Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
HOW TO SUBMIT
E-mail entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please paste everything. No attachments.
WHAT TO SUBMIT
The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of urban fantasy or paranormal (adult fiction and/or YA fiction are both accepted; no "high fantasy" with dragons, elves or other planets please). You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry.
Please note: To be eligible to submit, I ask that you do one of two things: 1) Mention and link to this contest twice through your social media—blogs, Twitter, Facebook; or 2) just mention this contest once and also add Guide to Literary Agents Blog (www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog) to your blogroll. Please provide link(s) so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step!
1. This contest will be live for approximately fourteen days—from Sept. 22 through the end of Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010, EST. Winners notified by e-mail within three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced on the blog thereafter.
2. To enter, submit the first 150-200 words of your book. Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
3. This contest is solely for completed book-length works of urban fantasy and paranormal romance (both YA and adult novels are accepted).
4. You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again.
5. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA's publisher, F+W Media.
6. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the "Comments" section of this blog post. (If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at email@example.com. The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.)
Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com.
MEET YOUR (AWESOME) JUDGE!
at the L. Perkins Agency in NYC.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I write a monthly column for The Medieval Chronicle and the latest edition is out. Now TMC is free for everyone to enjoy so I hope you'll read my column! This time, I talk about a family as they celebrate Michaelmas Day.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Take it away, Carie!
Where does my inspiration come from?
I loved writing about the kids in Beyond Summer. They danced and played through my imagination so vividly. I also got to use some of my favorite memories of my own kids in them. Instead of telling you about the scenes I've already written, I am going to tell you a story that might make it into another book.
My son Zeke is four, and the baby of the family. You know how everyone says the baby is always spoiled. Yep, they're right. But there's something else too, something about never being as strong or as fast or as smart as anyone else in the house that makes them reach higher and try more things because, while they might not be able to beat their siblings in a race, they can do lots of other things that other kids their age couldn't...or wouldn't.
Our family spends about ten hours a week during soccer season at the field, so the kids are very comfortable there...sometimes bored. As the game we were watching was over, the teams stopped in the middle of exchanging the requisite high five and "good game" and started yelling and pointing behind me. In the deepest part of my heart I KNEW it was Zeke. I turned slowly around and there he was about fifteen feet up a light pole. He'd shimmied up there like he was after coconuts in South America. Below him the ground was half concrete and half grass. I was afraid to yell at him, so I jogged over there and stood quaking in my flip flops while he slipping back down. Once he was safely in my arms, I looked around for my bad-parent badge and slapped it on, trying my best to get to the funny-later stage of embarrassment.
Then, this is not an exaggeration, the next week my husband is up at the fields with Zeke and the other kids at yet another practice. No one could find Zeke during their game of hide and seek. Another mom from the team went into the Ladies Room and heard a little voice say, "I can't get down," not screaming or crying, mind you, just making a statement. So she followed the voice to a stall, where my son stood on the small steel trash can mounted to the wall stretching up grasping the top of the stall. How long he'd been in there, no one really knows. Long enough to be sure he couldn't dismount by himself. She helped him down and he burst back into the light of day happy because he'd won the game of hide and seek.
So fun kid stories come easy for me. If you read Beyond Summer, I'll let you guess which ones are fact and which are fiction. Enjoy.
Thank you for joining us today, Carie. The purchase link for Beyond Summer is here, isn't it an awesome cover? Next week, Inspiring Mondays will return with a picture especially for Danielle.
Friday, September 24, 2010
This blog is a part of The Great Blogging Experiment, the brain child of awesome blogger, Elana Johnson.
As writers, we all strive to make our characters compelling. After all, who wants to read a story about a boring character? Not me. I'd rather catch up on sleep. ZZZZzzzz.....
Where was I? Right, compelling characters. So what makes a character compelling?
Backstory. A compelling character has to have a reason for being the way they are. In my assassin story, the main character is an assassin because she witnessed her father's murder. There's a reason why she has such a horrible profession. It also gives the reader to somewhat empathize with her.
Strengths and Weakness. A character should have some great traits and some flaws. After all, no one is perfect. Hubby and I recently watched the entire series of Lost so I'll borrow some characters from the show to illustrate my point.
