Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday's WIP'ed Ink

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Hey all! I feel like I've been missing in action. I know I haven't been around visiting blogs and I haven't done much replying here on my own blog. And I signed up for a blog hop, but I just haven't been able to keep up with the posts every day. I'm sorry about that..

Let me explain very quickly. And hope you will forgive and understand. I am in the middle of doing some revisions at the request of an agent!


I have a little secret I'm not at liberty to discuss. Just yet.

So, I have a quick tip for today's post. And then I'm off to revise.

Since we are talking about world building, there is one thing I would caution. There is a fine line between back story and telling too much, but with a a new world, completely different than what we are used to, with strange names and customs, it is important you keep the world building easy to understand for a reader. Names and such can be completely confusing and if I don't know what or who you are talking about, I'll lose interest quickly. 

As you world build, make sure it is explained in a creative and fun way that will draw your reader into the story and not frustrate them to the point they close the book.

Thanks beautiful guys and dolls! I will take the few Wednesday's WIP'ed Ink to discuss world building and finish up the blog hop I am missing (that I regret terribly and I am really sorry for missing out...)

If you came here today to read the explanation of yesterday's pictures, don't be too mad at me...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday's Tinted Ink: Worldbuilding Blog Fest

I Know. I'm late. This is one of my charms...okay, biggest pains...I'm a late bloomer:)

(Beside being Queen of the typos)

But World building is a huge part of EVERY story. Not just Sci-Fi or Fantasy. Even if your story takes place somewhere like, say, New York City. I've never been there. *shakes head and sighs* I know, right?

So if I have never been to the world of your story, you better do a good job of helping me experience my vacation to your world.

For the blog fest I am taking part of, here at Sharon Bayliss's blog, the first entry is all about the geography. Describe it, use a picture, talk about the weather, or other ideas to help the reader get a feel for the world you are writing about in your manuscript. I opted to use some pictures I found on Flickr Creative Commons. Thank you, by the way, to all the wonderful photographers who put their work out there for us to use.

Flickr link
This photo shows what my world looks like to an outsider, gazing up to my spectacular MC's city. It's beautiful, isn't it?

Flickr link
This photo is what it looks like when my MC travels to the world of the 2nd MC. Looks scary, I know. But really, it's not. You can see she has made contact and the trip was successful. (she's the white spot...)

And last,
Flickr link

This is the world my 2nd MC lives. This is the favorite meeting spot of everyone in town. They call it the wishing well, but there's really no well. It's a decorative fountain.

Two different worlds. What conclusions did you draw about my worlds? I'll explain them tomorrow!!! Happy day, beautiful guys and dolls!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Agent Interview #3

Hey all you beautiful guys and dolls! How was your weekend? I hope you all stayed warm and toasty:)

Today the schedule says we are to start on Preparing the partial for submission. I do hope you'll forgive me for putting it another day. We have one more REALLY nice interview I wanted to share with you.

Ms. Pooja Menon with Kimberley Cameron & Associates

She's been a true joy to work with during the workshop. I'm sure you will love the answers she given to the interview questions.

Ready? Let's go!

When did you decide you wanted to be a literary agent? What helped you make that decision?

1) Becoming a literary agent happened to me by chance. To be honest, it was my determination to find a publishing job in San Francisco that led me to agenting. I always knew I wanted to work in the book industry, that was without question. Reading books are my passion, and no other activity fills me up with a similar sense of comfort and calm. When I began interning at Kimberley Cameron & Associates in 2011, I realized agenting not only allowed me to work with books right from when they were born to when they were ready to take flight, but also gave me a certain freedom that a career at a publishing house could not have done. In the sense, I could pick and choose the books I wanted to represent and the people I wanted to work with. I would also get to be involved in a variety of things, so it was hard for me to be burned out from just one aspect of being an agent. If editing was too tiring, I could go through my slush pile, or research new marketing and social media strategies, or stalk the new trends, or ponder over a contract, etc. It was a job with a lot of variety and was incredibly challenging. I interned for a year, learning the ropes from Kimberley and Liz, and in the fall of 2012, Kimberley asked me to come on aboard. That was the most exciting day of my life, because how many people get to gush about a job they truly love?  

What's your favorite book? Why? Who's your favorite author? Again, why?
2) This is a tricky question. Growing up in Dubai, I did not have the vast access to books and authors as children in America did at the time. Sure, there were plenty of books, and I read everything I could get my hands on, but that made picking a favorite really hard. Because I treasured everything! Little Women, Mallory Towers, Nancy Drew, the adventure books by Enid Blyton, Sweet Valley, random books from the library whose names I cannot remember anymore. Of course, now the bookshops in Dubai have just blossomed and there are tons of books for kids and adults of all ages. 

