Friday, June 21, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

Hey all you beautiful guys and dolls!! Welcome to my Celebration!!

What am I celebrating this week? Well, if you visited last week, you'll remember my announcement posted below. As you can see, this week's entry is the same. (But I've added 3 new celebrations for this week.) Is it because I'm lazy?

NO! 3 reasons:

1. I've been traveling this week.
2. I've been head over heels in revisions.
3. I'm visiting my daughter for the 4th of July.

I have BIG news to share......drum roll please...

I am now an intern for Corvisiero Literary Agency!

I will be updating my profile and blog soon, to reflect all the happy changes taking place in my world.

Thanks for visiting and I'll visit you soon...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WIP'ed Ink

Hey beautiful guys and dolls! How are you today?

I've recovered from vacation.

I'm working on the recovery of my son's wedding...My first son is married...*sniff sniff*

Thanks for all the lovely comments of encouragement during my moment of insanity yesterday. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get around the discouragement of writers block. Yes, I'm one of those who believe you can face that wall of "I have no idea what to write next."

I've found that the best way to overcome my "I don't feel like writing" moods is to offer a workshop on writing. Talking about the writing process and interacting with those who write, too, pulls me out of my slump.

So, in honor of and in preparation Camp NanoWrimo, I'm offering: HELP ME WRITE A SCENE!!

I'm putting in an advance notice.  I'll be starting a new workshop next week. I'm going to be discussing scenes and how to work them into a fully loaded chapter! The name of the workshop is

Thank you, Flickr Commons
HAVE YOU SCENE IT?

Go ahead a spread the word, and sign up in the comment section below if you are interested!

I'll post ALL the info, class schedules, and the class outline int he next few days. Make sure you stop by for everything you need to know:)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday's Tinted Ink

Flickr CC Photo: Black Rain: This is how I feel
Hey beautiful guys and dolls.

I will admit. I don't feel very beautiful right now. My personal life has over taken my writing life. I don't feel inspired and...

I. Don't. Want. To. Write.




I'm sorry. I'm very overwhelmed at the moment.

I'm sure you've noticed I've not been around for a while.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU CAN'T WRITE?

I'm asking for advice.

I need it...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pitcharama Entry

Manuscript Title: REFRACTION
Author: Talynn
Age group: YA
Genre: Thriller
Word count: 54,000 words
250 word blurb:
Pretending to be someone else has its difficulties. Seventeen-year-old Prism Chase thought it would be fun until the game turns deadly. She has exactly forty-eight hours to stop her charades and come clean about who she really is or people will die.

After she witnesses the murder of a government official, Prism goes into the witness protection program. Still scared that she isn’t safe, she comes up with a brilliant plan. She secretly switches places with another girl in the program who is on the run from a crazed bounty hunter. Instead of hiding, though, Prism steps right into the hands of the man who murdered the official.

As hours dwindle, Prism must figure out how to escape from the enemy, who is playing the part of protector and thinks she is someone else. Deeper secrets surface when Prism discovers her fake hideout is the battlegrounds for a pending war and the girl she swapped places with is the reason for the battle. Now, Prism must prove she’s not the girl she’s pretending to be, but in doing so, she risks not only her life, but the life of the girl she traded identities with, who has secrets of her own. 

Celebrate the Small Things!



Hi everyone, Jess here :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday!

This week I am celebrating the fact I finally have a polished first chapter! It's not much, but it's more than I've had in a really long time. Now onto the other 33...


How about you? What are you celebrating today?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Tour: Along the Way Home by Christi Corbett

First, I’d like to give a big thank you to Talynn for allowing me to host her blog! I truly appreciate her sharing her readers with me as I celebrate the release of my debut novel, Along the Way Home.

I’ve followed Talynn’s blog for quite a while now, and even participated in her fantastic AgentInk contest. (And of course I then fretted endlessly over what I’d submitted.)



Failure Wasn’t an Option: How it Took Me 13 Years to Sign a Book Contract

Publishing is a tough business and not for quitters. While right now I’m happily thinking of how to best promote my debut novel, it took over THIRTEEN years to get to said happiness.

Yes, it took me thirteen years to go from, “Hey, I’ve got a really great idea for a book!” to signing the publication contract from Astraea Press.

And there were plenty of times during those thirteen years when I considered quitting. Considered that maybe I didn’t have it in me to go the long haul. Considered that maybe the process was just too hard. Considered that maybe my story idea was stupid and no one would want to read about a family’s adventures and misfortunes on the 1843 Oregon Trail. Considered that maybe to get published I’d have to compromise my beliefs.