James Ford / Sawyer: Sawyer doesn't have many strengths until he undergoes growth throughout the show. He manages to fall in love. He can be kind (when he wants to be). In his own way, he's also a leader. But he's also selfish, macho, and a con man.
Kate Austen: Resourceful, quick-witted, and willing to do anything to save her friends, Kate also killed a lot of people before Oceanic 815 crashed on the island.
Drive. Compelling characters need a problem to overcome. Something has to happen to them in the story, stakes must be laid out. You could take notes from Jack on this, although he did have to be kicked a few times in order to get into gear.
Growth. As the characters try to fix the problem, they needed to develop and grow. The characters can't be static or flat. They need to be well-rounded and multi-dimensional. Sawyer is the perfect character to examine for this.
Quirks. It's okay for your characters to have a little quirk. It makes them more real. But quirks alone don't make for compelling characters.
Nobody's perfect. No one wants to read about perfect people with perfect lives. Give your story plenty of conflict and have your characters react realistically according to their code of ethics and morals.
People read stories to be able to fall in love with the hero, to pretend to be the heroine. Make your characters believable and realistic, strong and brave, and your compelling characters will practically turn the pages themselves.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
So an internet tag has been going around where the blogger answers eight questions, and then tags eight people to answer the same. I was tagged reading the NCliterary blog. I'm going to follow suit. Instead of picking 8 people, if you're reading this, tag!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I write fantasy novels. Woman of Honor was over 88K, Knight of Glory over 96. Hidden in Shadows is 97K.
But I also write short stories. And flash pieces.
Now I find that flash pieces are by far the hardest to write. You can't go into too much detail and you definitely don't have time for character development. Heck, you're lucky if you can spare a few words to give details like the MC's hair color! With flash pieces, each word has to be important, has to move the plot along. Each word has to be integral to the story. Flash pieces have to be so tight you can hardly cut them with a knife.
I've noticed that writing flash pieces has made my short stories and novels better. When I'm editing, I look at each scene as a flash piece and try to squeeze out as many excess words as possible. I have a tendency to have a new crutch word or two with each story I write. With Hidden in Shadows it was "just" and "that". So I highlight those words and if they aren't needed, delete. Could I rephrase this sentence and lose a few words? Delete the excess. Cut the fat out. Make your stories trim.
But be careful not to trim too much. With short stories and novel, you have the luxury of more words. You can develop your characters, have them grow and change. Describe not only their appearance but what they are wearing and their surroundings. You can cut too much from a story so that it is too bare bones.
So if your crit partners are telling you that you need to tone down your verbose tendencies, I encourage you to write a flash piece or two. Write a couple short (complete) stories no more than 500 words. It's a challenge but it can be done.
Warning: some flash pieces will beg to be longer and may turn into a short story, or even a novel. Several of my short stories are begging to be turned into novels. I just might oblige. But first I have to finish Champion of Valor. Which hopefully won't be more than 100K. :)
Have you ever written a flash piece? Would you write one? Why or why not?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Angela Ackerman of the Bookshelf Muse has a major reason to celebrate - she has over 1000 followers and is holding a terrific contest. The details and how to enter:
Here at The Bookshelf Muse, it's all about becoming stronger writers together. So, in that spirit, check out these scrumptious prizes:
5-First Page critiques
2-First Chapter critiques
Special Drawing Challenge
It's simple: SPREAD THE WORD about this contest! If you do, I will include you in a special drawing for a three month mentorship with me.
What the mentorship will entail:
--A three month partnership where I will help you in any manner I can toward stronger writing, publication, increasing your online platform and helping you with agenting questions/search
--I will help you build or improve your query (if needed)
--A full read of your manuscript, offering advice on improvements and helping to brainstorm solutions if desired.
--An in depth look at your web presence and suggestions to hone your blog, increase followings and make suggestions with other social media to strengthen your online exposure
--Emails to answer any questions you have about writing, blogging, getting an agent, leaving an agent or how the agent relationship works
So, do you need a mentor, someone to bounce ideas around with, brainstorm solutions, ask questions about writing or platforms? I may not be 'book published' yet, but I've been around and have picked up a few things. :) I also have the good fortune of being agented by Jill Corcoran of The Herman Agency, and have written over 1200 critiques for other writers, helping them strengthen their writing. Maybe I can help you, too.
