Friday, July 29, 2011

Authors Supporting Authors

Author: Nathan Carriker 

“No matter how trite it may sound, the truth remains: may people, myself included, work well enough alone, but no one can do their best relying only upon their own talent, training, and experience to critique their own product.” Nate

Nate’s words sing to my heart. I actually met Nate on line almost two-years ago when he was feeling like giving up. He had written the novel. He had the drive. Nobody would give him the opportunity to listen to the wonderful story he’d woven. We spent some time discussing how to concisely pitch his novel. It was Nate who took it to the next level. And this week I received an ARC. My heart is overwhelmed that Nate didn't give up. Mostly because his book is absolutely fantastic!

I haven’t finished reading A Silver Ring yet because I don’t want it to end—I am enjoying it too much. Nate, per your request, when I am done I know the perfect person to give this to.

A Silver Ring is a family story. A love story. An aviation story. It’s history. Nate has craftily written this family/aviation drama by shifting between now and then. His story transcends the generations of time, love, and lives lost. The pages drip with connection, and flow with passion, as he brings a family full circle. His writing is fresh, clear, and he has a talent for pulling you into the drama and then suddenly taking you to another time without losing you. 

“Every soul has a Mission—but every life has its Fate.”

Nate has a fascinating story himself. He is a pilot. He should be dead. He was a Friday Fabulous Flyer on Flight To Success on May 14, 2010. If you would like to meet the author, and read his inspirational story, please click Here

Thank you all for your continued support of authors. 

Together, we will make all our dreams come true.

Please take a moment and congratulate Nate on his great success. Oh yes, and don’t forget to click HERE to buy a copy of A Silver Ring. 

Enjoy the Journey!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Winner of Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes

The time to announce the winner of Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank has arrived! First I want to say thank you to everyone who read about her novel, entered, and supported her. I'm thrilled to report that reviews are rolling in and they are absolutely glowing! 

But I won't keep you waiting any longer. The winner of a paperback copy of this fabulous book is: 

Congratulations to Ansley, an email has been sent. If you didn't win don't worry, next month the Critique Sisters Corner is taking part in my Tour Of Secrets and you'll have a chance to win one of three fantastic prizes, including my debut novel, The Secret Of Spruce Knoll. Until then, feel free to order yourself a copy of Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, you won't be disappointed. To check out the Tour Of Secrets or even get in on it, click here

Monday, July 25, 2011

Conference Prep: Six Essentials for Your Checklist

It's a week and a half to the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) Conference, and I"M NOT READY. Big surprise. I don't think I've ever actually felt ready for any of the conferences I've gone to at the week-and-a-half-to-go-stage.

It's that internal stomach grab of "what if" that gets me every time. "What if" can be great when you're trying to change up a sticky place in your novel's plot line, but not when it's "What if the agents/editors hate my elevator pitch, or don't like suspense even though they said they do on their website (it's happened, I'm sorry to report), or (gasp) don't like the outfit I'm wearing???" When it's that "what if," it means: they won't be interested in my book!

Okay, so this is your basic anxiety attack that I seem to be having here on the CSC blog. Here's how I talk myself down and make myself ready:

1. I have a completed manuscript that I think has real merit (check)
2. I've honed my elevator pitch (check)
3. I've prepared three longer pitches, each with slightly different orientation, so I can choose which direction to take the discussion based on reaction to the short pitch (still working on it, but by a week from today there will be a 'check' in this space)
4. I know my book inside out, and can talk about it conversationally, not just in the formal 'pitch' format (check, and I think this ability will expand as I finish those longer pitches)
5. I have a comparable known book/movie that my project is similar to, and I can explain how it differs from that book/movie (check)
6. I'm excited because there are some interesting people to meet at this conference, some great topics being covered in sessions, and the networking opps are terrific (check)

Those essentials, when completed, internalized and checked off, will go a long way to put any writer attending a conference at ease. Being able to check them off also allows development of a crucial element: well-defined passion. When you are passionate about your project, others can be, too.

Another thing I'm thinking about for the PNWA Conference is the broader perspective to be gleaned from top industry professionals on how things are going in the industry these days. Always a hot topic, and one that tops my current interest list. I'll let you know what I learn on that one, after the conference.