But, even though over those thirteen years there were plenty of days, months, and even years when I didn’t write at all, there was always a little voice deep inside me, rooting me on and saying “Don’t worry. Right now you’re dealing with a lot, but when things calm down you’ll get back to this story.”

So, I listened to that little voice while I was pregnant with our twins in what turned out to be a high-risk pregnancy that forced me into two months of complete bedrest. I listened to that voice when our twins were born one month premature. I listened for the next two years while I was buried in diapers, toys, drooling smiles, potty-training, and tears of exhaustion and joy. 

I listened to that little voice while packing, unpacking, and then packing up again through a total of four out of state moves (Washington to Minnesota, Minnesota to Montana, Montana to Washington, and then Washington to Oregon).

Then, once our twins were two years old, that same little voice helped me to eek out five minutes of writing time here, another five minutes of writing time there, until lo and behold, my twins were five-years-old and I’d finally finished my book.

And then I realized that my book was horrible.  

But that same little voice was still with me, now saying, “Ok, you’ve got a lot of work ahead, but you FINISHED and that’s something to be proud of. Now get to work on making it BETTER.”

So I did. I went to my very first writing conference and realized there were people just like me, striving to write until they got it right. I made some great writing friends at that first conference.

Now, armed with my own little voice and a few writing friends with actual voices, all of whom were giving lots of encouragement, I ripped my book apart and revised it, from the first word to the last…SIX TIMES. 
Then I found a local writing group and two critique partners (lots of love here to Artemis Gray and Margo Kelly!) who showed me I had a lot more work to do. So I revised it again…TWO MORE TIMES. 

Then, I went to the Willamette Writers Conference in August of 2012. Conferences are expensive and I could only afford one of the three days, and getting that money took holding a yard sale. But, my husband and entire family are very supportive, so clutching my yard sale proceeds in one hand and my query letter in the other, off to the conference I went.

I met more amazing writers, got requests for partials from three of the three agents I met with, and then drove home with my dreams soaring—dreams that were quickly dashed when I got rejected by one of the agents and never heard back from the other two.

But still, that little voice inside just wouldn’t let me quit. I revised my query letter until it shone, showed it to everyone who would look at it, revised it TWENTY more times (no, I’m not kidding) and then one minute after I put my twins on the school bus for their first day of second grade I began querying in earnest.

A few months into it I had around forty rejections, but I also had six agents and three editors (Medallion Press, Tor/Forge, and a small press) reviewing requested partials/fulls, an R&R offer from an agent, and an offer pending from another small press.

Then, it happened.

I was rejected by an agent who called my book lovely and sweet, raved about my writing and the storyline, but ended with the statement, “…let your characters engage in sex and describe the sex. As it stands, I’ll pass. Put the sex in and I’ll take another look.”

I assure you, I have thick skin when it comes to rejections. I’ve racked up my fair share since I began querying, and normally took them with a grain of salt (and chocolate—lots of chocolate), but this one really bothered me. I understood if a rejection was based upon my writing style, the likeability of my characters, or a flaw in the storyline—but to be rejected solely on the basis that I choose NOT to include sex? That one didn't go over well.

So much so that I finally decided it was time to query the one publisher I’d had my eye on for months. A publisher that cares not only for the authors, but for the kind of work they attach their name to. I'd discovered Astraea Press before I started querying in September and really liked the stance the owner, Stephanie Taylor, took against unnecessary sex.

During a 2011 interview, Six Questions for Stephanie Taylor, she made the following statement: “…Astraea offers a safe haven for good books where the focus is on the STORY and not the sex”.

I sent off a query to Stephanie at Astraea Press late one afternoon, and woke up the next morning to an offer! And it was my birthday too!

I immediately pulled my novel from consideration from all the others who were reviewing partials/fulls/had offers pending, because I believed so strongly in Astraea Press, and the niche they’ve carved out for themselves in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

I hope my brutally honest story inspires you to never ever EVER give up on your dreams!
How do you keep writing/pursuing your dreams when it gets tough? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win an Oregon Trail themed prize package.


They lost everything but their dreams on the Oregon Trail

Kate Davis is intrigued when her father reveals his dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory. Settlers out west value a strong woman, and though she manages the financials of her father’s mercantile her competence earns her ridicule, not respect, from Virginia’s elite society.

Jake Fitzpatrick, an experienced trail guide, wants land out west to raise cattle and crops. But dreams require money and he’s eating dandelion greens for dinner. So when a wealthy businessman offers double wages to guide his family across the Oregon Trail, Jake accepts with one stipulation—he is in complete control.