Some of my favorite books within the last 6 to 7 years are: Half Of A Yellow Sun by Adiche Chimamande (her writing is fresh, raw, delicious, incredibly evocative, and really grips your heart), Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende (this is another book that I pick up from time to time. Every time I do, her brilliant writing and strong storytelling transports me to the time of the Gold Rush in California), The Birth of Venus & In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant (historical fiction that really submerges you in the time period without drowning you in it), non-fiction war accounts by Janine Di Giovanni, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, Peony in Love by Lisa See, The Lotus Eaters by Tatiana Soli (not an easy book to get through, but the writing was so haunting and moody, it was brilliant)...really, I could go on. I have a whole shelf of books I love and return to from time to time to center myself and sharpen my mind before I dive into writing or editing or reading a new book. 

Do you see a common mistake among new authors in their submission package?
3) Common mistake: I think one of the mistakes I see is the whole concept of starting in media res. Some writers begin their story with a lot of mundane details and backstory that bog the story down. On the other hand, some writers begin their story in the midst of a giant explosive scene that does not mean much to me since I haven't yet gotten to know the characters or connected with them emotionally. They need to find a balance, starting with a scene that is active (not passive) and building up with similar scenes until they reach the final one. The explosive ending that leads to the conclusion. The other mistake, quite common actually, is to send me query letters that are long and convoluted. Query letters are the basic foot in the door, so they need to be concise, to the point, and have all the necessary details.

Do you have a favorite genre?
4) Not really. I look for good, strong writing,  voice I can connect with, a motivation I can understand or go with, and conflicts that really cause me to stress out for the characters. If these elements are fleshed out well in the story, the genre does not really matter.
How important is it to you for an unpublished author to have an established platform and brand? Is social media a real must for a writer?

5) Today, it is pretty important to be active with regards to social media. I think it's more important for non-fiction writers to have a platform. But for fiction writers, it is a way to connect with the rest of the writing community. Not only does this help them keep sane in a profession that is mostly solitary, it'll also help them feel supported during times of doubt and frustration, which is something that goes hand in hand with writing. Social media can be tons of fun! I think if writers view it as a medium through which they can discuss and share ideas with other writers, get inspired, keep tabs on the latest trends in the market, and discover new books, they'll be much more inclined to be a part of it. It isn't as tedious and time-consuming as one would think. 
And last, but certainly not least, please let us know what you would love to find during the pitch opportunity?

6) I would like to find good stories with strong writing, original plots, and characters that are layered and complicated.  I could throw out a bunch of genres, but the bottom line is, I'm looking for sharp, evocative writing with gripping plots that will keep me turning the pages until the end. Of course, I will throw out one find I'm hoping to come across. In YA, I do not really see many contemporary stories with multi-cultural elements. A story set in a different place, or a character living in America but belonging to a different community, etc. I'm definitely on a look out for something along these lines.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebrating the small things

It's short and sweet today my beautiful guys and dolls. I'm working on a submission request that's got my nerves on fire! I'm so excited I can't think of anything else right now. I HAVE to write a synopsis so I can send my request over to a marvelous agent from #PitMad.

Yes, that's a celebration!! WooHoo!!!!!

What about you? What are you celebrating today??

Thanks to Vikki, who started this whole blog hop of happiness:)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Agent Interview #2

Ready for another interview?

Ms. Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Literary Agency is here to WOW us with some fabuloso questions and answers.

Just so you know, Jordy has been as sweet as an angel to work with during the workshop. I hope you enjoy her conversation below:

1. When did you decide you wanted to be a literary agent? What helped you make that decision? 

    Probably during grad school. I've always loved to read, but I became interested in finding      authors who are just starting out and helping them further their careers, which led me to 
exploring agenting.

2. What's your favorite book? 

    One of my favorites is To Kill A Mockingbird.  
     Why? It was an important time in United States history, and I really like Scout. 

3. Who's your favorite author?

    Karen Marie Moning 
     Again, why? She is AMAZING!!! An amazing author and person. 

4. Do you see a common mistake among new authors in their submission package?  

    A number queries that I've looked at explained why they wrote the book, instead of telling me what the book is about. 

5. Do you have a favorite genre? 

    Romance and YA. 

6. How important is it to you for an unpublished author to have an established platform and brand? Is social media a real must for a writer? 

    It's always helpful, but not imperative. I do think social media is a must because it allows writers to interact with their readers, and it also allows writers to get his/her name out there, thus building an audience. 

  7. And last, but certainly not least, please let us know what you would love to find during the pitch opportunity. 

    Romance (contemporary, YA).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday's Tinted Ink

Can you take stressful situations and turn them into creative outlets?

What is stress, anyway?
My dictionary says:

pressure or tension exerted on a material object:

a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances:

particular emphasis or importance...