What about you? How do you prepare for conferences, and if you've been to some, what do you think works best for you in meeting your conference goals?

p.s. I know I promised a continuation of Tarot's Fool's journey this week, but he got bogged down contemplating the fuzz that fell out of his belly button from hanging upside down on that tree two weeks ago. He'll be out of his bog soon, and back on the blog page.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What Genre is Your Life?

Just when I thought I was living in the middle of an aviation thriller being attacked by more than one antagonist, I found myself inside a medical thriller at Swedish hospital in the emergency room at midnight. And then my life transitioned to women's fiction as took the red-eye and ended up in the Prentice Women's hospital in Chicago. Without warning I was in the making of another medical thriller.

What is this... a full moon or what?

I am so glad that there are happy endings in all good stories. Both medical thrillers are moving that happy direction. That aviation thriller... well, it's still in progress. We can only hope that truth and honesty prevail. 

Today I'm announcing the winner of Jessica Subject's giveaway of Celestial Seductions.

The winner is: Michael Di Gesu.

Michale entered the contest with this comment: "One of my all time favorite movies from ions ago which I saw for the first time two decades after it was filmed is Barbarella with Jane Fonda..... who can forget her "heightened" pleasure scene.... Blushing now. Jessica the cover is awesome and the story sounds like a fun sexy read with a very interesting twist."

Congratulations Michale! If you think you were blushing before, wait until you read her story. Wow!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Remember to enjoy the journey.

Oh... and yes, what Genre is your life?

~ Karlene

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wonderful Writer's Workshop

With time and money in short supply it can be difficult to afford going to a writer's workshop so when I find one that is really worth it I love spotlighting it. Last week I attended the Oregon Coast Children's Book Writer Workshop and was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Of course, choosing a workshop all has to do with where you are at in your work and what you're looking to achieve. The OCCBWW was a hands on learning experience full of informative lectures and one-on-one consultations with instructors. It was not a place to pitch, find an agent, or an editor, though there definitely were some excellent ones in attendance.

Instead, OCCBWW was a relaxed atmosphere that invited writers to open up and share their work, get feedback, and learn from the lectures. Every day we had a personal consultation with one of the instructors. This could either be with an author, an editor, or an agent. Prior to the consultation the person we were meeting with read our first five pages, then during the consultation they gave us feedback on it. Each day presented a new opportunity with a new instructor. My consultations were with agent Michelle Andelman and author Pamela Smith Hill (Michelle twice during the week, and Pamela three times).

My work wasn't right for Michelle but regardless, she gave me amazing feedback that helped me better my writing and steered me in the right direction. The fact that she wasn't the agent for me wasn't a bad thing. This made our talks very relaxed and allowed us the chance to interact, maximizing the learning experience. She was encouraging about the agent whom I have a full of the manuscript out to (saying she'd be great for the work) and even steered me in the right direction toward an editor (who was in attendance at the workshop). I'm waiting on that though since I have a full out and want the chance to edit if that agent takes me on, before an editor sees it. The other three days I met with author Pamela Smith Hill and it was a match made in heaven. Her knowledge of YA historical transformed my outlook and my writing. 

If you're looking for a workshop that will give you maximum feedback on improving and polishing your work, then this is definitely the one for you. And who knows, you just might make that connection with an agent or editor in attendance. I'm curious, what are some of your favorite workshops or retreats, and why?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Debut Author Eisley Jacobs

It's time to celebrate a wonderful debut author, Eisley Jacobs. Eisley's Middle Grade book, BORN TO BE A DRAGON, releases July 20. Two days from now! Before we talk with Eisley, here's a snippet about this delightful book:

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup...
This is what Lord Edric wants you to believe. He will do anything in his power to see that humans never come in contact with dragons again. However, he doesn't plan for Meia, the foster child who dreams of dragons, believing they are real. Or Deglan, the ten-year-old dragon who bears the ancient mark that threatens everything Lord Edric has worked for.
Join these two unlikely friends as they discover the truth behind a legend so extraordinary it will alter each of their lives... forever.

Welcome to Critique Sisters Corner, Eisley. I can just imagine how much my son (and I) would have loved this story when he was a young reader.  It's got everything from a child longing for magical friendship, to a friendly dragon, to a big bad villain trying to keep people and dragons apart. Tell us what inspired you to write BORN TO BE A DRAGON.

