The Questions We Ask While We Wait

Yesterday Susan Adrian wrote a great post on what to do while you’re waiting, with tips like work, read and observe, as well as what NOT to do. After I retweeted it, a fellow writer emailed me to check in on my agent search. It’s nice to have other writers who are in the same…

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Story Lessons from Pirates of the Caribbean

My husband and I decided to do a “Pirates of the Caribbean” marathon this week, which is appropriate since we just returned from the Caribbean. As you can see, our ship was a little bigger than the Black Pearl. This view is from an outlook on St. Thomas. As we were watching the movies, I…

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What I’ve Learned in a Year of Querying

One year ago today I sent the first round of queries for THE MODERN CAVEBOY’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING BATS, BULLIES AND BILLIONAIRES. In honor of this anniversary of sorts, I’d like to share a few tips from my querying journey. Titles are important. I did a number of things right when I started querying, but…

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The Querying Quandary: When to Wait

A couple of weeks ago I posted about why it’s so hard to get your first novel published, and I said I was having a different experience with the novel I’m currently querying. It’s because I have more experience this time. The key? Patience. I am not a patient person, but I learned in my…

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Four Writing Devices That Shout, “I’m An Amateur!”

I’ve been an avid reader from a very young age, and I was an English major in college, but neither prepared me to be a publishable writer. When I wrote my first novel, I knew how to put a story together. With my English degree and my job as a writer and editor, my novel…

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Why It’s So Hard to Get Your First Novel Published

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why it’s so hard to get your first novel published, and I think it mostly comes down to inexperience. It takes time to learn how to write a publishable novel, as well as how to present it to agents and publishers. Obviously there are writers who succeed on…

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How Querying Is Like Selling Your House

We moved in April. It was a crazy whirlwind of activity that almost didn’t happen, but that’s another story. I absolutely love our new house. It has everything and more than I wanted, and we don’t plan to ever leave it. Just check out this picture of my office. Yes, I get to work here…

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How Writing Changed My Reading Habits

I’ve always loved to read. My parents have a picture of me reading a book at age two. I’m sure I wasn’t actually reading at two, but my love of books goes back that far. I was the kid who would stay inside to read instead of going out to play. The outdoors–with weather, bugs…

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The Wonder of Language

When I first started writing middle grade, I wondered if I should use simpler words for a younger audience. My gut reaction was “no” – I want to use all the amazing words in my head. After all, I came from a family in which my parents talked to us like adults even when we…

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Twitter Pitch Party, Anyone?

Now that the agent round of “The Writers Voice” is over, I’m turning my attention to Thursday’s “The Writers Voice” Twitter Pitch Party. Basically, you post your pitch between 12-6 p.m. EDT on Thursday, and agents will request from it. If more than one agent requests, you have to pick one. Click here for more…

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Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

It’s interesting to hear where writers get their story ideas. My first novel was a conglomeration of a bunch of different things I liked to read. I couldn’t nail down the genre, and that’s a big part of why it ultimately didn’t work. The second one came out of a dream that wouldn’t leave me…

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It’s Not My Cup of Tea

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Missouri Writers Guild Just Write! Conference. During the conference, I had the opportunity to pitch to two agents. I researched them online, scouring the Internet for information about their likes and dislikes. As a bonus, the Missouri Writers Guild conducted interviews with each of them and even…

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