I would originally have said no. Stress makes me physically sick. I don't handle it very well and do my best to avoid stressful situations.

but look at the last definition up there^^ particular emphasis or IMPORTANCE.

So you stress things when they are important? Sure! But I still don't like it. My stomach hurts, I lose my energy, and I generally can't concentrate on anything but the stressful situation. AND, I cry. Yes, I'm that kind of women.

But I do know that everything happens for a reason and when things don't turn out as I planned or hoped, I cling to the thought that

It will make me a stronger, wiser, person.

And that, my friends, makes my writing more creative because it gives me fuel to write more emotionally charged scenes. so my creativity grows in leaps and bounds.

But, I still don't like stress....

What about you, beautiful guys and dolls? How do you handle stress? What does it do to you in the creative field?

Contest Results!!!

I want to apologize, again, for the delay in posting the results! I hope everyone is happy with the results. If your name is not on the list, please read through to the end. There is a wonderful consolation gift!

Linda Glaz with Hartline Literary Agency 
First 5 page critique
Christi Corbett - Along the Way Home—Historical Romance 
Jordy Albert with The Booker Albert Agency
10 page critique
T.J. Going Thru Hell - Adult Urban Fantasy

Pooja Menon with the Kimberley Cameron & Associates
First Chapter critique and a personal email
Cristina - Tracker- YA horror

Marisa Cleveland with The Seymour Agency
First 3 Chapter - up to 50 pages -
Mara Rae - Reinventing Dorothy Weil, YA Contemporary

Terrie Wolf with AKA Literary
A personal phone call
Alys Cohen - Sacred Blood - Supernatural

Please email me at
ink in the book (at) gmail (dot) com --- no spaces 

and I'll send you instructions on what to do to receive your critiques!!

Consolation Gift: For everyone who entered this contest, there is a nice surprise. February 8 and 9 will be our Operation Agent Ink Pitch Opportunity and you all have a personal invite and will be put on the top of the list  for the agents personal review. This means, you are promised a spot in the pitch opportunity and will be listed at the top of the wish list!

I will post instructions closer to time of the pitch, so make sure you check back often. Besides, we'll be posting more agent interviews and the remaining workshop sessions will all be about the submission package.

Thank you ALL for participating, you beautiful guys and dolls!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Contest Results posted tomorrow

I do apologize for the inconvenience. The results will be posted in the morning no later than 8 am EST. So please check back then.
Thank you for your patience.

*Clears throat...*

I know. You wanted to come to this post and see a list of winning critiques.

I'm sorry. I am not able to deliver yet. I have ran into a huge snag, and just hope I found the right solution to the problem.

My judges, whom I love and appreciate very much and I am so thankful for volunteering to help me, (*clears throat*)
have not been able to come up with the top five winners. They have agreed on two, but the other 3 have been in a quarrel and I must say it's gotten a little heated.


and of these 3 volunteers, I ask you to PERSONALLY email one choice.

Please comment below if you want to help. The first 3 to comment will get to send me the vote.

Email at

ink in the book (at) gmail (dot) com  -  no spaces.


Thank you.

Agent Interview #1

Good Morning you beautiful guys and dolls! Today, we have the first AGENT INTERVIEW from Operation Agent Ink. How exciting!

Please be patient with the contest results. There were multiple ties and I had to draft a tie breaker reader. As soon as she sends me the results, I'll post the winner list. It will be today. I promise!

Our first interview is from Brittany Booker with the Booker Albert Literary Agency. She is awesome! and so is her interview!

You can ask questions, so read, enjoy, then get nosy!

          When did you decide you wanted to be a literary agent? What helped you make that decision?

    I first decided I wanted to be an agent after I wrote my first book and ran across Marisa Corvisiero. She asked to see the manuscript. When I realized how awesome her job must be, I asked how one becomes a literary agent, she then offered to teach me the ropes. It all escalated from there. I love my job, and I love to read. I feel like I’ve picked the right place to be in my life.

 What's your favorite book? Why? Who's your favorite author? Again, why?

 I have many favorite books. I would say that The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is probably my favorite. I love the humor in his writing along with the fact he takes such a serious matter as cancer, and gives it a love story. It’s amazing.  Oh, and Waiting on Normal by Leslie Conner, that book made me cry, laugh and smile. I guess one of my favorite author’s would be John Green and Alyson Noel. I really like her voice.

  Do you see a common mistake among new authors in their submission package?

 I would say just not reading what I am interested in before submitting. I get a lot of children’s books and I do not represent children’s books. I’ve received memoirs and it clearly states on my interest that I DO NOT take those. That’s probably the main issue I have with submissions.

  Do you have a favorite genre?

 YA is my favorite. I love YA Contemporary books. They make me smile. I have also been looking for a good YA time travel, I’ve received two that I’m reading at the moment that are interesting!