Departure day finds Kate clinging to her possessions as Jake demands she abandon all he deems frivolous, including her deceased mother’s heirlooms. Jake stands firm, refusing to let the whims of a headstrong woman jeopardize the wages he so desperately needs—even a beautiful one with fiery green eyes and a temper to match.

Trail life is a battle of wills between them until tragedy strikes, leaving Jake with an honor-bound promise to protect her from harm and Kate with a monumental choice—go back to everything she’s ever known or toward everything she’s ever wanted?

Advance Praise for Along the Way Home
…author Christi Corbett unfurls an unforgettable epic romance inside of an epic Western adventure. Beautifully crafted, this debut novel is a tender journey of the heart as well as a treacherous journey of many miles.
Eve Paludan, author of Taking Back Tara (Ranch Lovers Romance series)

A breathtaking account of courage and adventure along the Oregon Trail.
Jillian Kent, author of The Ravensmoore Chronicles.

A dash of action! A touch of intrigue! Loads of sweet, clean romantic promise…
Reid Lance Rosenthal, Winner of 15 National Awards, #1 Best Selling Author of the Threads West, An American Saga series.

About Christi

I’m addicted to coffee, sticky notes, and the Oxford Comma. I live in a small town in Oregon with my husband and our twins. Our home’s location is especially inspiring because the view from the back door is a hill travelers looked upon years ago as they explored the Oregon Territory and beyond.

Along the Way Home is a Sweet Historical Romance. It released in ebook format on June 11, 2013 and will be available in print July of 2013. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Astraea Press (my publisher) and several other retailers.

When I’m not writing I love chatting with readers and writers alike. You can find me in one of the following locations:
Twitter: @ChristiCorbett
Facebook: Christi Corbett—Author



Book Review: ONE by Leigh Ann Kopans


When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.



I remember hearing about ONE when I first joined Twitter. Unbeknownst to her, although probably like many others, I watched Leigh Ann Kopans' journey to self-publish this amazing novel. And let me tell you all something, it is pretty darn amazing.

ONE is the story of Merrin Grey as she struggles to make herself whole. I really liked Merrin. She seemed like an authentic teenager to me: rebellious, confused, love-struck by Elias but scared to act on it, and yet so vulnerable at the same time. Even more, I was thankful for very realistic romance between she and Elias. Finally. And if that's not enough, not only are both sets of parents present in the story, they actually play an integral role, something I think is missing from YA.

I don't want to spoil the book too much since it just came out, but the ride ONE brings you on hits all the right emotional and adrenaline-pumping nerves. I very much enjoyed this refreshing take on superpowers and teenage romance, and am eagerly looking forward to the sequel!

Like... yesterday. Consider it pre-ordered, Leigh!

Leigh Ann's Website, Twitter, and Blog


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I purposely did this review on a WIP Ink Wednesday because one of my favorite parts of ONE is something I need to work at so much: romance. 

Merrin and Elias' romance is done so well, I cannot contain my excitement over it. They are presented as a real teenage couple. They're in love, they lust after one another, they fight, they keep secrets, they protect each other-- but at the end of the day, they stick together. Too many stories lately make love easy, no matter the age category. Or if there's trouble, it's external forces rather than internal. I felt that ONE was an incredibly refreshing take on this.

So here's something to look at both in my novels and your own: make the romance real. Make it happy, make it hurt, make it burn with need. But most of all, make it authentic.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday's Mixed Ink: On the Importance of Being a Critique Partner

Hi everyone :) It's Jess again, and I hope everyone had a great weekend! Today's Mixed Ink is all about Critique Partners.


When I think about the importance of being a critique partner (CP), I also thinking about the importance of having a CP. The relationship isn’t one way—no relationship should be. A CP is someone with whom you share your writing, from the first drafts and pitches straight through to a solid, polished manuscript. They encourage you, and you encourage them. You celebrate their successes and pull them out of the trenches when all seems lost.


To me, a CP is a Writing BFF. It’s basically like any other friendship, except that this person understands things about writing and creating that your best friend in real life may not. For instance, mine pretty much thinks I’m insane when I tell her my characters can’t (or simply won’t) shut up, so I can’t go to sleep. Or that I’m so inspired to write that it feels like my hands are literally on fire.


Talynn here does. 