EJ: My inspirations come in many forms, but the main three take the shape of my children (ages 8, 10, and 11). When I first began writing BORN TO BE A DRAGON it was to try and spur my boys to get the love-bug of reading (which worked). But as I wrote, inspirations seemed to come from everywhere I looked. Meia's inspirations actually came from a foster child here in Denver, one who I hope can have a family some day.

What a perfect combination of desires, Eisley. Hoping that a child will have a home, and wanting children to love reading. I love that. No wonder the book flowed for you! And developing that 'love-bug' for reading early is so important. It opens a world of lifelong opportunity.

I've got to ask, when you finish your first draft and your edits, do you read your books to your children? Are they betas for you?

EJ: I actually read each chapter as I completed it because they were begging for more! So yes, they were my first beta readers. Even at one point when I hadn't figured out a small plot twist, my middle child gasped and said, "Oh my gosh, I know who he is!" I stared at him blankly, wondering who he thought it might be, then it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I knew exactly who he meant and it worked perfectly in my plot. It was awesome!"

That was awesome! Do you think you could loan me your middle child for a while—I've got some problems with a saggy middle in my WIP right now that maybe he could help me with?  Kidding, but wow, how great to get that kind of feedback.

One of the questions I always look for in debut author interviews is, what was your favorite part of writing the book? Can you tell us what that was for you with BORN TO BE A DRAGON?

EJ: Absolutely. My favorite part of writing this book was completing it and then sharing it with a child who was not my own. The look on her face when she finished was PRICELESS!!! It really made me realize that THIS was the reason I wrote.

That must have been a fabulous feeling. And how perfect for giving you the confidence to know this book is ready to present to the world.

Okay, Eisley, it's time to talk about the exciting news we've all been reading about on blogs, that you're giving away a NOOK as part of a scavenger hunt. Wow, an e-reader is an outstanding prize. We're excited here at CSC to be part of your scavenger hunt. Can you tell us more about that, and about what readers can do that will let them enter to win the prize?

EJ: Well, the Scavenger Hunt is pretty simple. You read each day's blogs (linked on my website), and then find the answer to each day's question. You simply comment on my blog when you know the answer (for the day) and that enters you into the daily prize AND a chance to win a NOOK! Each blog says something different, so each question is exclusive to each site. It should be a lot of fun!

Terrific! Easy and fun and great prizes. We like that. And, we like the sound of BORN TO BE A DRAGON, a lot. Is there anything you can tell us about this book that we can't read about on your website or blog?

EJ: I can tell you that of all the manuscripts I've ever completed, this one will hold a very special place in my heart. Not only because it's my debut novel, but because the characters really encompassed a lot of who I hope my children will become. Dreamers. Believers. Children who put hope in things unseen, hold onto the faith for their futures and not dwell in the past. Actually, that is my hope for all kids . . . that they don't let their pasts define who they become, but they use it as a spring board into something amazing!

Well, on that beautiful note, I will say thank you so much for visiting us here at CSC, and for sharing BORN TO BE A DRAGON with us, Eisley. We wish you the very best of luck.

And the best of luck to all readers who enter the contest, as well!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Writers Available for Consult!

Last week we started a movement of writers supporting writers. This week I’m displaying these results. What a fabulous group of writers willing to help other writers. Please let us know if you too would like to be added to the list.

Heather McCorkle:  Heather's Odyssey
·      Independent  Publishing via Abbott Press
      Freelance Editor Recommendations
      Querying Questions
      Questions About Agent/Author Relationships
      Writer Workshop/Conference Questions
      Martial Arts Questions
      Equestrian Questions
·      Business side of Health Care Delivery Policy
·      Pharmaceuticals
·      Communications.

Christine Hollingsworth: The Novel Mechanic
          Pilot. General Aviation.
          Alias Sherlock... can solve any mystery

Tina Moss: Tina Moss
·      NYC city resident
·      Black Belt in Shotokan Karate
·      Japanese culture
·      Works in Higher Education/College scene
·      Taught school abroad
·      Half Irish/ Half Italian Brooklyn baby
·      Buddhist who grew up Catholic
·      Horror movie buff

·      BA in Psychology
·      Professional Actress (Stage)
·      Jewish
·      Open to any religion and culture questions

·      Lived in London, England
·      Worked in Hospitals, and during surgeries
·      Makes dress jewelry
·      Three YA children
·      Catholic: Confession/communion/confirmation

Jo, The Graceful Doe:   The Graceful Doe
·      Lives in Austrailia
·      Primary school teacher
·      Has two young children/ pregnancy and young kids.
·      Lives on a farm.