How important is it to you for an unpublished author to have an established platform and brand? Is social media a real must for a writer?

   Nowadays it is a must. I don’t necessarily make a decision on whether I take on a book if they have a platform or not, but it helps so much. I give my clients a to-do list and Facebook, Twitter and a blog is on there. They might not have one when I take them on, but I expect them to get them while I’m pitching their material.

And last, but certainly not least, please let us know what you would love to find during the pitch opportunity.

   I really want a good YA Contemporary novel that attract boys. I’m working with an author now on one, but I think you can’t get enough of them. They are needed, because there aren’t nearly enough of them. I would also love to find a great Contemporary Romance that makes me keep turning pages, and I’m always on the lookout for a good YA anything!

Quick note...

I jusr received word, it will be withon the hour! I did get a sneak peek at the ones settled.
*evil laugh*
Mawahahaha !!

In case you are wondering where the winner list is at: I'm waiting on the TIE BREAKER lady to send me her comments...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Celebrating the Small Things

Thank you, Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author, for hosting this wonderful little blog hop! It's going to be fabulous because we often forget to Celebrate The Small Things. There is always something to be be thankful for, isn't there?

1. I wrote a brand new polished chapter on my current WIP. That makes me smile.
2. #AgentInk trended on Twitter last night. I'm still floored over that one!
3. I got 3 loads of laundry folded AND put up. The happy part is the baskets had been sitting there since before Christmas. Don't look at me like that. Hey! It happens...sometimes.

What are you celebrating? I *really* would love to hear about it:)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Twitter, Anyone? Plus contest

Today is Ask and Agent #AgentInk. I've got agents lined up to answer your submission package questions! I've set it up for this afternoon at 5 EST, but that's not set in stone. Anyone have a specific time they prefer?

also, if you can't make it to the twitter session, leave a comment below and I'll post it for you. Tomorrow, I'll post the agent answer.

Happy day today, beautiful guys and dolls!

Oh, and stay tuned for my tagged meme. I've got some lovely ones to share with you.

Oh, and one more thing. Tomorrows post will include a bloghop and an Operation Agent Ink Contest and giveaway. The giveaways are from the AGENTS.

Agent Critiques!!! 5 pages, 10 pages, and more. Even a personal phone call from an agent! there are several prizes, so COME BACK TOMORROW AND participate!

It's going to be great! In advance, I'll let you know what to expect in the contest.

You get a chance to write the best piece possible about you manuscript. If you could write something awesome about your novel to be, what would you write to lure others to want to read it? Winners will be picked by a panel of judges not connected to any of the participants. They are ALL readers who know when they see a good book.

So write that hook!~ There is a 200 word limit.

See you tomorrow

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wednesday's Inked WIP

Today I'd like to discuss the query letter revision. You've posted your query in various contests, blog hops and places that offer help and advice. You've gotten your advice. What do you think? Did you like the advice? Was it genuinely helpful?

Now what do you do?

You revise, of course!

The query for my YA historical fictions, THE MEMORY KEEPER, looks completely different now than the first time I wrote it. My first line was:

River Morgan is petite, pink haired and not quite seventeen, but she knows how to erase a memory.

I loved that sentence (plus a whole lot of others...) but NO ONE else liked it. Some said it sounded forced. Some said it wasn't needed. Some said it didn't make any sense. Well, I liked it. Actually I loved it. But int he end, I decided to delete it. It hurt. I fumed and fused over the beautiful piece of art I had created. But alas, I changed it.

To many, my new sentence isn't good either. But that's okay. It's a learning process, and I will never say I've arrived and need no more learning. After going back and reading my old query and comparing it to my newest one, I realize the query really doesn't even sound like me. It seems like I lost a my voice in the query.

But then I also read the pages of my manuscript and find the old query doesn't match the voice in my pages, either. So I thought about it for a while and came to the decision I must have written my first query while trying to impress someone. Yes. I know the point f a query letter is to catch the attention of an agent, but you will not do that if the query is flashy, forced, fake or not you.

Something else to remember is the fact that someone who has not read your manuscript has no idea what our story is about. your job is to hook them, surprise them, and entice them to want to know what our book is about. Get straight tot he point, leave out the flowery details, and be as creative and interesting as you can.

So, take your critiqued query letters, and edit away. Make it work for you. Remember, critiques are so subjective and it is always up to YOU to decide if deleting or changing something is the best thing for your novel.

What about you? How do you handle revisions? Do you always agree with what others say? Do you fret over deleted words or sentences?

Happy revisions, beautiful guys and dolls:)

Tuesday Tinted Ink

Inspiration anyone? What do you do when you need some? How do you write when you feel flat? Defeated? Unable to write?

