

One sentence can be very powerful. From: "Will you marry me?" "Have a nice day." "Thank you." To: "You're a baby for wearing that bow." "Why would anyone like you?" "Why do you dress like that?"

One sentence. Tiny words that left alone mean nothing. But pieced together in a certain way have as much power as an explosion. Choose wisely.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Don't Understand

I need a little help understanding something. Explain to me why not all teachers want to teach? Let's clear up right off the bat I am not referring to ALL teachers. There are some amazing teachers out there. I have friends who are amazing teachers. My daughter has probably the best teacher I've ever seen in action in my children's public school career as well as my own experience as a student.

But let's face it, not everything and everyone are equal. Am I the crazy one to think that if a student doesn't understand a concept that the teacher should try and explain it another way? Isn't that what they are there for? And please spare me any talk about being too busy. If a teacher is too busy to teach then we have a real problem on our hands. It might mean the teacher and the student have to come in early, stay late, or meet during lunch. Gasp! Did I imply extra work? Shame on me.

But why, if a teacher has identified that his/her student is struggling with a concept basic or advanced that they wouldn't pull that student aside and say, "hey, Johnny, let's take a moment to go over this. I want to make sure you understand." Why is the teacher waiting for the student to say, "can you help me?" if the teacher already knows the student is struggling?  Does that make any sense? Not to me, it doesn't.

I can't tell you how this makes me crazy. Rest assured, I'm standing on my soap box right now yelling loud for all to hear. I want to hear what you have to say too. I really want someone to explain it to me so I can understand and as a parent I'm armed with knowledge to help my own children.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Set the Scene for 2013

Happy New Year! It's hard to believe another year has begun, but I know it's going to be a great one. A blog I follow, Writing and Illustrating, listed their 2013 writing goals and I thought what a great idea! Let's do that here at Strong Words!!! Here are some of my goals; writing and otherwise:

Get Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo published and in the hands of readers. (Which will lead to implementing my marketing/business plan)
Blog once a week (The blog needs an update)
Build my writing communities
Write 1000 words a day seven days a week
Finish Welcome to Bibliotheca and get it to my beta readers (I really want to do this by the end of January)
Practice yoga five days a week
Speak at ten schools/groups by June (I have 2 scheduled)
Decide whether or not to become a teen yoga instructor  

I'm sure as the year progresses and life gets in the way some of my goals will have to adjust and new goals will be added. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Have you been thinking about your goals for the new year? Tell us about them. When you share your wishes, hopes, and dreams you become more accountable. So, what are your goals for 2013?