Julie Musil: Julie Musil
·      Water skier
·      Camper
·      Three sons.
·      Lives in Southern California
·      Rides quads and ATV’s.

Kris YankeeAdventures that Score
·      Editor for small publisher
·      Project manager: proofs, illustrators and layout
·      Hockey Mom Coach: practice, personalities and game related issues.
·      Lives in Michigan
·      Water person
·      Two pre-teen boys and two dogs
·      10 yrs in mortgage industry: rates, under-writing, closing, training, computer manuals.

Robyn Campbell: Putting Paper to Pen
·      Horses: Showing, western, trail riding, endurance writing
·      Has type 1 diabetes
·      Homeschooling (20 yrs)
·      From the Keys
·      Swimming and water skiing
·      Lives on a farm

JC Martin: Fighter Writer
·      Pharmacology
·      Martial Arts
·      Dog breeding: Chihuahuas and Malaysia

·      Teacher
·      Education for non-US-citizens
·      Husband used to be a police officer: jail and arresting procedures.
·      Sports: Basketball, Baseball, Football—Playing or coaching.

Angela Ackerman:  The bookshelf Muse
·      Lives in Calgary, Canada… million plus residents
·      Grew up in a small town.
·      Owned a grain farm: grains, canola seed, etc.
·      Teenage boys
·      Husband is management consultant with large business

Susan Kay Quinn:  Life Liberty and Pursuit
·      Degrees: Aerospace Engineering, M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D. Environmental Engineering.
·      “Geek”
·      Worked for NASA: Edwards Flight Research, Goddard Space Center and Langley Research Center.
·      Designed Rockets and Scramjet Engines
·      Studied effect of engine pollution on upper atmosphere
·      Rocket scientist… but husband has the shirt.
·      Husband is a Rocket builder
·      Worked for GE designing Aircraft Engines
·      Worked for the National Center for Atmospheric Research
·      Three math-science oriented sons.
·      Entire family has a “Larger than average knowledge of wormholes and quantum mechanics”

Karlene Petitt: Flight to Success
·      International Airline Pilot
·      Type rated on B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727, and A330
·      Worked for 8 commercial airlines
·      Pilot instructor
·      MBA
·      MHS
·      3 adult daughters.
·      6 grandkids under the age of three
·      Home remodeling: paint, tile… fireplace, showers to patio.
·      Grocery store: Checking, stocking, managing, Deli, Catering, and running groceries.

Last but not least, I would like to introduce you to Eisely Jacobs

Eisley Jacobs is giving away a “Nook” to one lucky blog reader/contest participant. Check out Monday’s post and see how you can win this great prize. What in the heck is a Nook? I guess I’ll find out Monday.

This busy mother of three young children, who is writing YA and MG and inspiring children to read, would love your support and encouragement. Join us Monday and enter the drawing. But we'll all be winners just to know this fabulous woman.

Also... add to our list... it's a work in process. 

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Debut Author Denise Grover Swank

I'm thrilled to be celebrating the debut of a good friend and fantastic author, Denise Grover Swank. Her paranormal mystery, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, released yesterday. Before we meet Denise though here is a bit about her novel:

"It all started when I saw myself dead." 

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She's had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone's toilet's overflowed, but she's never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Welcome to the Critique Sisters Corner Denise! Your novel is being described as Medium meets The Bucket List. I love that! Already I want to pick it up based solely on that description. What inspired you to write this novel?

DGS: Last summer, I took my son to the DMV to get license plates for his new car. I stood at the counter, looked around the dingy waiting room, and said "You could get a really interesting story about a woman who works in a DMV." My son rolled his eyes, but the idea was firmly planted. That was a Thursday.