What is inspiration, anyway. Do you know?

the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative:
a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea

Creativity. Hmm. It's just not happening and you have no idea how to get it.
I look at art.
I listen to music.
I read.
I watch a movie.
I talk to someone.
I read poetry.
I go for a walk.
I draw and paint.
I play the piano.
I read to my kids.

What do you do?


Okay, beautiful guys and dolls. Post your queries and let's get some critiques going on...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Monday's Mixed Ink/Operation Agent Ink Query Dissection

The art of writing is a curious and delicious habit of mine. I love writing a mysterious character who is absolutely perfect. Then, I take a special little flaw and throw it at her. She gets mad at me, but only for a while. Because she realizes that even in a book, nobody can be perfect.

So here's what I do: I give my character something to love, something to hate, something she craves that gives her joy, and something that scares the heeby-jeebies out of her. Then, I mix all of that up with a flaw that can't be overlooked and watch my perfect little character become a stronger person.

What do you do when creating a new character?

Now, it's time for our query dissection. I've posted a query letter below and it's up to you to let us know what you love about it and what you don't like. There are agents spying on us today, and they have agreed to give us their thoughts as well.

Tuesday the 15th will be your turn to post your query and get suggestions that may help improve your letter!

Query: (only the meat of the query is included here)

Lies of the Ball
Historical Fiction

She’s a runaway slave.
The man she loves is the one who could destroy her.

Southern beauty Mercedes Albright lives in the prettiest plantation house Mississippi has to offer. She hosts the most beautiful parties in the entire South, and dances as though she were the belle of the ball. Mercedes is the most eligible bachelorette in town. And she has a secret that if ever found out, it would ruin her for the rest of her life.

Careful laid plans put Mercedes in good standing with the wealthy socialites of Vicksburg. To her downfall, the man she falls desperately in love with is the man whose father sold her mother years before at the slave market. Mercedes was bought by another man and sent to live in another town.

Returning to the place of her birth, Mercedes has only one thing in mind: revenge on the family who stole her childhood and ripped her mother from her arms. She never intended to fall in love with her enemy. She never expected he would learn her true identity. Now, she’s on the run again, but this time, it’s for a different reason.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Operation Agent Ink: The Hook

You can't catch fish without a hook, right? You at least need a fat, juicy worm.

Query letters are written to introduce an agent to you story and as we mentioned yesterday, it's a good idea to include your character, conflict and the choice made, or at least the stakes involved.

Below, I have listed some possible ways to turn your query from good to wow!

1. Do you have a one line pitch for your manuscript? If not, now is the time to write one. It makes a great hook for your query.

2. Does you MC have a unique power or gift? Tell about it.

3. Is there a unique setting where your story takes place? Describe it in one sentence.

4. Why is your story better than the next author? Why would an agent request a reading of your story? Add that special something immediately. Entice an agent from the get go.

5. Make sure you put voice into your query. Many agents say they want a great story with a great voice. Why make them wait until they reach the sample chapter before hearing how great your voice comes through in your writing?

6. Write your query like your book. I received a critique just today that said, "Your first page is excellent. Write your query like your book and you should do fine." Don't try to make you query something that you are not. Just make it a reflection of the real writing you do so well.

7. Don't be afraid to describe a twist or turn that you know is something unique. Agents are looking for that surprise element.


I do apologize for such a short post in today's workshop, but this week has been long and my family has all been in the bed with the flu. When one person got better, the next got sick. I've tried to stay on top of things, but I'm finally hit the drain button.

We'll pick up on Monday with our query dissection and I'll be sure and discuss the bio for the query.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have an amazing weekend, you beautiful guys and dolls:)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Operation Agent Ink: Query Tips

I will admit, very briefly, this post will be a lot of copying from some previous posts of last year. There. I said it. So, if it seems like you have read this before, you have. Check my archives and you'll see they are there.

Moving quickly along....

So, in preparation for the Pitch Opportunity next month, the next few lessons are going to concentrate on advice and the breakdown of a good query. I hope that next month your query will pass with flying colors. What about you? Do you need help and advice for making your query even better? Then, let's do it!

By the way. Monday the 14th, I'll be posting a query dissection and the agents have graciously agreed to take the query sample apart and talk about what works for them, and what doesn't work in the query. So make sure you visit then. The rest of the week will be dedicated to to YOUR query and the chance to get a get critique and great feedback to help improve your query.

Now, back to the tips.

The query is often the first thing an agent reads about your manuscript. You WANT to make a great first impression! Will yours be colorful and vivid, plain or crumbling apart, or will it take flight out a window?

The first paragraph of the query needs to introduce the main character in an interesting way and finish the first paragraph with the inciting incident. Who is your main character and why are you writing a story about him or her? What makes this MC interesting, that I would want to read about him or her? Make it unique and attentin grabbing.