And so as far as why it’s important to be a critique partner… it just is. Not to be vague, but that’s literally what I think when asked that question. It is so so important to get another’s opinion on your writing. You cannot look at your manuscript objectively—you can’t! You’ll want to keep your characters alive and well, when the plot clearly won’t allow for that. Maybe there’s a plot point you want to keep, but that doesn’t work for the novel whatsoever. A CP’s insight is invaluable. They will tell you what to cut and what to keep from the point of view of the reader. And in being a CP for someone else, you’ll learn so much about your own writing because you’re not simply reading their book, you’re having a hand in helping them craft it. I have learned so much more from being a CP than I think I could have in a writing class or from a writing how-to book.


When your CP is in the query trenches, your role is even more important. As their CP, you understand what it’s like, so you can pull them through all the rejections, and help them take in all the feedback they may have gotten.


That is what a critique partner is, and why it is important to be one. Helping other writers is never a bad idea, and is something everyone should be doing. You never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll end up doing together, or how great a friend you’ll find!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things!



Hi everyone, Jess here :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday. It's rainy here, but that's totally fine because I'm here to celebrate Talynn and I's mini-vacations this weekend! I'm off to Maine and she's celebrating a mini-vacation by the river. Never take the value of mini-vacations for granted. Even just a day away from everything is enough to rejuvenate, and I think I speak for both of us when I say it is much needed!

How about you? What are you celebrating today?

Talynn apologizes for missing the hop but promises she will visit as many blogs as she can over the weekend!



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Insecure Writers Group June

Good morning everyone! Happy Wednesday:) and welcome to my Insecure Writers Support Group Post!

This group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and I joined over a year ago. And it's the one time of month I can whine and get away with it!

So my insecurities this month?

Well, as usual, it involves rejection. But this month, my feelings about rejection have changed. It's past the "well, my feelings have been hurt because I was rejected."

Now, I'm beginning to wonder, "Is something wrong with my writing?"

I've learned so much in the past few months, working as an intern for Blue Ridge Literary. My writing techniques have grown in leaps and bounds. As I edit others work and answer their questions about writing, I'm like, "Hey, that helped me!"

While I have my insecurities and wonder when my day in publishing will come, I see the growth I'm making and feel content I'll make it one day, one way or the other:)

So what about you, beautiful guys and dolls? What is it you've laid on the line today? In advance, here's a (((hug))) and little sprinkle of inky glitter for you today!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday's Tinted Ink

Let's add some tint to our ink and get creative. How is it an author can write in colored ink? Be original? Be unique? find the write twist that makes writing stand out from the others?

Thank you, Flickr Creative Commons Artists


--> When asked to explain what point of view is, I always say it’s like putting a video camera in the hand of the MC. You want the reader to only see or hear what that character experiences.  A deeper point of view helps the reader bond with a character, thus making them care about what's going on in the story. In essence, this lets the reader actually "become" the MC and allows him to feel like he is in the story, with all the characters, living what they are living.

This means, as you write, you want to include everything the MC is feeling, thinking, doing, experiencing. And don't simply tell us your MC is happy. What would you MC say and do if he were happy? Whistle? Skip? Talk incessantly? What do they do, beyond smiling or laughing? Show the reader that, and you've mastered the art of deep point of view in the respect of sharing your MC's feelings.


Let the reader really experience your MC and you will find a loyal reaer, who will come back again and again to read your books.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday's Mixed Ink #AgentInk Success Story!

Hey y'all! I'm so looking forward to today's post! Ya wanna know why? I have a success story to share!!

NOT MINE!! Not yet anyway:) This is from a participant in my workshop I held earlier this year. And guess what guys? I have two more success stories to share with you within the next couple of weeks!!!

But this is a success story from OPERATION AGENT INK Pith Opportunity I hosted back in February.

I asked Melanie if she would write a guest post for Ink in the Book to share here experience about the pitch contest.

Here's what she had to say:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Ever grateful,

Melanie
 
But then, she sent me her real post...

So my super-duper, awesome, wonderful, exciting news is…
I have an agent - awesome Marisa Cleveland!
And wonderful Talynn is the one who first connected us.
Back in February Talynn held a pitch contest at Ink in the Book. Writers gave short pitches on her blog, and agents invited writers to send in their work. Ms. Cleveland liked the premise of my manuscript and requested a partial. A few months passed, and I connected with Ms. Cleveland and her colleague several times through other pitches and even a conference. At the end of May, I followed up with her and she read the full of my story. She offered to represent me that same day! Yippee!
So thank you, thank you, thank you to Talynn and her pitch contest because without it, I wouldn't have connected with my agent. These online pitches are a great way to get your work out there and find someone who is a good match for you. Best of luck to everyone!

*******
And below, I posted a link to her original entry in the contest.

Operation Agent Ink Entry