If you'd like to enter for the General Drawing, you MUST be a Follower (new or old) and leave a comment. That's it, no big hoops to jump through. Just stop in and say hey, and of course I always appreciate tweets, blog links and general word spreading, but that's up to you. :)
If you wish to also enter for the mentorship draw, you MUST be a follower (new or old) AND fill out this simple form I've attached. Normally I don't do the form thing, but for something like this, it will help me stay organized.You don't need to be at the query stage or anything, just a serious writer intent on improving. :) If you think I might be able to help you on your journey, please enter!
Link to the contest
Monday, September 20, 2010
Let me know if you have a certain genre that you would like me to find a picture for.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Bloody Carnival is now available for purchase! For a limited time (until the end of the year), you can purchase the hard back version. And the soft cover is on sale until Halloween. If you enjoy reading horror stories and being scared, this anthology is for you!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Yay! I officially announce that my first blog contest was a roaring success! My contest was for 100 followers but if you look at my collection of heads, I'm up to 162! You guys are awesome and I love you all, I really do. I wish I could give you all prizes.
You may remember the three prizes I'm giving away:
3 chapter critique
1 chapter critique
one of my ebooks
But I promised more prizes if I reached 150 followers. Which I already surpassed. So more prizes! Which include:
a query critique
a synopsis critique
a Woman of Honor tote bag and a Knight of Glory pen (limited to US winners)
and 4 opportunities to guest blog here on my blog on any topic (within reason) or an interview slot (either regular-type questions or fun, wacky ones) and swag (signed post cards of Woman of Honor and Knight of Glory and WoH and KoG magnets - limited to US winners)
For a total of 10 winners!
And now to announce the winners.
The tenth winner is… Theresa Milstein
Clarissa, you have top pick of whatever prize you want. Then I'll email Kate for her prize and so on down the list.
Congratulations to all the winners! And if you didn't win this time, that's ok. I may do another contest around Christmas but this definitely won't be my last blog contest.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Hi Everyone, guest blog today with Emily Ryan-Davis. Emily, take it away!
Hello Nicole’s Readers! I’m visiting this week to talk about one of my Writing Firsts: hearing someone else’s voice speaking my words.
At the end of August, AudioMinx released my first audio book MATING CALL. MATING CALL is more than my first audio book; it’s also my first published thing in general. I learned a great deal while writing MATING CALL; most important, I learned how to showcase my voice.
Those of you who are writers will understand the significance of that discovery. An author’s voice makes something so much more undeniably hers than something like a byline or a copyright. An author’s voice makes her work distinct.
I’m not sure how must people write, but I know how I write. Words sound themselves out in my head, complete with inflection, drops in tone or rises in pitch. I don’t write to music but my words follow some kind of rhythm devised in my mind. They sound right.
Prior to listening to the proofs of MATING CALL, I never had opportunity to hear someone else speaking words I’d written. We’re all told “read your manuscript out loud so you can catch errors you wouldn’t spot with your eyes,” and I’ve read my words out loud, but a self-reading is not the same as a stranger reading. Not at all.
Listening to MATING CALL, I experienced a multitude of reactions. Embarrassment: had I really written the p-word as many times as the voice actress is saying it? Dismay: She’s not inflecting where I would inflect. Surprise: OMG, I wrote that? It’s awesome! And sheepishness: I can’t believe I’ve been pronouncing that word wrong all these years. – Those are only a few reactions.
I hate the sound of my own voice coming from a recording and in a way, listening to someone else speaking my words was similar to hearing that dreaded sound of my voice. It was also a strangely different experience – just one I hadn’t expected at all.
One thing that stuck with me through the proof-listening of MATING CALL was curiosity. Are readers really not reading with the same voice I wrote with? How does the sound of their inner voice change my story? One thing I know about the audio book version is everybody will be reading with the same voice, everybody will be experiencing the same story without any room for applying their own perception, and…it’s an odd thing to realize.
Writers, if you have an opportunity to see your work produced in audio format, I highly recommend you go for it. An audio book is a remarkable, unique first. Listening to the audio for DRAGON DANCE, the second in the Dragon Queen series, left me with moments of out-loud laughter and goose-bumpy awe and a whole new opportunity to realize I wrote that and it was actually pretty good.