On Saturday, I got a rejection from an agent who read the paranormal thriller I was querying, Chosen. She said she'd loved it but didn't think she could sell it. I let myself wallow in self-pity for one day, then told myself on Sunday it was time to start a new project. All I had was the sequel to the rejected manuscript (which I was in the process of writing) and the DMV idea. I let the DMV idea roll around in my head and by the afternoon I had a VERY short synopsis, kind of like a query letter. A woman who usually sees boring visions sees a vision of herself dead thru a customer at the DMV. She's lived with her overbearing mother for twenty-four years and makes a list of things she wants to do before she dies. It grew from there. It sounds heavy but throw in a quirky southern town, a feisty heroine, a hot guy next door, and an ugly dog and (hopefully) you get a fun summer read.

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes is a hybrid: part mystery, part romance, part chick-lit. And I love that. It's the first book in the Rose Gardner Mystery series.

I love that your idea was sparked from a mundane task! While writing what is the one thing you can't do without?

DGS: Music. I HAVE to have music. I can't listen to silence and I have to drown out the screaming children in the background, err...I mean exuberant children in the background. (I have five children living at home.)

LOL! Wow, five?! Writing a novel with a house full like that had to be tough. What was your favorite part of writing this novel?

DGS: I loved how Rose took control of the story and wouldn't let me go. It was pure magic. The first draft was 102,000 words and I wrote it in 30 days. The story literally fell out of my fingertips. (It's currently at 93K) She was so much fun that it was a total whirlwind.

Also, the story is in first person. I heard Rose's voice in my head as I wrote and I started talking with a southern accent. I'd lived in the south for almost ten years before moving back to the midwest and one of my biggest regrets was that I didn't pick up a southern accent. An added benefit was that I drove my children CRAZY. See? Win/Win. Late August I did a fun vlog with my children and my accent so they could air their complaints. ;)

I'd love to see that video! LOL! Is there anything you can tell us about Twenty-Eight And A Half Wishes that we may not know from your website? Something juicy perhaps?

DGS: Juicy? hmmm... Rose is completely inexperienced with men so her encounters with Joe and her reactions to what she experiences with him were a lot of fun to write. Especially the closer Rose gets to marking off number fifteen: Do more with a man.

Something fun that's not mentioned on my website is a secondary character--a dog named Muffy. Muffy was supposed to be a plot tool and ended up becoming a character all on her own. I've had readers tell me that some of their favorite humorous parts of the book include Muffy. One even told me that Muffy was her favorite literary dog ever.

That sounds like too much fun and now I can hardly wait to meet Muffy! From your website I see that your next novel, Chosen, is releasing this fall. Is it a sequel to Twenty-Eight And A Half Wishes or a stand-alone?

DGS: Chosen is the first book of a paranormal thriller trilogy. Hunted, the second book of the series will be available in late fall. The Chosen series is much darker and edgier the Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. I have two sides, a light-hearted funny side and a darker side. I love that I'm able to explore both with my writing.

I'm glad we won't have to wait too long for Chosen, it sounds right up my alley! Exploring is definitely one of the best perks of writing. Any closing thoughts to leave us with?
DGS: Right now I'm working on the second book of the Rose Gardner Mystery series, currently titled Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons. The story picks up about a month after Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. Rose has been called for Fenton County jury duty. Soon after she's been picked, she has a vision in the courthouse men's restroom that the defendant didn't commit the crime. Rose has to figure out what to do with the information while trying to maintain a long distance relationship with Joe, watching her sister begin to question her marriage, and dealing with the five mischievous boys who moved into Joe's old house next door. Oh, and throw in stuffy new assistant district attorney. A typical Rose mess.

I love that there is going to be more than one novel with Rose! Thank you so much for joining us Denise. My copy of Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes is on it's way and I can hardly wait! To get your own click here.

And here's great news: Denise is giving away one paperback copy of Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes to one lucky reader of this blog post. Just leave a comment to be entered. The winner will be announced two weeks from today. Good luck, everyone!


Monday, July 11, 2011

To Gain Insight, Stop Resisting: Week 12 with Tarot's Fool

The Fool is entering ever-more mysterious territory. Each time he learns something new he is strengthened. Each encounter with the elements of magic, nurture, enemies, complications, enlightenment, gifts, and luck, allows him to go farther along his path toward achieving his quest. At the same time, he's finding that his footing is slipping more often. He's gained knowledge, but in the process, he's lost some soul, and that is making the path slippery. 