Oh. Tomorrow we'll go more in depth about making your hook super sweet.

Now, if you have your first paragraph written and have included your main MC, a splattering of backstory without being boring and ended with the inciting moment, you are ready for paragraph TWO! yay!

Here we go. In the 2nd paragraph, you need to add the conflict and mix it with a little of the setting details. Add in a bit of the stakes involved and AVOID cliches. Accomplish this, and you are 2/3 finished with your query. Woot, woot! You may only need a few words of backstory and setting, but if you can do that, your 2nd paragraph is finished.

Where do you go after you introduce the character and the conflict? Well, the next thing you need is to add the choice. What are the choices your MC has to make? Is there a multitude of choices? Does the choice he or she needs to make come with consequences?

End ths 3rd paragraph with the stakes involved. If you MC has consequences no matter what choice they make, find a clever way to leave the agent hanging.

Any questions about your query?
Do you have anything to add or comment or suggest? Please do!

Wednesday Inked WIP

I plan to keep it simple today. I was sooo excited about the ask an agent that I decided to post some of the comments, questions and answers I found informative and helpful. If you are in the wonderful world of a WIP, please keep these thoughts in mind as you write or while you are putting your ideas together.

And yes, I have one of my own fateful mistakes in here, so please don't laugh when you read it. My questions/thoughts are in bolded. Eric Ruben's answers are in BLUE. These were taken straight from Twitter #askagent #tenqueries

What about historical fantasy? Is that too much genre? Actually, time traveling
No. But again, it's got to be good.

What do you consider good? Plot? Characters? Voice? Uniqueness and originality? Thank you for answering my questions.

To which the answer was simply: Yes.

What makes a manuscript unique?  
By definition, I've never seen anything like it before. 

What makes a manuscript stand out to you?  
When the writing is so good it's transparent and lets me get sucked into a great story. That's all.

And yes, my friends. I did the most embarrassing thing. I spelled his name wrong. I've written his name how many times? and in my excitement, I SPELLED HIS NAME WRONG. SHEESH, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? WANT PROOF? Here is is:

Eric Rueben is answering your ques. and discussing queries. I'm so excited I'm trembling. Awesome advice! 

To which, he MT to: MT : is answering your ques. & discussing queries. I'm so excited I'm trembling. Awesome advice!  

I was mortified. Yes. Utterly mortified. Do I read my own advice in my blog posts? How could I do something so stupid? I promptly apologized:

I'm so sorry I spelled your name wrong earlier It was a typo. I *know* how to spell your name. Must have been nerves/excitement 

His gracious reply: It happens a lot. No worries. 

*Palm on face. Head on desk*

And for a tad bit of humor: Is there something you would really *love* to see in your inbox? 

His answer: A yes from an editor. And a great story well told. No pics that will get me in trouble

Now, for the serious stuff. The query letters. Here is what he had to say about 10 queries in his slush pile. Read this, and take notes. Please! It's great advice for every WIP

#1 A historical romance at 147k, which was 50% too long, needed much editing, had a prologue and it was overwritten.
 #2 A YA that wasn't bad, but in a crowded genre, it wasn't his type.
#3 A fantasy with an interesting idea, but too much exposition.
#4 A paranormal thriller that's been done too many times already, in a much better way.
#5 A romantic comedy with a heroine that was unlikable.
#6 A thriller that was so unbelievable it couldn't even pass for fiction.
#7 A paranormal about vampires in a too crowded genre.
#8 A YA paranormal mystery with writing that didn't grab attention.
#9 Fantasy starting with dialogue that did not move the story forward, even though it wasn't bad.
#10 A paranormal romance with lots of drama but no plot to carry the drama and no originality. 

What about you? Any thing you've learned to help a WIP? Especially an Inked WIP


Monday, January 7, 2013

Tuesday's Tinted Ink

Thank you, Flickr.
My first ink tint of the year! I'm really, really, super excited about these posts! I'll be talking about inspiration and creativity on Tuesday's Tinted Ink. A variety of subjects and topics, but all pointed to inspiring you to be all you can!

For the first post, I have some general thoughts on inspiration. Brace yourself. It's probably not going to be what you expected.

I hope to ground you in the best way to be the best YOU. No one else in the world can be like you. Thee is something in ALL of us that makes us unique. Stop trying to copy others and achieve their dreams. Be you and be true to yourself.

I hope you enjoy these thoughts!

1. Be YOU. Stop listening to what everyone else says and celebrate your unique individuality.

2. Always put your best foot forward. Work hard at what you do and work harder than those around you. Your reward comes in your effort. It's not always about winning #1, but it's always going to be about hard work.

3. See what's around you. Explore. Enjoy. Entertain. Inspiration comes from what's inside you and if you never grow, your inspiration will stagnate. Always strive to learn and do more and watch what happens to your inspiration.