If you’re interested in a chance to win a download of the MATING CALL audio, leave a comment letting me know whether you read in your own voice, or whether you hear the author’s voice as you go along. I’m curious. : )
And thank you for suffering my brief invasion of Nicole’s site!
MATING CALL is the first of a paranormal romance serial trilogy crammed full of dragons both solid and ephemeral. Books two and three, DRAGON DANCE and DRAGON BOUND, will be releasing in September and November of this year (don't forget Tuesdays are discount days at AudioMinx).
Emily Ryan-Davis writes for Ellora's Cave, Liquid Silver Books and Freya's Bower. News of projects, releases and blog appearances can be found at ScorchedSheets.com. MATING CALL, DRAGON DANCE and DRAGON BOUND are currently available in electronic and print format at Freya's Bower.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
So my contest ends tomorrow at midnight. Are you excited to find out if you won or not? I'm thrilled to say that I have more than 150 followers now! Woo-hoo! So that means an additional prize.
Or prizes. :D Actually, I'm going to give out prizes to 10 people. So be sure to enter if you haven't already and thanks so much to those who entered already and got the word out about it.
I'll announce the winners on Thursday.
What's that? You want to know the other prizes? Well, I'm gonna be a tease and say you have to come back on Thursday to find out. hehehe :)
Monday, September 13, 2010
I've decided to start a new feature on my blog. Every Monday, I'm going to post a picture and if you're stuck, maybe it'll inspire you. I hope I love to look at pictures for inspiration. Since I love fantasy and everything it entails, I'll probably post a lot of pictures that lean itself more readily to that genre, but I promise to throw in other kinds of pictures too. So here's the first picture:
Thursday, September 9, 2010
You must be excited about your debut novel, Future Savior Book One: Conception. No book is more special than your first! Could you please tell us a little bit about it?
Jennifer: Hey Nicole! Thanks so much for having me on your blog. The Future Savior Series is the byproduct of a ridiculously long commute. I have an hour and a half drive… one-way. That's three hours in the car! One day, while driving, I started to daydream about interesting characters and the fantastical land of Meric. I would let my mind conjure up different storylines for my mystical characters, pulling out the things that really worked and filing them away in my memory bank. For three months these daydreams continued until I finally realized I needed to sit down and write.
The best way I can sum up Future Savior is to say that it is a combination of all the stories I have ever loved. It is essentially a Christian fantasy series, similar to The Lord of the Rings, but modernized and with a major romantic storyline as the main focus. There are also some subtle sci-fi elements and a huge cliffhanger that stems from the season finales of my favorite sitcoms. What? We have to wait all summer to find out if Ross and Rachel get together?!
The story revolves around Christina Vaughn, a seemingly ordinary person who is thrust into an extraordinary situation only to find out she's not as ordinary as she assumed. As Christina makes her way through her amazing fantasy-like adventure, she learns a great deal about her unbelievable past. She falls in love along the way, all the while battling horrific monsters and struggling with her remarkable destiny.
I love reading series. How many books will be in the series and will Christina, the narrator from Book One, be the narrator for all of the books?
Jennifer: There are five books planned for the series. I am pleased to say that I have them pretty well mapped out and I’m almost half way finished with Book Two: Resurrection which is due out in June. Future Savior is Christina’s story to tell so she’ll be narrating the entire series.
What genres do you like to write and why?
Jennifer: Anything speculative! Or, more specifically, Speculative Christian Fiction. Speculative includes fantasy, sci-fi, horror, urban fantasy, time-travel, and all the other "not so normal" genres. I write this particular genre because this is the genre I'm drawn to. I have always loved anything speculative. From Star Wars to The Chronicles of Narnia and from Harry Potter to Twilight I just can't get enough!
Me too, I love speculative fiction, although I haven't tried to write sci-fi yet. What do you do, other than write of course?
Jennifer: I have a wonderful husband and an awesome two-year-old son. Naturally, I spend as much time with them as possible. Maybe someday I’ll make enough money as a writer to do that full-time, but until then I work as a teacher. I really enjoy working with my Middle School and High School students; they can be so much fun! I also enjoy attending church and I serve in the two-year-old room helping with the child care.
Aw, my oldest is turning two in October. Family's really important to me. How do you find time to write with so much on your plate?