How ironic! Soul was what drove him to his quest in the first place, and propelled him onward. (Writing that first draft was one of the most exhiliarating experiences of his life. Then he honed his skills through trial and error with workshopping and querying.) But along the way he found out that to make any headway, as an unproven seeker, he had to play by the rules. So he became a master of adapting his quest to the rules of the Gatekeepers. (Now, he's got the whole genre thing nailed. He's let go of overwrought prose, lofty ideas and internal monologues that don't advance the plot. Literary agents in the ultra-competitive debut-author-market responded well to his no-nonsense, suspenseful, short sentences. They expressed interest in learning more about his characters and their arcs! He sent off requested partials and fulls.) Great, as far as it went, but . . . (Last week, Lady Justice came along and opened his eyes to his own loss of equilibrium. (Last week's post, Week 11. Previous posts in this series are linked at the bottom of this entry.) She made him realize he's lost the spiritual heart that drove his early writing. He must recapture it, come what may.)

The Fool settles at the base of a tree, determined to reclaim his spiritual self. He sits there for nine nights and nine days. On the ninth day, without any conscious thought about what he's doing, he climbs the tree and hangs upside down. For this moment he gives up all that he is, or ever thought he was, and just becomes.

He is The Hanged Man. His existence is about suspension, not life or death or achievement or quests. He has entered a realm of trial, meditation, selflessness, sacrifice, and prophecy. He has stopped questioning; he has stopped resisting. He has made himself vulnerable. And in that moment, coins fall from his pockets to the earth below him. He gazes at them but doesn't see them as money, only as round pieces of metal. Everything suddenly changes perspective.

He is suspended between the earthly world and the spiritual world and he sees them both so clearly it's as if they are made of etched crystal. The moment is dazzling. He sees connections he's never seen before. Mysteries are revealed. (There's a never-ending swirl of realities in the publishing world that determines decisions, with a seemingly infinite number of possible combinations, depending on anything from excellent literary taste and judgment, to completely arbitrary factors unrelated to either of those things. The only thing he can control is his own work and his willingness to make himself available to those who might be interested. He has no influence on the other factors, but at the same time, he sees that the fact of his work is inextricably related to all that happens within this realm.) The Fool senses something else as well. It is that this moment of enlightenment is fleeting. Soon he will have to climb down from the tree and get on with life, and when he does, things will be different. He will have to act on what he's learned.

The Fool climbs down and scoops up the coins, which have become runes. All knowledge is contained in these runes. They are in his pocket. How will he use them? We'll find out when we join him again two weeks from now.


Announcement: next week I will be interviewing a wonderful debut author, Eisely Jacobs, about her book, Born to be a Dragon, coming out July 20. Commenters/participants in Eisley's scavenger hunt will be entered to win a Nook!

Links to Fool's Journey posts:  0—The Fool1—The Magician2—The High Priestess3—The Empress4&5—The Emperor, and The Hierophant6—The Lovers; 7—The Chariot8—Strength9—The Hermit; 10—Wheel of Fortune; 11—Justice

My interpretation of The Fool's Journey as it applies to the writer's life is my own, but the journey is long-established from a variety of sources. Those I have relied on most heavily are:  TAROT BASICS by Burger & Fiebig, AECLECTIC TAROT by Thirteen, and EVERYDAY TAROT by Fairfield

Friday, July 8, 2011

Writers Supporting Writers

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post stating Hemmingway's comment about writers... "Writers can never critique another writer’s work because we’re all in competition.”  (Midnight In Paris)

My contention is that we can help each other. One my greatest loves of becoming an author is the support and encouragement of other writers. I recently helped Jessica Subject with an aviation scene in her book, Celestial Seductions. This gave me a brilliant idea...

What if we created a "go-to" data base for technical advice? 

If you have something that you're experienced in, and would be open to share your knowledge, please let us know below. Provide a link to your blog. Writers supporting writers. 

I'm the person to ask with anything aviation, international traveling, TSA, flight training, or psychology of pilots. Have questions about teenage girls? Been there and done that. I also have an MBA and MHS, so I'd be open for questions with business and human services. My love of editing falls in the story. If you get stuck and need someone to brainstorm with, let me know. Also, if you're tiling your house, I can give tips there too.

Please visit me at my other blog Flight To Success. I just created a new look. Blending aviation with writing, and I would love your opinion and support.