Flickr photo
4. Travel to new places. Maybe overseas isn't possible, but what about the sleepy town next door? You will be amazed at the little trinkets of joy and knowledge just waiting outside your back door.

5. Never be satisfied with your craft. There is always room for improvement. Thoughts never created anything. Put your thoughts into action. Write, write, write! Once an amazing idea strikes your fancy, turn the idea into productivity.

Operation Agent Ink: Query Letter Techniques

Sorry to post so late today. The flu is not fun:(

Anyway, today's intro will be some basic tips about what a query letter should include. Each workshop for the next couple of weeks will deal with specific aspects of the query letter. By the time the workshop is over, you will no longer hate the big Q!

Do you know what the definition of technique is and what technique really means?

Definition of technique: a question, esp. one addressed to an official or organization, a way of carrying out a particular task, esp. the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure.

What about query? Do you know what it means?

Definition of query:  used in writing or speaking to question the accuracy of a following statement or to introduce a question.

There is a correct way to write a query letter and it's important you know how to do it in the right way.

First things first. Your book proposal should be treated as a professional business opportunity. I have heard this more than once. For me, this is the hardest part. I have a tough time presenting myself in a professional manner. Why? Because I look as everyone as a FRIEND. I use way too many exclamation points! and I always hold conversations in a bubbly way. So, for me, I started this workshop with a reminder to BE PROFESSIONAL.

I can attest that I have proved this. For every letter I have sent out with a "friend conversational tone" I have either not received an answer or got a rejection. For every letter I have sent with a professional tone, I have gotten a request. So, there you have it. BE PROFESSIONAL. There will be plenty of time for friendly chats with your editor or agent after the book deal has been made.

Next tip: Research your agent. Every agent is different. Some may prefer an intro at the beginning of the letter, some prefer you to jump right into the story. Some may want a nice informative bio about the author, others may not want to anything other than publishing credentials. So it is IMPORTANT to know the agent you are querying and what he/she prefers. Google their name and their agency and read everything you can read about them. Read interviews and blog posts. Follow them on Twitter.

Yes! I have Twitter now and so far I'm lovin' it! I love reading the tweets of authors and agents and editors. You learn AMAZING things about them!

Third tip: Spell the agents name correctly. The first time I read this tip, I thought. "What kind of jerk would spell an agents name wrong?" Well, my first ever letter was in a contest. For the life of me I cannot remember how I heard about the contest. But I entered and at the same time I entered another contest. MY first two ever. Boy, I was going to win! I just knew everyone would gush over my sample! Well, I won the first portion of the first contest! I was so excited!! The agent forwarded my entry to me with instructions for the next phase, and there in black in white were the words, "Spelled name wrong" I about died! So I apologized and would you believe, I spelled it wrong AGAIN. How wretched. In my defense, I will say, auto spell check can be a bad thing, but still, is that REALLY an excuse?? (Ms. Agent, if you are reading this, I will say again, I'm sorry!)

So. Spell the agents name right!

To review: Be professional
                  Do your research
                  Spell the agents name correctly

Come back on the 10th and we'll discuss the juicy, creative parts of the query letter!
Have an amazing day, beautiful guys and dolls!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

One Word Year

When I first heard the phrase "One word year" I had no idea what it meant. After reading a few blog posts about their "word" I realized I had a word, too!

There is one thing I want to do this year and that's make my dream a reality. As you can see from new header, I want to make 2013 the year I...
 I plan to dream big, and make my dream come true. 2013 is the year! Somehow I just know it. Because...
 So, my word for the year is dream. Without dreams, people would cease to be creative. Those dreams floating around in my head prompt me to greater heights because I want achievement. I'm not being prideful. I'm being ambitious and determined. I'm being hopeful and successful. I dream of doing things that seem impossible...
 I'm dreaming, but I'm doing it with my eyes wide open, watching all the wonder, hope and excitement turn from a dream into reality.

What's your ONE WORD YEAR?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Operation Agent Ink Remaining Schedule

I hope you are ready for a busy month! And I hope you are ready to get your submission package together for our lovely agents who want your manuscripts! I hope everyone made it on someone's wishlist!

I might as well just get down to business and post the schedule. I'm sure you are tired of waiting!

Monday January 7 Query Letter Techniques

Jan. 10 Query Letter Tips
        11 Query Hook and Your Bio
        14 Query Letter Dissection, w/ Agent input
        15 Query Letter Critique
        16 Query Letter Revision

        17 Twitter Party: Ask an Agent about Submission Packages

        18 Contest and Giveaways

        21-25 Agent Interviews
        28-31 Preparing Your Partial

Feb. 1 What is a Synopsis
        4 Final Polishing 
        5 Final Query Review
        6 Final Synopsis Review
        7 Last minute advice
        8, 9 Pitch Party!!

