Sunday, October 28, 2012

Letting Go Of Your Protagonists Is Harder Than You Think

Carolyn Keene (and all the authors writing under this pseudonym) never had to let go of Nancy Drew. They just kept her going, mystery after mystery. But that was a different time and a different era. For me, I just know when it’s time to move on. Or at least I think I do. I mean, I knew it was time to leave upstate New York and move to Arizona when I found myself flinging a snow shovel across the driveway screaming at my husband, “ I can’t take this *#$*@^* snow anymore!!!” 

Writing a series is not very different. At some point, it’s time to let go of the protagonists who have taken such a wide space in your brain that they almost seem real. Such is the case with my “Light Riders” series. With the second novel due for release in a few weeks and the third one well under way (if you consider a midway point to a first draft “well underway”), I know it’s time to bid Ryn and Aeden farewell. Yet, why am I finding it so difficult?

Maybe it’s because I watched them grow-up. Aeden was only 12 when she got lost in time in 1930 Arizona and had to fend for herself. That was the first novel. In the second, Ryn was 15 and had to put up with a snarly, bossy, moody 14 year old sister. By the time they were really young adults at 15 and 16, they had matured and had better coping mechanisms to deal with all the obstacles and tribulations that time travelers face. 

The truth is, they’ve been with me a while and I’ve really grown to like them. I can hear their banter in my mind as I try to fall asleep at night and I find myself looking at situations and wondering what they would do. Then, I start to write their dialogue. But before I wind up on some analyst’s couch trying to link my psyche with that of my characters, it’s time to move on!

There are other terrific protagonists out there. I just need to discover them and uncover them. Let them grow and evolve. But for the meantime, I’m still penning the third and final novel in this series. So, I’ll have Ryn and Aeden with me for a little while longer and that feels pretty good.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Author Meet & Greet at Sun City West Library, SCW, AZ

Having the chance to sit and chat with readers is an invaluable opportunity for authors. Thankfully, our local libraries provide us with this venue a few times a year. Readers are able to sit with authors, ask questions, share ideas and let us know about the topics that interest and inspire them.

For me, it's a chance to learn what readers expect when they pick up a book written in the genre that I use. Multiple voices and mood seem to prevail, along with a fair dose of suspense. I've also learned about new authors and immediately rushed to check out those books!

With this post, I've included some pics from the Sun City West's recent "Meet & Greet." Special thanks go out to librarian Jane Kauzlaric for continuing to set-up these special events! Hope to see you at the next one!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oktoberfest Book Signing at Sun City Grand, Surprise, AZ

Thanks to author Gale Leach, I was able to take part in Sun City Grand's 2012 Oktoberfest. That's Gale in the first picture, featuring  her children's novels ( age 8 + ) - heroic adventures! Also a great adult book on Pickleball! Time Travel Mysteries featured all four novels. We had a fabulous turn-out and lots of interest. Yay!

Oktoberfest Book Signing at Sun City Grand, Surprise, AZ

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Querulous World of Querying

            It used to be so simple -a formal letter requesting representation for publishing. Sure, it had to include a terrific pitch, a great synopsis and enough compelling information to make any publisher or agent interested in your manuscript. But that was before technology. Now, sending a query has become as difficult as a quest for knighthood. Here’s what I mean:

            All manuscripts must be submitted in rich text format and double spaced using Times New Roman.
            All manuscripts must be spaced at 1. 5 and submitted in WORD, but no attachments.
            Attachments only, please, in PDF format, double spaced with a Header and Page Numbers on the top.
            All manuscripts must be submitted in WORD (no version accepted prior to 2007), double spaced and 12 font only.
            All manuscripts must have page numbers centered on the bottom.
            All manuscripts must have page numbers centered on the top.
            And the demands go on and on…
            No wonder querying has become a process of its own, with a number of writers’ conferences offering complete workshops on this art.  And the worst part is, it’s not the query letter! It’s getting to the query letter. For whatever reason, each company or agent wants it his or her own way.
            Last weekend I decided to submit a query to a well-known agency seeking representation for an ebook version of one of my novels. It took me over four hours just to get the header and page number on the same line! Apparently Microsoft Office 2010 doesn’t like to do that!  Frankly, I don’t like to do that. It makes more sense to have the page numbers on the bottom, but who am I to question the preferences of a company that might just represent me?  
            Anyway, I wound up having to copy and paste the header (That’s right – copy and paste) on each page, and that was after calling two WORD experts for their help!
            “Why don’t you just put the stupid page numbers on the bottom?”
            “Because they will instantly reject my query! You don’t know these guys. They’re vicious!”
            That’s why I’m very selective about my querying. I’d rather be writing, editing and researching, not trying to figure out the nuances of word processing. But let’s face it, getting represented is akin to be knighted.  Even if it means clicking the Help tab on the tool bar and working feverishly to satisfy whatever demands and obstacles are hurled your way from the company/agent’s submission page.
            But I have a plan. I’m going to enroll in a course that teaches OFFICE 2010. Of course by that time, Microsoft will have a new improved version and I’ll need to purchase the new software. Then, I’ll find out that my computer is too antiquated for whatever new version they’ve got. That’s what happened to me the last time. And, I couldn’t install my old software into the new computer.
            “What do you mean I can’t continue to use WORD 97?  My first two novels were written on WORD 97!”
            “You can use it, but there will be glitches. You’ll love OFFICE 2010!”
            “Sure, unless of course you plan on querying. Then, all bets are off!”