It make take a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to birth a book. Together we can make all our dreams come true.

I hope you'll share your careers and expertise below. I'll make a master list of everyone's ability, with blog information and will post in one of the ensuing months.

Happy Writing! And remember to enjoy the journey!

~ Karlene

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Editorial Stage With Abbott Press

I have completed the editorial stage with Abbott Press, which means my manuscript is now going into the design stage! That kind of makes me want to hyperventilate so we won't talk about that yet.  The editorial stage surpassed all of my expectations and convinced me even more that I made the right decision to go with them. For those who are curious, here's how it worked:

After barely over two weeks, I received my suggested edits back. It wasn't just a marked up manuscript though. There were two versions, one with all the suggested changes, and reasons why listed, and then another that they called the clean copy. The clean copy had all the grammar changes already entered and had comments in the margin regarding small questions or issues that were non-grammar related. I could use either version. If I wanted to go with all their grammar changes and just work on the questions and issues, then I could work on the 'clean' version. Or if I wanted to go through every bit of their suggested changes, grammar included, I could work on the first version. I loved having this choice.

Their thoroughness to detail and quality blew me away. The editor who worked on my manuscript was top-notch and I learned a lot from their notes alone. I've printed it out and will use it as a guide to teach myself not to make the same errors in the future. Not only does my manuscript feel polished now, it feels ready to take on the world. And I learned a lot in the process! The last leg of the race lays before me and now I know I can go the distance.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Do What It Takes to Find Your Equilibrium: Week11 with Tarot's Fool

The Fool has had a wonderful week, basking in the glory of all the gifts he's been given by Lady Luck. (He's imagining that the mega-agent who requested a full manuscript from him is reading with delight and can't wait to turn each page). (Post 10, Wheel of Fortune. Previous posts in this series are listed at the bottom of this entry.)

No question, though, that all he's been through the past ten weeks has opened his eyes to the complexities of his quest. There's no straight shot at the Golden Fleece, like he thought there was when he was more na├»ve. And it turns out that even though he has the heart of a hero, he still has to learn things along the way to become a Conquering Hero. Who knew? (In fact, the more he thinks about some of the feedback he's received, especially the similar suggestions that were made by more than one reader, but that he ignored, the more uneasy he becomes. Now that he really thinks about it, he realizes that his premise and opening are great, but if he'd taken more chances in the middle—gone with his heart as much as his head—his novel could have been breakout for sure. He had felt it might be already, but now that he thinks about it. . . Gah! What shall he do about this?)

He sits down in the middle of the road to ponder. In front of him a blind, wise woman appears, sitting on a throne with a sword in one hand and a set of scales in the other. This is Justice. She's listening to two brothers arguing over an inheritance. The brothers have come to her for judgment.

One brother is poor and the other is rich. The rich brother has been given the whole inheritance, and the poor brother is not only contesting the will, but demanding that he receive everything himself. Justice listens to the brothers' arguments, then splits the inheritance between them. Neither brother is happy. But Justice says, "With only half the inheritance, the rich brother will stop being so wasteful, and the poor one will have as much as he needs. This is fair."

When the brothers have left, The Fool says to the woman, "You're right, you were fair."

"Yes," she says. "Even though the brothers cannot see it, this decision was good for both of them."

The Fool considers this, and (like any good card-carrying writer) asks the all-important question, "how does this apply to Me and My Quest?" He realizes, soon enough, that the key to Justice's decision was equilibrium. Justice, like Success, must achieve equilibrium to be right, and therefore thrive long term.

The Fool thinks about his own lack of equilibrium. Up until now, except for that stint in the woods as The Hermit a couple of weeks ago, he's spent all his time laser-focused on doing whatever it takes to achieve his Quest. (Yes, it is important to tailor his efforts toward getting published. Part of that process is understanding how the publishing world works and developing his writing—and especially his marketing materials—to suit that world's needs. However, he's been so focused on that aspect that he's sort of lost an important part of himself. The part that loves to write. The part that makes the writing come from the heart. Success isn't just about getting published, it's about bringing something beautiful to life, something that speaks his own personal truths in a way that will touch others deeply.)