So, how does this sound to everyone? Busy times, but exciting times, right?

Please, please! Let me know if you have any questions or concerns!

Oh, and also somewhere squeezed in here will be another post listing our agents and their wish lists! I think we'll have a few more surprise agents joining us!!

Time to Get Serious

Okay, my long winter nap is over and I'm ready to write again. How about you guys?

2012 was year of mixed emotions. In my writing world, I feel I had more success than failure. My personal life had more downs than up. but I'm not here to discuss that!

My reflections:
I started this blog in February 2012. No followers, no one commenting and no readers. Now I have several followers!
I've met some amazing people and many I can call friends, though I've never "met" them.

2012 was a learning year for me:
I learned what a query letter was and I learned why they are important.
I discovered the joy of writing in a serious manner.
I learned about Twitter  (but not how to use it effectively!)
I learned how to plot a book rather than just sit down and write

My plans for a new Ink in the Book:
I have a writing schedule and have planned posted for certain days. Instead of just randomly posting things on a whim, I have a schedule I will adhere to. This is not like me. I'm really not a very well organized person. But I have learned I need some structure when it comes to my blog, so I will be posting on a regular basis with specific goals to reach during the week.

2013 Blogging schedule:

Monday's Mixed Ink: This will be various topics and discussions that involve writing

Tuesday's Ink Tint: This will be topics of inspiration and creativity

Wednesday's Inky WIP: For all those WIPS out there, Wednesday's posts will discuss writing tips

Thursday and Friday will be left open. I may use these days to be lazy, get involved in Social Media, visit with friends, or blog about my personal life. Or I may write all day. Or sleep. Wait, now I'm dreaming! hehe:)

I do have some exciting news for Ink in the Book. Yes, really exciting! Beginning February 18, there will be a new members only online writing conference and workshop revving up here! Just as with Operation Agent Ink, there will be a follow-up with a pitch opportunity. This workshop, however, will be different. This workshop will be for beginners and we will write a book from beginning to end. We will start with brainstorming, outlining, character sketches, and ideas. We'll move to writing the beginning, working through the middle and finishing with a tension filled finale:) Then comes the fun part: editing and revising! hehe:) Last, we will polish. The end of the workshop will be devoted to the submission package and the end result will be a pitch opportunity straight to the agents.

The difference with this workshop is it will be open only to members and the workshops will be password/email protected. It will not be open on my blog. It will be 90 days of writing, one month of editing, one month of revisions, polishing and working on submission packages. So, it will be a FIVE month long process.

Also, I am debating about asking a membership fee of 10.00 a month. I know there are a ton of free places to get help like this, but for a five month long process, 50.00 really isn't a lot of money. Is it?

As for Operation Agent Ink, I'll post the remaining schedule tonight. This post has gotten long...I know some of you are anxious to see what happening this month, but I feel like Operation Agent Ink deserves it's own special post.

Happy New Day, beautiful guys and dolls!! See you again tonight:)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Get Ready For January 2013!

Hey you beautiful guys and dolls! I'm ready to tackle the New Year and my New Ink in the Book!

Tomorrow, I'll be posting the complete and full (crammed full, actually!) schedule for Operation Agent Ink, which will lead up to the Pitch Opportunity Feb. 8 and 9!

I will also be posting my reflections of 2012 and the changes I anticipate for the coming year.

And, I'll reveal the brand new Ink in the Book and the plans I have for my lovely blog. (Yes, I love my blog, my followers and all those who visit on a regular, or not so regular basis!)

I hope you all had a marvelous Christmas and a Happy New Year. I feel so refreshed and ready to tackle the writing world. I can hardly wait to get back to my ink pen!!

How about you? How was your holiday? Are you excited about the new year and what it holds? Have any new plans?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

ISWG January 2013

It's my first post of the new year and I would love to start the year off with a positive post:)

What am I insecure about this month?

For the first time in a year, I stepped away from the world of writing and blogging. I barely opened my MacBook, haven't read hardly any blogs and even put down my pen for a couple of weeks.

I make no apologies.

I have so enjoyed having all my children home, and being in my home, being out of the camper and celebrating with the ones I love. It's been a blessed time and I couldn't have asked for a better "vacation" holiday.

I started the year off with two rejection letters. One, short and straight to the point. The other was very long and pointed out several reasons why the editor couldn't represent that manuscripts. It was also VERY encouraging to keep submitting to other agents.

Not only that, but she asked me to submit another partial!


I have two other agents who have asked to see partials after receiving my query and first ten pages.

So, what's your news this month? Please share!!
Have an amazing week, and awesome month, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Insecure Writer's Support Group

I've rejoined the IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group, and I'm super excited to be back. I missed the post for July, but will...