Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Roads to Publication, Part I

The road to publication with a golden, big-time trade publishing company glistening in the sun can seem steep and daunting at times. It can also be rough and full of ruts, potholes, hairpin turns, and dead ends. Perseverance is crucial. A writer needs to be committed to consistently trying to better her story-telling skills and her writing. While traveling this road, some people hone their skills and build their confidence by writing for other markets. They take side trips down other roads toward other publishing options.

The educational market is one such other road or option. During my time as a textbook editor, I wrote and published books for the school market. For each book, I was paid a one-time fee. No, Grab That Crab! and Run, Sid, Run! would never be reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly. Nor would Three Pigs and a Wolf or Make Room for a Makeover, but I had fun writing these books. Plus, kids read them in schools and may still be reading them. Writing these books helped me to develop important skills and learn more about the publishing process. And writing these books gave me some publishing credits to share with agents and editors.

Of course, while writing for the school market, I kept working on my own novel, which came to be Dog Gone. I never stopped puttering along the road to the big, beautiful, trade publishing house. I simply veered off to publish elsewhere. This, for me, made traveling the main road a little less intimidating and frustrating.

Have you published or considered publishing in more than one market? Have you written or considered writing an article for a magazine or newspaper? Perhaps something for the school market?

Next week I will introduce you to author Linda Benson. Linda has published two wonderful novels, Finding Chance and The Horse Jar, with Mondo Publishing, an educational publisher. The week after that, I will introduce you to someone special who has published in the magazine markets. So, stay tuned for more on the many roads to publication.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bits of Information

So… I received a blog award from the fabulous Christy Evers. Thank you so much, Christy!

I am now supposed to post fifteen bits of information about myself that you probably don't know about me. You’ll probably fall asleep by number four (I almost did). No one would blame you. Anyway, here goes:

I have three Siamese cats that I adore. I would adopt more if my family didn’t threaten me regularly. Also, the label Crazy Cat Lady sort of scares me.

I also love horses. I had a horse while growing up and I really miss riding. In fact, I dream of having my own horse (okay, horses), again some day.

I am really into yoga.

I was obsessively into Tae Kwon Do for a few years until I snapped the ACL in my knee during a Tornado Kick.

I have never received a speeding or other type of driving ticket, which is amazing given that I sometimes pretend that I am a NASCAR driver.

I hate celery.

I am pretty sure that a night out with girl friends is the best form of therapy, especially if sangria is involved.

A chai latte from Starbucks makes my day.

I cannot and will not sing, not even in the car when I am by myself. That’s how much I dislike the sound of my own voice.

I am fairly certain that some day I will go to art school, just for the fun of it, even if I am ninety.

I’ve been known to spend too much money on my hair (it can be wild and unruly). A girl must do what a girl must do.

I have never played a musical instrument and yet I am fascinated by those who do. Envy? Probably.

I am into healthy eating, yet I have a mad addiction to sugar. *Sigh*

I hate being bored—the way a two year old hates being bored. Luckily, it’s hard to be bored when you write for a living.

I love my car. Driving it puts me in a good mood. Especially if I’m driving to yoga. Or a bookstore.
And I don’t get a ticket.

There. Are you asleep yet?

Now, instead of tagging bloggers, as I’m supposed to do, I’m going to ask you to share some random bits of information about yourself with me. Are you game?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I welcome a good epiphany. Usually. A sudden insight into the reality or meaning of something is never a bad thing. Well, never?

The other night I got blindsided by a big, fat, uninvited epiphany. As with most epiphanies, this one was sparked by a simple experience—I was reading an author interview in Writer’s Digest. But the epiphany itself was not so simple. It felt something like being body slammed by a pregnant elephant. I did not enjoy this particular insight. Not because of it’s size, or the slam, but rather because the ah-ha moment targeted my work in progress.

I have been busy revising a novel that I am pretty happy with. The revising has been going along smoothly--until the tackle by the four-ton epiphany. Now, although I believe that this insight will benefit my novel, I wonder if I can pull off what needs to be done. I am grumbling because accomplishing this means that I will have to go back into my structured, set plot and uproot things. I will have to rework and revise. Elements of the novel will become unsettle and characters will get knocked on their butts. Hunks of copy will have to be rewritten and reworked or trashed. The plot will almost certainly get tangled. Doubts and trepidations will surface and interrupt.

So, although I welcome epiphanies, I sometimes dread what they demand. But this is all part of being a writer, isn’t it?

What do you think about epiphanies—the good, the bad, and the ugly?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January is Two-Faced?

Did you know that January is named after the Roman god Janus? I didn't. Apparently, Janus is the God of Gates and Doors. Who knew such a god existed? It makes me wonder what sort of gods would exist today if the Romans were still into this assorted god thing. Would there be a god of dishwashers? Or computers? That’s a little frightening.

Anyway, apparently old Janus sports two faces. One looks back, over the past year and the other looks forward, toward the year ahead. Maybe I am a complete geek, but I think it’s mildly cool that January is named after a two-faced god. Maybe this interests me because I definitely reflect back on the past more in January than I do during any other month of the year (at least until I’m distracted by the Super Bowl). I analyze what went right and what went less than right in the previous year. And I look ahead with great optimism, my head full of grand ideas for revising whatever I’m writing and beginning a fresh story. So, I suppose I’m sort of like Mr. Janus of the two faces. This isn’t very sexy, is it?

How about you? Do you reflect back and look forward? Or do you plow ahead, come what may, without glancing back?