The Fool realizes that The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, and now, Justice, have given him the tools and awareness he needs to achieve equilibrium. He must feed his spiritual self to balance his material self. Both selves are needed in this quest. He thanks Justice, and looks appreciatively at the scales she holds high. It is time to balance his own inner scales. (If his luck holds and the mega-agent wants to sign him, he knows there will be revisions with a capital R, and he knows just how he's going to search his soul to make them excellent. If she doesn't sign him, he's back on the old path, but with new powers. He's just added equilibrium to his arsenal.)


Links to Fool's Journey posts:  0—The Fool1—The Magician2—The High Priestess3—The Empress4&5—The Emperor, and The Hierophant6—The Lovers; 7—The Chariot8—Strength9—The Hermit; 10—Wheel of Fortune

My interpretation of The Fool's Journey as it applies to the writer's life is my own, but the Journey is long-established from a variety of sources. Those I've relied on most heavily are:  TAROT BASICS by Burger & Fiebig, AECLECTIC TAROT by Thirteen, and EVERYDAY TAROT by Fairfield.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Celebrating Success! Jessica Subject.

Happy July 1st – a great day to celebrate. Not only is today Canada Day, but Decadent Publishing has moved up the release date of Jessica Subject’s ebook: Celestial Seduction to today!

I’m a believer of conquering your fears, but Jessica Subject took that challenge to the next level when she went from fearing the possibility of aliens to reading and writing about them. Combining her love of both science fiction and romance, she creates “happily-ever-afters” for the entire universe!

Jessica lives in Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband, two children and their seven year-old rabbit. I suspect on any given night if you're looking at the stars you'll know that Jessica is gazing into that same night sky crafting her next project.

            Celestial Seduction

At the end of his obligated commitment to the Space Service, Frey Berger decides to stay on Earth to further experience human emotions rather than return to Ginnun where his intended has already mated with another. Looking for real love and someone to accept him for what he is, Frey enlists in Madame Evangeline’s popular dating service. Although he does not understand the concept of a one-night stand, he hopes to find his perfect mate.

Carrie Cooper’s husband divorced her for someone who could provide him with children, leaving her with little self-confidence and no desire to let a man hurt her again. Her best friend convinces her to join a dating service, claiming Carrie needs to get laid, while not winding up with a broken heart since her date requires no commitment after the night is over.

Although several misunderstandings nearly derail them before the date has even begun, Carrie and Frey end up becoming closer than they ever believed possible. Still, Frey will need to convince Carrie that her perfect mate isn’t human at all, and that one night can lead to a forever love.

This is fabulous writing Jessica, and I’m hooked. We know why you write about aliens, but what actually inspired you to write?

“I started writing almost four years ago, trying to write a book my daughter (who was just learning to read) would read without getting frustrated. And I just couldn't stop.”

A fabulous author and a creative mother too, I had no doubt. Like all passionate writers I know that you’re working on another project. Can you give us a heads up on what you’re working on?

“Right now I'm working on another science fiction romance story, this time not involving aliens.”

So you are venturing out to the human realm. Nice. You’ll have to come back and tell us which you love writing about more—humans or aliens. On that note, do you have any writing advice you would like to share with our readers today?

“I think the most important piece of advice I could give is to find a critique group and/or critique partners; not just one, but several. I don't mean family members or friends, but other authors, published and not, who will read your story and tell you what works and what doesn't. Also, if you don't know something, don't make it up. There are so many experts in the field that are on twitter, facebook and other social networking sites that are willing to answer questions. You helped me a lot with the story I am working on now.”

Ah… I’m so glad I could help. And how much fun that was, too. If anyone else would like technical aviation information I would love to share it with you, too. Contact me via my blog: Flight To Success

Celestial Seduction: Click HERE to order your copy!

Since Celestial Seduction is an ebook we’ve got a special give-away. Jessica has offered to give one lucky commenter an autographed PDF copy. 

To enter a chance to win this great gift, all you have to do is:

1.     Sign up to follow the Critique Sister’s blog.
2.     Leave a comment here and tell us who your favorite scifi hero or heroine character is.
3.     Check back on Friday, July 22nd to see if you’re the lucky winner.

Be sure to visit Jessica at:

Thank you for celebrating your success with all of us. If anyone has a question for Jessica, please ask away. Best of luck on the drawing to the lucky winner! 

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene