Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Write Stuff - Pitching Do's and Don'ts

The Write Stuff (GLVWG conference) was such a gem on useful information that for the next couple of posts, I'm going to share my notes with you all.

First up, Kim Lionetti shared with us Pitching Do's and Don'ts.


- Read the full synopsis.

- Allow your nerves to take over.

Of course this one has to be one of the hardest aspects of pitching. But take a step back and relax. Keep in mind that you are the expert on your book.

- Pitch more than one novel.

- Memorize your pitch.

2-5 sentences is best. Narrow your focus. Read book blurbs to get an idea of what exactly you should be trying to say when pitching. Keep in mind how your book is different from others on the market and who is your audience. Above all else, know your book.

Now for the Do's:

- Research prior.

Research the agent, who they represent, what books, but also research the market.

- Ask questions.

If your novel is incomplete, just ask questions and talk about the market.

- Show enthusiasm and let your personality shine through.

- Know who you would compare yourself to.

- Come across as a business person, not just a writer.

If you want writing to be your career (I know I do!), then you can't just be a writer. You also have to be a business person. So learn the business side of publishing.

- Be comfortable with your book.

- Know its marketability.

Currently, Kim is looking for romance (80-100K), women's fiction, mystery (75K), true crime, pop culture, YA (romance, paranormal to a degree, 50-75K, coming-of-age). She is especially on the lookout for women's fiction and YA.

With your comparisons, keep them current. Should be at least one book, can also use movie or TV shows.

The query letter should be like a business letter. I am seeking.... Appeal to the readers of... Blurb. Close business-like.

If told to submit, use a cover letter that includes the query blurb to refresh the agent/editor's memory.

Always query broadly unless agent asks for exclusivity.

Let agents fight over you if someone offers representation.

If you don't receive a response from an agent, re-send query with "I had sent at such and such a date..."

Now this part is from me. Pitching is best when you try to relax and just talk about your book. Start with your logline and go from there. Be engaging. Be yourself. That's how I went into my first ever face-to-face pitch session and I like to think it went well.

Next blog post will be about premise.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wizard Submission and GLVWG conference part one

Today I finished polishing my short story, Mine to Control, and submitted it to the Way of the Wizard anthology. Here's a brief blurb: A town crier announces a magic contest with the prize to become a famous wizard's apprentice. Madeline enters but isn't chosen. However, the wizard Larkin isn't as kind and good as he appears. Can Madeline save her friends and their village?

I love writing stories about swords and sorcery. This anthology was right up my alley. I really hope that Mine to Control makes the final cut. Is anyone else submitting to this anthology?

The pre-conference portion of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG) conference started yesterday, of which I only signed up for the actual conference portion. However, there was a writer's circle that all conference attendees could partake in so I went to that last night. It was fun. I didn't stick around for the pitch portion and instead went up to Rebecca Rose's room and chatted with her and Judy for a good long time. The connection part of conferences has to be one of my favorite parts. Unfortunately I had signed up too late to be able to pitch to an agent but there might be time to talk to some of them throughout the conference, and there is an agent panel so that I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Tonight, there is a Pitching Do's and Don't and opening ceremony portion to the conference and then it's all day Saturday. I'll post updates and any insider information that the agents/editors give me.

Finally, how do you all like the look of my blog? I like the background but I'm not sure that it shows what my writing is about so I might change it again sometime soon.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

First Reviews in for Knight of Glory

First, Knight of Glory received 4 Cups from Coffee Time Romance:

I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to seeing how the next phase of the war goes. From dwarves to kings to mages, this book has almost every fantasy character available. Betrayers, liars, and spies round out the list of characters. The battles are interesting and the search for power is fascinating. The dialogue is good, and the lead up to the next book in the series is well done.

Plus Shawna Williams left me a review on Amazon:

I loved this book! It's very Lord of the Rings'ish' without being copycat, AT ALL. Nicole took great care to create characters, plot and settings that are as unique as they are captivating. Sir Geoffry is the noble night with a vulnerable heart. Jenanna is tough, yet feminine; independent, but lonely. And Celestia turned out to be a complete surprise as to what I had expected. Nope, I'm not gonna give anything more away on that.

My absolute favorite thing about this series is that I'm able to share it with my kids and my niece, who is a medieval nut (and I mean that in a good way, Lauren). I love that this series is not only entertaining, but memory making as well.

Thanks Nicole! Can't wait for the next.

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Submission/Critique Contest with agent Suzie Townsend of FinePrintLit"

This blog is hosting a wonderful contest that I am definitely signing up for and you should too. Here are some of the details:

Here are the prizes:

Suzie Townsend, literary agent extraordinaire with FinePrintLit, has consented to give to the grand prize winner a 40-page partial submission PLUS a critique of those pages! (We know! INVALUABLE!)

Kimberly Derting, author of THE BODY FINDER (release date 3-16) has donated an awesome Body Finder black totebag (perfect size for a whole stack of library books), a signed-in-silver poster, autographed bookmark, and sticker for one lucky winner! (Check out the Literati Blog for pics!)

The book THE HOST, by Stephenie Meyer. Need we say more?

HOW TO WRITE THE GREAT AMERICAN ROMANCE by Katherine Lanigan makes writing almost easy! The step-by-step guide can easily be applied to writing fiction of any genre.

Ever had Enstrom's Toffee? Seriously, the most delicious confection EVER. Suzette's husband flew to Colorado to pick up this 4 ounce box, and we are giving it away to one lucky winner!

But hurry! The contest ends on Sunday! Good luck!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back from Epicon

Well, I've been back from Epicon for a few days now and I'm still sleep-deprived, so tired that I can't even sleep. I hate that! Of course, some of that might be from the pregnancy.

This was my first Epicon, my first ever writer's conference, and I had a blast. It was a lot of fun. The best part was being about to put faces to names and just talking, even if it wasn't about writing.

We (hubby and baby came along) went on a vampire tour the first night. Hubby didn't care for it too much, he had expected something else. Basically, Adam, the tour guide, showed us different buildings where murders happened and the perpetrators drank blood. "Real" vampires don't have fangs, aren't killed by garlic or stakes, can go out in sunlight. Essentially, vampirism is a condition of the mind. It isn't real, although some people might think they are. Because I graduated from college with a concentration in forensic science, I took a lot of CJ and psych courses, and learning about serial killers have always fascinated me. I'm strange, I know, what can I say? So I really enjoyed the tour, although I do think that a lot of it was stretched for entertainment purposes.

On the tour, I met Sara Thacker. Great gal, we spent a fair amount of time together throughout the conference. During one of the lunches, Holly Jacobs gave the keynote speech. Hilarious! What a funny, charming lady. I really enjoyed her. So easy to talk to, too. Another doll was Laurie Larson. I was so thrilled for her when she won her EPIC E-Book Award for Preacher Man.

There were many others that were also wonderful to meet. Can't mention everyone by name though. All in all, it was a great experience. Even if I did have to wait forever to be served lunch one day because I couldn't eat the entree (crab wrapped in fish). The vegetarian plate was delicious though.

Next year, I probably won't be able to go to any conferences. Not with baby #2 going to be too young. So I might go to one or two (or zero) more this year. There's a local one the end of the month. (Registration ends in a few days so I really have to make up my mind about it quickly). Plus I'm thinking about the Lori Foster Get Together. I would be traveling by myself this time, should I go.

What conferences have you gone to? Where they worth it? What did you learn? Would you go back again?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Courtly Love Winner and Knight of Glory

Drumroll please.....

The winner of the ARC of Knight of Glory.....

From all the great commenters (and comments) was....


I really hope you enjoy my book. If you want, send me an email with what you thought of it after you read it.

Other news:

Knight of Glory was released today! I am very excited about this release. I think it's my best novel to date (which I hope I always say about each new release, I want to always grow and be a better writer).

The blurb:

Sir Geoffrey, along with some companions, has been sent away from Arnhem, entrusted by Queen Aislinn for a special mission, and has to leave behind the mysterious lady Celestia. On his journey, he uncovers seeds of a sinister plot, learns a horrible secret, and makes a new friend in exile Jenanna.

Their mission completed, Geoffrey and his companions rush to two different kingdoms to ask for aid. Danger and betrayal lurks around every corner, and even allies have secrets that could prove deadly. Geoffrey's feelings for Celestia grow and wane. After learning some of Celestia's secrets, he begins to have second thoughts about his love for her and is even drawn to Jenanna

Rumors abound that the Speicans have enlisted a mage of their own, to work unspeakable, forbidden magic. The war between Speica and Arnhem has just begun. Will Geoffrey survive the battle to live another day and discover which woman he truly loves?

And a short excerpt:

One lady stood by herself in the middle of the ballroom. The dancers paraded around her, ignoring her, and she appeared to be in her own world. Geoffrey's feet guided him to her even before he thought about it. "Hello," he said, bowing lowly. He accepted her outstretched hand and brushed his lips against it. A complete gentleman, he released it as soon as his lips touched. To hold her hand any longer, especially without knowing her name, would disgrace her reputation. "My name is Geoffrey of Siva."

"Hello, Geoffrey," the vision of loveliness said. "It is a pleasure to meet you."

"The pleasure is all mine." Geoffrey took half a step back and drank in her beauty. Her complexion was unlike any that he had ever seen before, a pale faint blush color.

A single strand of long wavy hair tumbled from her elegant hairdo, and she twirled it around her finger. "I am known as Celestia," she said, her voice light and feathery.

"Well, Celestia, would you care for a dance?" Geoffrey's heart thundered. Is this the first stirrings of love? He found himself drawn to her, unable to tear his gaze away. Reaching out with his hand to hold her, he was shocked when she stepped backward.

"I would rather not."

"Oh." Geoffrey fought back a wave of disappointment and struggled to keep his face from showing his frustration and regret.

The corners of her ruby lips twitched, and she let loose a soft chuckle. "I have never made it a practice of mine to dance with strange men."

"But I'm not a strange man," Geoffrey rushed to protest.

"Ah, but I do not know you, do I? Let us talk awhile." She gestured to some chairs.

They walked over, pausing to allow the dancers room to twirl and glide, and sat down next to each other. "What kingdom are you from?" Geoffrey asked. He placed his hands in his lap, for lack of a better place to put them and suppressed the urge to crack his knuckles. He always cracked his knuckles whenever he felt unsure of himself. Once Brother Amicus had yelled at him for the distracting noise when it had broken the silence of the classroom after the monk had asked Geoffrey a question that he didn't know the answer to.

Celestia stared at him, her eyes pale, barely showing a hint of color. Green? Or blue? Geoffrey couldn't decide which, but he didn't minding gazing into her eyes, trying to decipher their color.

"I'd much rather talk about you. Tell me some of your daring adventures. You have had daring adventures?" She raised an arched eyebrow, and her lips curved into a teasing smile.

Also, in mid-February, the Classic Romance Revival put together a wonderful anthology called The Cupid Diaries: Moments in Time. My short story, A Squire's Love, is included in this wonderful tome! This story centers on the squire Leo, a character that is briefly mentioned in Knight of Glory. It's a cute, heart-warming story in which Leo faces family difficulty put still has time to save a damsel in distress.

I submitted a short story to Pill Hill Press for their Atlantis anthology but was rejected. (Boo hiss) I'm going to try to work on it a little before sending it out.

So what's next? Well, I have a short story in another anthology to be released next month, in Desert Breeze Publishing's Be Mused Anthology. But as for writing, I think I am going to focus on completely redoing the beginning to The Land of Imagining. Work on Alexia's character, add more action to the beginning. The middle and end are done, it's just the opening that is giving me grief. Then I'll send it to a friend's teenage daughter so I can finally have a younger perspective on it.

To check out where I've been lately, read the latest issue of the Avoid Writer's Hell magazine. Toward the back of the issue, Shiela interviewed me.

So that's what's new with me. What's new with all of you? What are you working on?