Jennifer: My own writing schedule is very minimal. My husband works nights so I make sure to write for at least one hour on the evenings that he is at work after my son is in bed. Not a lot of time, but even with this meager timetable I was able to complete Future Savior: Conception in two months because I was diligent. Of course, now trying to juggle book promotion on top of everything else I have even less time to write. I hope I can make my June deadline!!!
You don't have to tell me how hard it is to juggle everything that comes with being a writer! You're preaching to the choir, lol Thank you for being on my blog today. Before you go, please share some links, and how about a quick peek at Future Savior: Conception?
DBP Buy link
Thanks again for having me here, Nicole. Please check out the following excerpt from
When the last Vaipe lay dead, he walked toward me, wiping the blood and gore off his face. I stared, amazed by what he just accomplished.
He looked me over, drawing the back of his hand across his cheek. "Are you alright?"
It was a loaded question. Was I physically injured? Was I mentally scarred for life?
I replayed the last few minutes in my head. I witnessed a man being eaten and Shaw slaying
more than twenty Vaipes. The stuff of nightmares.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Even though I wanted my statement to sound brave, I couldn't control the
shakiness of my voice.
"You should go inside one of the houses," Shaw reiterated.
I was about remind him of my last answer to that suggestion when a Vaipe leapt at us from on
top of the fence. I dropped my sword and tried to shove Shaw out of the way, but he was just out of my arms reach. My telekinetic powers kicked in again and I brushed Shaw off to the side with my left hand as easily as sweeping dust from a shelf. With my right hand, I held the Vaipe in midair. It looked at me with such hatred and rage that I couldn't help but scoff ever so slightly. Then I thrust my right arm as hard as I could, throwing the Vaipe into the fence knocking the wind out of it. Grabbing my sword again, I ran to the dazed monster. I hesitated for just one second, wondering if it was right to kill something that was knocked unconscious, when its eyes snapped open and it snarled at me, bracing for attack. The instinct to protect myself outweighed my moral debate, and I slashed it straight through heart.
I turned back to Shaw, breathing hard. He stared at me with raised eyebrows and a slightly open mouth.
I smiled. "How can I go inside a house when clearly you need my help."
Shaw snorted a laugh. "Clearly." He gathered up his bow and nodded for me to follow.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
So hubby got me the best birthday present ever for a writer/reader - a Nook! I'm thrilled and have downloaded several free reads. I can't wait to order a cover and light for it.
I'm having a bit of a hard time figuring out what ebook I should buy and figured I would ask you. So what book should I buy first? I can't wait to enjoy my ereader!
And there's only a week left to sign up for my contest!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I just joined “Confessions of a California Cheer Mom” blog hop.
A blog hop is a wonderful opportunity to meet authors and discover their books. Follow as many authors as you want and feel free to leave comments too. Get to it! Visit some new blogs, comment and follow along. I know I plan to.
And head on over to CA Marshall's blog. She's holding a great contest - giving away a FREE substantial edit! (That's plot, pacing, character development, etc, up to 100k words) to one lucky reader! Personally, I hope I win. :)
Posted by Nicole Zoltack at 1:50 AM
Monday, September 6, 2010
Happy Labor Day! What are you doing today? Working? Going to a picnic? Writing?
My family and I are going over to my MIL's. Then I plan on quickly going through my assassin story before submitting it to a publisher, most likely tomorrow. Eeek!
Btw, I'm only a few followers (7) from 150, when I'll add another prize to my contest. Be sure to tell your friends!
Posted by Nicole Zoltack at 12:31 PM
Thursday, September 2, 2010
It's my birthday today! 26.... although technically I wasn't born until 10:12pm.
The picture is of my wedding cake. And use, we used the dagger to cut the cake. :)
Just wanted to remind everyone to sign up for my contest if you haven't already. If I reach 150 followers, I'll add another prize. Good luck! Contest ends the 15th.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I won a contest over at Three Wicked Writers to have my blog revamped by the mega awesome and extremely talented Natalie Dae! I love the new look. I wanted to try to incorporate all of my genres (fantasy, romance, YA, and horror) which isn't easy but Nat pulled it off with a wonderful gothic fantasy vibe. And she even added a books page with all my covers.
Whatcha think? Love it as much as I do? :)