Thoughful Tuesday – Advice or Opinion?

When is it advice based on fact vs. an opinion from your own little mind?  There are a zillion books on writing, editing, and selling. Don’t stop there. Look at all the parenting books and books on finding your soul mate.  So out of all these books which ones are really helpful and which are simply a string of opinions that worked for one person. We are not cookie cutter. Just because Author A got published without editing a single word doesn’t mean Author B can do the same. Just because your child responds to time outs doesn’t mean that another child will. Now the book/movie, He’s Just Not that into You, might actually have some legs to stand on.

He's Just notWhat self-help or instructional books do you rely on? Writing, parenting, dating or otherwise. I personally like Dr. Sears books for child rearing and my own personal gut of course. I have yet to find a query letter book that is perfect, but The Guide to Query Letter’s isn’t bad. The Element of Style for basic grammar isn’t all that bad either – are there better?  I guess it depends on who you ask.

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Fun Fact Friday – KR Yaddof and Strong Female Characters

Not every female character needs to be rescued. I know, I know, what am I thinking. Nowadays most writers are trying to write that strong female character that still has vulnerable spots, but is strong none the less. Here is KR Yaddof’s experience and why she chose to write her main character the way they did.

Also another fun fact about this author is that she chose to self publish.  Since this is becoming the new thing I felt that I needed to give a few self published authors a chance to tell their stories about how and why they went down this nontraditional – although becoming vastly popular, road.

Stick around until the end for a chance to win a copy of the Urban Fantasy BLOOD MAGE.Yaddof BLOOD MAGE Cover Web

Take it away!

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Characters’ strength has to come from somewhere. I love strong female characters like Scarlett O’Hara, Princess Leia, and real-life Eleanor of Aquitaine. I wanted to create a character who would take charge of her own destiny and not apologize for it. I knew that I was creating a series, so why not get to watch our character become this strong woman? That meant that she was going to start out as a teenager. She wouldn’t have complete control over her life and would have to rely on others for help. Finding the balance between the headstrong teenage girl she was and the confident women she would become was foremost in my mind when I created Alexis Richmond.

I was tired of insecure teenage female characters, who couldn’t imagine why the cutest boy in school would fall in love with them. I wouldn’t have wanted to be friends with them let alone read about them. Why couldn’t a girl have high self-esteem and still be relatable to readers? Being a teenager, she would naturally have some self-doubts, but in the end, I wanted her to have enough faith in herself to make her own decisions and stand up for herself. 

Seventeen year old Alexis thought she pretty well had life figured out until terrorist attacks blew away the world she knew. So now, not only is she trying to discover who she is, but where she fits in this new society. Throw in magical powers that are surfacing for the first time and you have a lot of turmoil for one teenage girl to handle. Readers will really get to know who Alexis is and how she becomes the woman she will be at the end of the series.

After widely querying, I ended up with some doubts about readers being able to relate to Yaddof DYNASTY MAGE Cover WebAlexis because of agent feedback. They liked my style, but weren’t sure about Alexis. She isn’t the type of character to ask you to feel sorry for her but could readers still root for her? I got my answer after I self-published the first two books in the series. The second book’s main character is Zachary Godard, Alexis’s love interest. When readers first started the book, they kept saying, “We love Zach but where’s Alexis? We miss her!” That is when I knew that I was right about her all along. Maybe it was the fact that it was written in third person which is rare for Young Adult fiction with a female protagonist. Or maybe it was because the series doesn’t really fit into Young Adult and may be more New Adult. I’m not sure why the agents didn’t see what the readers saw in her. All I know is that Alexis Richmond wouldn’t waste any time worrying about it. She has better things to do like saving the world from the Blood Mage Order.
Book Blurb:

All Alexis Richmond wants is for life to be somewhat normal again. What she gets is trapped in the girls’ restroom by a knife-wielding classmate, who blames her for being forced to go to school in a lovely prison-like setting for national security reasons. But Alexis can’t help that her father was catapulted into the presidency when the U.S. Capitol was annihilated during the State of the Union Address. Or that he still hasn’t found the terrorists responsible for blowing every major city on the planet into a post-apocalyptic state. All Alexis can do is to try to defend herself from this crazy girl. Then her late mother’s locket starts glowing and sending waves of energy coursing down her arms, and she nearly launches her attacker through the puke pink wall of the school bathroom.

Fantasy becomes alarmingly real in Alexis’s already shattered world when she learns from her aunt that she is descended from a family of powerful mages and warned to trust no one. Thrust into Alexis’s life through school and for those annoying security reasons, the vice president’s playboy son, Zachary Godard, claims to have the answers about the magical legacies their families don’t want them to know. Alexis tries to fight her dangerous attraction to Zachary but knows that he understands her as only another mage can. Leaping down the rabbit hole hand in hand, together they overhear a secret society of sorcerers, the Blood Mage Order, plotting to take over the globe. As the two young mages struggle to stop the Order and save their country, they discover just how deep the world domination conspiracy goes. And Alexis will realize that nothing is black and white. Especially not magic.

Excerpt 

from BLOOD MAGE:

“Why do you need a ride, again? Where is your car?” Alexis crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him.

“I called my driver and told him that I wouldn’t need a ride when I saw you show up.” Zachary relaxed into the black leather. His tie was loosened, and his brilliant hair was the usual mess. He laid his head back and closed his eyes. “No need to waste more of the taxpayers’ money than necessary.”

“So you knew that I was there?” And he had acted so surprised to see her in the hallway.

“I got there right before you did.” He opened his compelling blue eyes and surveyed her anger.

“So all that carrying on with Meagan was for my benefit?”Alexis asked.

“Oh, don’t worry. I benefited from it, too, sweetheart.”He winked.

“Ah! You make me sick.” She punched him on the arm.“You’re such an asshole!”

“Come on.” He held up his forearms trying to deflect her blows. “Let’s not fight, Lexi.”

“You were the one being a jerk today,” she said kicking him in the shin.

“Ow!” He pretended to rub his shin but then wrapped his arms around her pinning hers down. Against her ear, he whispered, “You’re the one who was lying to me.”

“I’m not lying to you!” She struggled against his much stronger grip.

“Oh, yes, you are.” He chuckled at her wriggling but didn’t release her. “I know you better than anyone has or ever will, sweetheart.”

“You just met me!” She could smell his cologne mixed with sweat from the hot day.

“But I’ve been looking for you all my life, Lexi.” He kissed her neck where her pulse was throbbing.

“Zach!” Her mind was clouding, and her body had begun to melt. From the back of her brain, a voice shouted, “Stop!”

“Fine.” He freed her, and she almost slid onto the floor. He offered her his hand, but she pulled away moving back onto her side of the seat tucking her long black hair behind her ears. He leaned back and closed his eyes again. “Have it your way, Alexis.”

They didn’t speak the rest of the way downtown with only sounds of the radio filling the car. She was glad that he couldn’t hear her heart pounding. She tried to think of something to say to smooth things over between them but knew that she couldn’t tell him what he wanted to hear. It would all only lead to another fight. Her body felt hot all over, but she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of turning on the air-conditioning. When they got off the freeway, she rolled down the window. The air from outside was a little cooler, but the humidity it carried with it licked at her face.

“It’s going to storm,” Zachary said not opening his eyes.

“How can you tell?” she asked, studying the clouds brewing on the horizon that she knew he couldn’t see. The car slowed as they pulled up to his condo.

“I can smell it.” He opened his eyes and held her gaze.“Are you ready?”

Before she could answer, an agent opened the car door.

“Goodnight, Alexis.” He slid out of the limousine and was gone.

bio

I was lucky enough to take a few writing classes at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop when I was there as an undergrad getting my degree in cinema. BLOOD MAGE is the first in an urban fantasy eBook series, MAGES, in which each book is told from a different character’s perspective. The final chapter of every novel is devoted to the next book’s main character. In the second novel of the series, DYNASTY MAGE, Zachary Godard strives to find out who is trying to kill him while running his family’s corporation to finance the rebellion against the Blood Mage Order.

giveaway

I will be giving away a copy of BLOOD MAGE to someone chosen from those who leave a comment on this post or ‘like’ The Mages Series Facebook page.

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Also Available:

Amazon:

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords:

You can keep up with KR’s latest news at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MagesSeries

Twitter: @KRYaddof

Pitch vs Query

Do you know the difference?  Everyone has their own opinion and approach it seems.  I know when I attended my first conference, where I was fortunate enough to get an agent pitch, I pitchpanicked.  I know, I know.  I seem like a very level-headed person… well or not.  Either way I still panicked.  Why?  Because everyone seems to like to make the query and pitch seem like it is mysterious.  It isn’t.  Writing them well might be, but the objects themselves are not.

After years of stressing out here are the basics:

The Query – Think of this as the resume to your book.  The formal letter that should be professional and concise. This should be 1 page max and will contain an intro paragraph, a pitch paragraph, and an author bio.  I suppose I should mention the header and closing too. That’s all folks.

A Pitch – The verbal delivery of the pitch paragraph from your query.  You might even have to shorten your delivery up a little, which then might lead you to realize your pitch paragraph is not doing the right job.  The pitch needs to be quick and to the point.  You may have heard of the elevator pitch which is slightly different.  That’s a one to two sentence pitch of your book – short enough to be delivered on an elevator.  These are two different things.

Related article:

PubRants

So how about you?  Have you struggled with the correct approach to the pitch or the query?

If you toil over the query your pitch should be smooth sailing – or so they say.

Fun Fact Friday – Jenny Bent says, “be Tenacious”

starsJenny Bent, from The Bent Agency, started from the bottom in her career.  It’s impressive that she had a drive and knew what she wanted to do when she grew up.  Becoming an agent isn’t so easy.  So next time we, as writers, think of agents as anything but human, think again.  They struggled to get to where they are and understand we are doing the same.  The best thing we can do to help our own careers and help out the agents who need writers, is to write quality work.  Jenny Bent delivers another fun piece of advice:

 10. Tenacity is more important than anything else.  It even trumps talent, I would say.   Believe in yourself and never give up, no matter what.  -Jenny Bent

Credit given: From the Bent Agency’s blog

Do you know of any agents who write encouraging words for aspiring authors?  Share then below.

Regrets on the Trail of Submissions

I will give me self a little bit of leeway this time.  It won’t make anything better but it is the reality and might make me feel less like a failure.  I wrote and edited a short story in less than two weeks.  That sounds like lots of time but it isn’t for me.  My writing didn’t happen until sometime after ten o’clock at night.  Generally weekends aren’t any better for various other reasons, one being my yard is in different states of repair.

That all being said I know I made a few miscalculations in the query letter alone.  The tag line is still okay, I think.  The first sentence of my summary is awkward.  So right there I know I am pretty much going to get passed up on.  One more lesson learned.  I need more than a few hours to edit and re-edit but I guess I already knew that.   Why oh why could I not see the error’s of my ways before I submitted.

I do know for sure that the best way to see my mistakes is by submitting my work.  That needs to change. I so want to write the publisher I submitted to and explain that the story is really cute, I just need guidance.  <Sigh>  But no that is socially unacceptable.

I suppose I will improve the next time, but isn’t it always the next time?

How do you make it through your own mistakes after submission?  I am writing a blog post and already thinking up my next story to improve on.